Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body, every day we must ensure a good calcium intake through food. Known for its role in bone mineralization, calcium is just as important for the nervous system and blood clotting. The needs of a healthy adult are 900 mg per day.
Characteristics of calcium:
- Essential mineral for the mineralization of bone and teeth
- Vitamin D allows its fixation on the bones
- Found in dairy products, tofu and some drinking waters
- Calcium deficiency is a risk factor for osteoporosis and fractures
- The needs are increased in adolescents, the elderly and pregnant women
Why eat calcium-rich foods?
Calcium is involved in the mineralization of bone tissue and teeth. It ensures the strength and rigidity of bones and tooth enamel. More than 99% of the calcium is thus housed in the bone. At any stage of life, calcium has an important role: in children it allows bone growth, in adults the maintenance of bone capital and the prevention of osteoporosis and fractures in the elderly.
Calcium intervenes at the level of neuromuscular excitability and allows the muscle to contract. It is also necessary for the relaxation of the muscle after contraction and for the proper functioning of the heart muscle.
This mineral allows blood to clot and tissues to heal properly.
Essential for neuromuscular excitability, it intervenes at the level of the conduction of nerve impulses. It also plays an antidepressant role and promotes sleep.
Foods sources of calcium
It is important to include enough calcium-containing foods in the diet to cover the body’s needs and avoid a deficiency. Calcium is mainly found in cheese, tofu-derived products and dairy products.
|Firm tofu made with calcium sulfate||100 g||683 mg|
|Cheeses: gruyere and parmesan||50 g||506-592 mg|
|Cheeses: emmental, cheddar, edam, gouda, provolone, roquefort, swiss||50 g||331-396 mg|
|Fortified soy beverage||250 ml (1 cup)||320-370 mg|
|Canned sardines with bones||100 g (8 medium)||382 mg|
|Ricotta cheese, partly skimmed milk||125 ml (1/2 cup)||356 mg|
|Regular tofu prepared with calcium salt||100 g||350 mg|
|Goat’s milk||250 ml (1 cup)||345 mg|
|Cow’s milk, 0%-3.25% fat||250 ml (1 cup)||291-333 mg|
|Plain yogurt, 0%-3.25% fat||175 ml||253-332 mg|
|Fortified rice drink||250 ml (1 cup)||319 mg|
|Cheeses: camembert, blue, feta, mozzarella||50 g||194-288 mg|
|Canned salmon with bones||100 g||239-277 mg|
|Cooked black cowpea beans||250 ml (1 cup)||223 mg|
|Cooked white beans||250 ml (1 cup)||170 g|
|Orange juice, fortified with calcium||125 ml (1/2 cup)||155 mg|
|Boiled collard greens||125 ml (1/2 cup)||141 g|
|Atlantic perch, grilled||100 g||137 mg|
|Tofu prepared with magnesium salt||100 g||135 mg|
|Boiled spinach||125 ml (1/2 cup)||129 mg|
Beyond food, certain drinking waters particularly rich in calcium can help cover the body’s needs. Water is said to be rich in calcium if it contains more than 120 mg of calcium per litre. Among the calcium-rich waters we find:
How to properly use calcium?
Use of calcium
Daily calcium requirements
|Recommended Dietary Intake (ANC)|
|Babies 0-6 months||200 mg|
|Babies 7-12 months||260 mg|
|Babies 1-3 years old||500 mg|
|Children 4-6 years old||700 mg|
|Children 7-9 years old||900 mg|
|Children 10-12 years old||1 200 mg|
|Teenagers 13-15 years old||1 200 mg|
|Teenagers 16-19 years old||1 200 mg|
|Men 19-60 years old||900 mg|
|Women 19-60 years old||900 mg|
|Men 60+||1 200 mg|
|Women 60 and over||1 200 mg|
|Pregnant women||1 000 mg|
|Nursing women||1 000 mg|
Calcium-based food supplements
In food supplements, calcium is often associated with other nutrients such as vitamin D or phosphorus. These supplements are often indicated for the maintenance of bone capital and during growth. The dosage varies according to age, problem and context. Ask your doctor for advice.
Adverse effects of calcium
Consequences and symptoms of a lack of calcium
In the event of a deficit in calcium intake, the calcemia (calcium level in the blood) is self-regulated by drawing the necessary calcium directly from the bone tissue. In the long term, the symptoms of a lack of calcium are therefore bone: rickets, osteoporosis, increased risk of fracture, etc. Deficiency in this mineral can also cause thyroid disorders (hyperparathyroidism) if it is associated with a lack of vitamin D intake.
Consequences of too high a level of calcium in the blood
Hypercalcaemia, or too much calcium in the blood, can lead to hypercalciuria (increased calcium levels in the urine) and the formation of kidney stones and calcium deposits in the urinary tract and kidneys. Calcium intake should never exceed 2 g per day.
Interactions with other nutrients
Some factors disrupt the proper assimilation of calcium or increase its elimination through the urine. This is the case of the phytates present in the envelope of whole cereals, salt and proteins. Excess calcium can also disrupt the assimilation of other nutrients such as magnesium, zinc or even iron. Finally, a good supply of vitamin D is essential to allow the fixation of calcium in the bone tissue.
The symbol for calcium is Ca, its atomic number is 20. It is an earthy metal with a light gray to white color. The atomic molar mass of calcium is 40.078 u. It is the fifth most abundant mineral in the earth’s crust and the first in the human body.
Calcium carbonate is made up of carbonate ions and calcium. It is the constituent of chalk, marble and the shells of certain animals.
Calcium chloride is a calcium salt particularly recognized for its exothermic properties. It is he who is used in cement, to clear snow from roads or to make refrigerators.
Calcium hydroxide consists of calcium and hydroxyl, it is the major constituent of lime water and milk of lime
Finally, calcium sulphate comes in the form of a white powder that swells in water. in food, it is the E516 additive used for its firming and stabilizing properties.
Calcium has been used in lime preparations by the Romans since the 1st century. It was not until 1800 that calcium was discovered and identified as a mineral in its own right. It is H. Davy who will be the first to isolate it. From that moment on, calcium has been the subject of thousands of studies and has become a focus of interest for many scientific fields.