Why Your Blood Needs Calcium (Know The Benefits)

Why Your Blood Needs Calcium (Find Out Here)

Do you know why calcium is so important to your blood?

Our blood cells use calcium for many different functions. A mineral like calcium is important for building strong bones and preventing bone deterioration.

By eating the right type of food, your body will get the appropriate amount of calcium needed for specific functions.

In this blog post, we will explore the importance of calcium in the blood, why your blood needs this mineral nutrient, and what happens when it’s not enough.

So, before we begin, let’s take a look at what we’ll cover in this post:

  • What is calcium and What it does in the blood
  • List of foods that contain calcium
  • Reasons why your blood needs calcium
  • Where to get calcium supplement
  • Precautions you need to take when considering calcium supplements
  • Side effects of calcium supplements
  • Recommended daily intake for calcium

If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, be sure to read on, you might be surprised at what you find out!.

What is Calcium and What Does it Do in the Blood?

Calcium is one of the abundant minerals found in the body.

About 99% of calcium is found in bones and teeth, and 1% is in the blood, muscles, and soft tissues.

This 1% helps with transmitting nerve signals, blood clotting, blood pressure and immune defenses.

Calcium performs lots of functions in the blood, tissue and bones.

Here’s what it does:

  • Combining with phosphorus to form bones and teeth, making them hard and resistant to breaks and decay.
  • Helping muscles to contract normally.
  • Helping blood to clot normally when you get a cut or wound.
  • Sending nerve signals along the nervous system from the brain to other parts of the body and vice versa.
  • Weight reduction.
  • Regulating blood pressure.

Low calcium intake results in high blood pressure. People with high blood pressure should make sure they consume about 1000 to 1500 mg per day.

African-Americans have a higher
rate of high blood pressure than other groups and tend to have low calcium intakes.

What Foods Provides Calcium?

A good source of calcium contribute at least 100 mg of calcium in a standard serving.

Calcium can be found in dairy products, sea creatures and veggies.

Food sources of calcium include:

  • Yogurt (1 cup) – 415 mg of Ca
  • Milk (1 cup) – 300 mg of Ca
  • Cheese (1 ounce) – 300 mg of Ca
  • Tofu (half cup) – 200 mg of Ca
  • Salmon (3 ounces) – 181 mg of Ca
  • Kale (1 cup) – 177 mg of Ca
  • Almonds (1 ounce) – 75 mg of Ca
  • Oranges (1 medium) – 74 mg of Ca

From the list of calcium-rich foods above, Yogurt, has the highest calcium content, with 415 mg per cup.

Read: 15 Calcium-rich foods for People with Hypocalcemia

Why Your Blood Needs Calcium (Know The Reasons)

Getting enough calcium in your diet not only prevents hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, but also with bad cholesterol, osteoporosis, and colorectal adenomas.

Here are some reasons why your blood needs calcium.

1. Blood Clotting

Calcium is important for blood to clot, and it stops bleeding when you are injured.

When you cut yourself, platelets rush to the site of the injury and releases calcium ions.

The calcium helps to form a clot, which seals off the wound and prevents blood loss.

2. Muscle Contraction

Calcium is needed for muscles to contract. When you send a signal from your brain to your muscles to move, the signal is carried by a calcium ion.

The calcium ion binds to a protein on the muscle fiber, which causes the muscle to contract.

3. Nerve Signaling

Calcium also helps nerves send messages. When a nerve is active, it releases a burst of calcium ions.

The calcium ions travel down the nerve fiber and activate other nerve cells. This is how your brain is able to send signals to your muscles and other parts of your body.

4. Hormone Release

Calcium is needed for hormones like parathyroid hormone, insulin, and neurotransmitters to come out.

Parathyroid hormone, are stored in vesicles inside the cells that make them.

When these cells are stimulated, they release the vesicles, which then releases parathyroid hormone into the bloodstream, this process is called exocytosis.

Calcium helps your vesicles to merge with the cell membrane and releases their contents.

5. Bone Health

Bones are made up of calcium and other minerals like magnesium and manganese.

Calcium gives bones their strength and structure. If there are low levels of calcium in your body, your bones becomes weak and brittle, leading to osteoporosis.

6. Reduces LDL Cholesterol

Calcium supplementation and lipid metabolism reduces LDL cholesterol and increases HDL cholesterol by 95%.

Dietary calcium suppresses calcitrophic hormones that reduce intracellular calcium in adipocytes, this process stimulates lipogenesis and lipid storage.

Dietary calcium intake may reduce serum cholesterol by inhibiting cholesterol and saturated fatty acid absorption.

Are Calcium Supplements Available?

Calcium supplements are a source of calcium that can be taken by mouth to increase your calcium intake.

Some calcium supplements contains other nutrients, like vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium.

