Calcium is a very important mineral. Your body uses calcium to stabilize blood pressure and build strong bones and teeth. Calcium is used to help control muscle and nerve function, as well as to manage acid/base balance in our blood stream. When you don’t get enough calcium, you increase the risk of developing diseases such as osteoporosis, osteopenia and calcium deficiency disease, also known as hypocalcemia.
You should consume the recommended amount of calcium per day through the food you eat. If necessary, you can take calcium supplements to get enough calcium.
Early-stage calcium deficiency may not cause any symptoms. However, symptoms will develop as the condition progresses.
Severe symptoms of calcium deficiency disease include:
- memory loss
- muscle spasms
- numbness and tingling in the hands, feet, and face
Paresthesia is considered a symptom of a nervous system that is not functioning properly, and it is also a symptom of calcium deficiency. It manifests as tingling, numbness, muscle tremors, and/or an impaired sense of touch. Low calcium in the blood has been connected to neurological and physical impairment, leading to confusion, poor memory, hallucinations, and muscle tremors and twitches.
Calcium deficient? What next
Calcium deficiency is usually easy to treat. It typically involves adding more calcium to your diet. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe calcium supplements.
Do not self-treat by taking a large amount of calcium supplements. Taking more than the recommended dose of calcium without your doctor’s approval can lead to a calcium overdose. A calcium overdose can be deadly.
Include calcium and vitamin D in your diet every day. Vitamin D is important because it increases the rate at which calcium is absorbed into your blood. Ask your doctor how much of each one you need, based on your age and sex.
One of the biggest contributors to calcium nutrition is vitamin D. Low levels of vitamin D can impair absorption of calcium from the intestines. Secondarily, low levels of vitamin D can impair the ability of the kidneys and bone to maintain normal circulating calcium levels. Because dietary vitamin D levels tend to be low in the population, this ends up being a potential amplifier of problems related to low calcium intake.
Foods rich in Calcium
Calcium is present in both dairy and non-dairy products. Calcium in any form is good for your body. Many foods that contain calcium also contain vitamin D. This overlap between calcium and vitamin D in whole, natural foods is a good thing, and it’s no accident. These two nutrients clearly work together in metabolism. Some of the top calcium-rich foods are:
- Dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, turnips, and collard greens
- Fortified cereals such as Total, Raisin Bran, Corn Flakes (They have a lot of calcium in one serving.)
- Fortified orange juice
- Fortified soymilk (Not all soymilk is a good source of calcium, so it’s best to check the label.)
- Enriched breads, grains such as almonds, sesame seeds, and waffles
If you suspect you may have a calcium deficiency, consult your doctor.