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The Importance of Calcium

Let’s talk Calcium.

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, primarily found in bones and teeth. It is essential for maintaining the bone mass necessary to support the skeleton. The body is also constantly using calcium in muscle and nerve functions as well as to carry out functions in the heart.

Ninetynine percent is found in the matrix of the bones, with the remaining one percent located in the blood, body fluid, and other tissues.  That one percent is vital because blood calcium plays an important role in balancing the body’s acid-alkaline balance. Hypocalcemia is low blood calcium and can be a result of vitamin D deficiency or kidney disease. If blood calcium levels drop too low for the transmission of nerve pulses, cell signaling, secretion of hormones, blood clotting factors, heart rhythm, contraction and relaxation of blood vessels and muscle contractions, the body will make a withdrawal from calcium stored in the bones, and this is exactly what we want to avoid.

Blood calcium also helps control the correct level of magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium in the blood. Importantly, calcium and magnesium really team up in the blood due to magnesium being a blood-thinning agent that acts as anti-coagulation in blood calcium. There is also a condition known as ‘hypercalcemia’, which means blood calcium levels are above normal, as the body continues to draw calcium from the bones. This condition usually occurs when the parathyroid glands are overactive or over-supplementation has occurred. Through hypercalcemia, bones become weakened, kidney stones can develop, and interferences in heart and brain function can occur.

Factors that may interfere with calcium absorption:
▪ Too much sodium and sugar present in processed foods, and basic table salt can cause the kidneys to excrete calcium from urine
▪ High intakes of coffee cause the kidneys to excrete calcium from urine
▪ Excessive alcohol will interfere with the absorption of calcium and vitamin D
▪ Soda drinks are high in phosphorus, which causes calcium to leach from bones
▪ Over-consumption of animal protein causes the body to produce sulphates, which can also cause calcium to leach out of the bones

Nutrient Synergy is when the combination of two or more nutrients create a possible health benefit. If you are a person that makes a meal or snack from just one food, it might have you adding a second one to add to the nutrients that you are not just eating, but that you actually absorb and use in your body. For example, Vitamin D, found in something such as milk, is better absorbed with a little bit of fat, such as from nuts or nut butter. This may also help absorb the calcium from the milk.

Read more about Nutrient Synergy in my separate post about Nutrient and food synergy.

Calcium Synergy
Calcium and magnesium compete for absorption, and calcium always wins.
Calcium and zinc compete for absorption, and calcium always wins.
Vitamin D ensures the absorption of calcium and acts like its conductor for the bones. Vitamin K2 acts as calcium’s personal guide to get it where it needs to go.
Magnesium controls calcium’s entry into every cell and keeps it dissolved in the blood.

The first factor about obtaining calcium from foods is to debunk the traditional belief that dairy, mainly milk, is our prominent source. Yes, calcium is high in organic milk and a good source, especially from cultured or fermented dairy products, but for us humans, it isn’t the most bio-available source of calcium for the body. According to Scientific research, calcium obtained from kale, broccoli, and sesame seeds are more easily absorbed.

Good food sources of calcium are dark-green leafy vegetables, broccoli, watercress, sesame seeds, tahini, dried peas and beans, almonds, chia seeds, figs, chickpeas, white beans, and tempeh. Calcium is also found in dairy products, including organic full-fat milk, yogurt, cultured and fermented cheese, and calcium-fortified cereals and beverages such as almond and soy milk.
Other very good sources of Calcium are sea vegetables, ethically caught and canned sardines, and salmon. It is the soft bones in canned fish that contain most of the calcium.

The recommended daily intake (RDI) of Calcium is on average, globally between 1000-1300 mg/day depending on age.

Signs of deficiency show up as weak and brittle bones, teeth and nails, osteoporosis, bones fracturing easily, blood clotting issues, twitching muscles, numbness and tingling in hands and feet, blood pressure, and conditions.


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