Here is a list of popular calcium supplements available in the market:

  • Bone Strength Take Care – Plant-Sourced Whole-Food Calcium (180 Slim Tablets)
  • Mykind organics whole food – plant calcium with vitamins D3 & K2 (180 vegan tablets)
  • Vitamin code raw calcium – Whole food plant formula (120 vegan capsules)
  • Bone strength take care – Plant calcium for strong bones (120 Tablets)
  • Bone strength – Plant-sourced whole-food calcium (240 tablets)

Precautions

Here are some precautions you need to know before you start taking your calcium supplements:

  • Talk about your individual needs and calcium intake from dietary sources with your doctor to determine if supplementation is appropriate and at what dosage.
  • The RDI for calcium depends on age and gender. For adults, the RDI is 1,000 – 1,200 mg of calcium per day. Exceeding this amount can increase the risk of side effects.
  • Instead of taking a large dose of calcium supplements all at once, divide your daily calcium intake into smaller doses taken throughout the day. This helps to maximize calcium absorption and minimize side effects.
  • Calcium interferes with the absorption of iron and other mineral nutrients. Take calcium at least an hour before or two hours after meals.
  • Calcium supplements also interacts with bisphosphonates, antibiotics, and thyroid hormones.
  • High dosage of calcium supplements may cause mild side effects, like constipation, bloating, and gas.
  • If you have a history of kidney stones, heart disease, or other health condition, discuss with your doctor if calcium supplements are appropriate for you.

Side Effects of Calcium Supplements

Taking too much calcium can lead to hypercalcemia, which can cause a number of side effects, including:

  • Calcium can make stool harder to pass.
  • Calcium can cause bloating, which is an uncomfortable feeling of fullness in the abdomen.
  • In some cases, taking too much calcium can also cause nausea.
  • Calcium can build up in your kidneys to form stones.
  • Too much calcium can also lead to Arrhythmias, like atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia, and bradycardia.

There has been a major concern for some decades that calcium supplementation might increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

This concern hasn’t been considered by those involved in the therapeutic management of osteoporosis.

How Much Calcium Do You Need?

According to the U.K. department of health, the recommended reference nutrients intake for calcium required according to age.

  • Infants and children: 350–550mg/day
  • Teenage: 800–1000mg/day
  • Adults: 700mg/day

Other references for the adequate intakes of dietary calcium are:

  • Birth to 6 months: 210 mg
  • 7–12months: 270mg
  • Children 1–3years: 500mg
  • Children 4–8years: 800mg
  • Children 9–13years: 1300mg
  • Teens 14–18years: 1300mg
  • Adults: 1000 – 1200mg

Keep in mind that exceeding below the recommended daily intake is likely to cause calcium deficiency and other related health problems, such as; clot failure, hypertension, bone deterioration, muscle cramps, and poor nerve transmission.

Takeaway

Consume appropriate amounts of calcium to stay healthy, just to  reduce your risk for developing osteoporosis and kidney stones.

Use the table of dietary reference intakes for calcium to find out how much calcium you need to consume each day, try to consume calcium from foods or beverages.

And if you’re looking for the best calcium supplement, choose the ones that contains calcium citrate and calcium carbonate.

References:

  • Owens, C. D., & Alberti, M. M. (2009). Hematology at a glance. John Wiley & Sons.
  • Calcium and muscle contraction by the National Institutes of Health. [view article]
  • Muscle contraction by Khan Academy. [view article]
  • The role of calcium in muscle contraction by the University of California, Berkeley. [view article]
  • Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain by Mark F. Bear, Barry W. Connors, Michael A. Paradiso. 4th Edition. 2020.
  • “Calcium in Human Biology” by Nina Agate, Michael Canfield, and Mark W. Francis (1999).
  • “The Role of Calcium in Hormone Secretion” by Daniel D. Rubin (2000).
  • “Calcium: A Versatile Regulator of Hormone Secretion” by Richard H. Chow and Michael J. Berridge (2015).
  • “Parathyroid Hormone” by John P. Bilezikian (2001).
  • “Parathyroid Hormone: Physiology and Pathophysiology” by David A. Hanley (2009).
  • “The Parathyroid Gland: An Endocrine Regulator of Calcium Homeostasis” by Michael J. Berridge (2015).
  • “Exocytosis” by James E. Rothman (2001).
  • “The Cell: A Molecular Approach” by Geoffrey M. Cooper and Robert E. Hausman (2015).
  • “Molecular Biology of the Cell” by Bruce Albert, Alexander Johnson, Julian Lewis, Martin Raff, Keith Roberts, and Peter Walter (2015).
  • “Calcium Signaling” by Ernst M. Sternberg (2009).
  • “The Chemical Basis of Cell Signaling” by Donald D. Newmeyer and David A. Foster (2015).
  • “Molecular Cell Biology” by Harvey Lodish, Arnold Berk, Chris A. Kaiser, Matthew P. Scott, William B. Sherwin, Paul Matsudaira, James Darnell, and Lawrence Goldstein (2016).
  • Bone Health and Osteoporosis: A Report of the Surgeon General (2004). [view article]

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