Calcium For Health, Weight Loss and Osteoporosis
by Louise Elcoat
Calcium concentration must be kept constant, and if not enough is taken in to the
body, calcium will be withdrawn from the store sites in your bones. The bones will
gradually become less dense, losing some of their strength, which can then lead to
osteoporosis (brittle, porous bones). Withdrawing calcium from the bones is the body’
s way of keeping blood levels constant.
Men and women will naturally lose calcium from their bones as they age, but the rate
of loss is much higher in women. Women who are experiencing menopause, will have
a faster loss of calcium from their bones. A good store of calcium in the bones at the
menopause stage of life, will assist a woman in keeping osteoporosis at bay.
A calcium rich diet for the first 30 to 40 years of your life is essential for building-up
your calcium stores. This will put you in a good position for fighting off bone disease in
Calcium is essential to the body for many functions including; maintaining healthy
bones and teeth; muscle contraction, including heart beat regulation; maintaining a
healthy nervous system; regulating blood pressure (aiding blood clotting); the fight
against osteoporosis. Studies have shown that diets rich in calcium can help the body
to manage fat cells by aiding the mechanisms that store fat in the body. The result
can help with weight loss. Including foods rich in calcium can help create a feeling of
fullness, which can help to prevent snacking in-between meals.
Factors that influence calcium absorption
Vitamin D: Obtained from the sun on our skin, and is prevalent in food items such as
canned salmon, eggs, butter and margarine. Calcium can not function in the body
without Vitamin D. This vitamin helps to regulate the absorption of calcium from the
food we ingest.
Exercise: Weight bearing exercise is needed for optimal absorption of calcium into the
bones. This can include, walking, aerobics, running, dancing, cycling, gardening,
weights or even pushing a pram.
Protein: A high protein intake reduces calcium absorption. Recent studies indicate that
while dairy products are a good source of calcium, their high protein content can
interfere with the body’s ability to use the calcium ingested. It is best to obtain calcium
from a varied diet, which includes non-dairy sources such as soybeans, almonds and
Hormones: Menopause sees a decline in oestrogen levels, resulting in a decline in the
body’s ability to absorb calcium from your diet. The adolescence (teens) stage of life
sees less calcium being absorbed due to the changes in hormone levels for both males
Weight: Extreme thinness, (low body fat levels) or following very restricted diets will
affect calcium absorption, and see withdrawal from the bones as the body struggles
to maintain a constant level of calcium in the blood. This can lead to osteoporosis in
later life, as the skeleton has not been given a chance to become strong.
And: High levels of Caffeine, Salt, Alcohol or Smoking will all reduce the amount of
calcium the body can absorb from the diet.
Signs of Deficiency
A mild calcium deficiency can lead to insomnia, brittle nails, muscle twitching, irritability,
and palpitations. Severe deficiency affects the muscular system – cramps, pains,
numbness, stiffness, and depression. A deficiency of this degree can cause rickets in
children. The most at risk are the elderly, those who avoid dairy products or other
sources of calcium rich foods, those on high protein/high fibre diets, or when
consuming large amounts of alcohol.
How much do you need per day?
Sources of Calcium
Milk (250ml) 290mg
Fortified Low Fat Milk (250ml) 450mg
Yoghurt, 200g 380mg
Cheese, 25g 240mg
Almonds, 50g 125mg
Tahini Sesame Paste, 20g 190mg
Sesame Bar, 40g 115mg
Salmon, 100g 185mg
Sardines, 50g 455mg
Soybeans, 1 cup 130mg
Fortified Soy Milk, (250ml) 290mg
Tofu, 100mg 130mg
Oysters, 6 145mg
Broccoli, 100g 125mg
Baked Beans, ¼ cup 50mg
Figs, 5 135mg
Brazil Nuts, ½ cup 123mg
Peanuts, ½ cup 134mg
Chinese Kale, 100g 179mg
Special K, 30g 200mg
Mixed grain bread, 1 slice 112mg
Brown bread, 1 slice 15mg
About The Author
Louise Elcoat, Bachelor Science, Health Promotion, Nutrition, Psychology
Director of Yourbodyhealth provides individually designed programs for the health issues that are
concerning you. Diet, exercise, wellbeing, or specific conditions such as diabetes or
cholesterol can be addressed with a Yourbodyhealth program.
For more information on Health and Nutrition contact .
Calcium is a mineral essential to
all stages of life, age groups, and
99% of the body’s calcium is
stored in the bones and teeth.
The remainder circulates in the
blood for use by the muscles and
nervous system. It is important
to note that the body does not
make its own calcium; it is
obtained and absorbed from the
foods in your diet. This will
include supplements if you are
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|These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The content on
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remedies and before making any drastic changes to your diet or exercise program.
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