Calcium Deficiency: What You Should Know

by Peter Bua
Calcium Deficiency: What You Should Know
The National Institutes of Health say that children between the ages of nine and 18 require 1,300 milligrams of calcium daily. Calcium is a necessary mineral that helps to keep your teeth and bones strong. There’s more calcium in your body than there is any other mineral, and as you might expect, almost all of it is inside your teeth and bones. This means that getting enough calcium is absolutely essential for maintaining healthy bones and teeth, especially as you grow older. However, calcium also plays a role in keeping your heart, nerves, and muscles functioning normally. The recommended daily allowance for both men and women is between 1,000 and 1,300 milligrams of calcium, depending on how old you are. By making sure your calcium intake is within these limits, you’ll be prepared to maintain healthy teeth and bones and avoid age-related diseases like osteoporosis.

The Difference Between Calcium Deficiency and Calcium Inadequacy

An actual calcium deficiency, called hypocalcemia, generally has nothing to do with the calcium levels in your diet. Instead, a true calcium deficiency is usually the result of medical conditions, or taking certain medications, which cause the calcium levels in your blood to be too low. Dietary calcium deficiency is very rare. However, calcium inadequacy is fairly common, which happens when someone’s dietary intake of calcium isn’t good enough. Over time, calcium inadequacy can lead to osteoporosis and other health conditions. If you don’t get enough calcium in your diet, you can order calcium supplements for osteoporosis to help prevent this condition.

Medications That Deplete Calcium

Certain kinds of medication may cause hypocalcemia because they reduce calcium stores or make it difficult to absorb calcium from your diet. One such category of medication is diuretics. These increase the amount of calcium that’s passed through the body in the urine, causing too much of a dip in your overall calcium levels. Some antibiotics and antiseizure medications may also lower calcium levels. Proton pump inhibitors, used to combat stomach acid, don’t technically cause hypocalcemia, but they do sometimes reduce your absorption of calcium. If your body doesn’t have any trouble absorbing calcium and you just need a boost along with your diet, you can order calcium supplements online to help with this.

Health Conditions That Contribute to Low Calcium Levels

Issues involving the parathyroid glands, which can be found on the thyroid inside the neck, may affect blood calcium levels. These glands produce parathyroid hormone (called PTH), which enables your body to keep calcium and phosphorus balanced in the blood. If a medical condition causes you not to produce enough PTH, calcium levels may decline. This condition can be caused by an injury to the parathyroid glands, an endocrine disorder, or a genetic condition. If you have too much PTH, on the other hand, your blood calcium can rise too high. Kidney dysfunction can also cause calcium levels to drop, because too much calcium is secreted into the urine, preventing the kidneys from activating vitamin D.

People Most at Risk for Calcium Inadequacy

There are four groups of people who are most at risk for experiencing calcium inadequacy: postmenopausal women, women with amenorrhea, vegans, and those who are lactose intolerant. Menopausal women produce less estrogen, which causes a decrease in calcium absorption, and increases the breakdown of old bone. This may lead to osteoporosis if left untreated. Women with amenorrhea suffer from a condition in which menstrual periods either stop or never start to begin. This condition can be caused by low body weight, stress, or a hormonal imbalance, among other things. Women who never experience a period have lower circulating estrogen levels, which can cause a calcium imbalance. Vegans and the lactose intolerant can suffer from calcium inadequacy because dairy products are most people’s top source of calcium. By avoiding dairy, you may not be getting enough calcium in your diet. It’s important for these people to focus on non-dairy sources of calcium, and to order calcium supplements.

Connections Between Vitamin D and Calcium

Adequate levels of vitamin D is necessary for the body to properly absorb calcium. This means that if you’re vitamin D deficient already, calcium inadequacy may be right around the corner. Fortunately, vitamin D is found in many foods. You can also order vitamin D supplements, as well as order calcium supplements online.