Calcium: Benefits, Deficiency, Side Effects and More

Calcium is a vital mineral that the body needs for multiple functions. Beyond its best-known role in building and maintaining strong bones and teeth, calcium is also crucial for nerve function, muscle contraction, and blood clotting. However, despite its importance, calcium deficiency is a common issue worldwide, leading to a range of health problems. While consuming calcium-rich foods is beneficial, excessive intake can have adverse side effects. In this article, we will explore the benefits, signs of deficiency, and potential side effects of calcium, along with tips on how to maintain an optimal balance.

What Is Calcium And Why Is It Important?

Calcium is a mineral that the body needs in relatively large amounts to function properly. It is primarily known for its role in maintaining strong bones and teeth, but it also plays a crucial role in other bodily functions such as muscle contraction, blood clotting, and nerve transmission. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body, with 99% of it being stored in the bones and teeth, while the remaining 1% is found in cells and bodily fluids.

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Calcium is necessary for keeping bones and teeth strong, making it an essential mineral for people of all ages. It also plays a vital role in the prevention and management of several health conditions, including:

  • Osteoporosis: is a medical condition characterized by decreased bone strength and increased fragility, which significantly raises the risk of fractures. Adequate calcium intake can help prevent and slow down the progression of osteoporosis.
  • High blood pressure: Studies suggest that calcium can lower blood pressure levels, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Colon cancer: Some research has shown that calcium may have a protective effect against colon cancer by regulating cell growth in the colon.
  • Preeclampsia: Adequate calcium intake during pregnancy may reduce the risk of preeclampsia, a potentially dangerous condition characterized by high blood pressure.
  • Weight management: Some studies indicate that calcium, especially when combined with Vitamin D, might help regulate body weight and prevent obesity.

Signs Of Calcium Deficiency

The body tightly regulates calcium levels, and if there is a deficiency, it will draw calcium from the bones to maintain blood levels. This can lead to weakened bones over time. Some common signs of calcium deficiency include:

Side Effects Of Excessive Calcium Intake

While getting enough calcium is essential, consuming too much can lead to adverse side effects. Some potential side effects of excessive calcium intake include:

It’s important to note that these side effects usually occur when calcium is consumed in supplement form rather than through food sources. The body has an easier time absorbing and utilizing calcium from food sources compared to supplements.

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Tips For Maintaining An Optimal Calcium Balance

Incorporating calcium-rich foods into your diet is the best way to ensure you are getting enough of this crucial mineral. Some excellent sources of calcium include:

  • Dairy products: Milk, yogurt, and cheese are all excellent sources of calcium.
  • Leafy greens: Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and collard greens are abundant sources of calcium..
  • Fortified foods: Many breakfast cereals and plant-based milk alternatives are fortified with calcium.
  • Fish: Sardines and canned salmon are good sources of calcium, as they contain soft bones that can be eaten.
  • Legumes: Beans, lentils, and chickpeas are all excellent sources of calcium for vegetarians and vegans.

It’s also important to note that the body needs Vitamin D to effectively absorb calcium. Therefore, spending time in the sun and consuming Vitamin D-rich foods such as fatty fish, eggs, and fortified dairy products can help maintain an optimal calcium balance.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much calcium do I need per day?

The recommended daily intake varies depending on age and gender. For adults aged 19-50, the recommended intake is 1000 mg/day, while for adults over 50, it’s 1200 mg/day.

Is it possible to obtain sufficient calcium solely through diet?

It is possible to get enough calcium from your diet alone, but it can be challenging. Consuming a varied diet with calcium-rich foods and getting enough Vitamin D is essential for maintaining an optimal calcium balance.

Should I take a calcium supplement?

It’s always best to try to get nutrients from food sources first. However, if you are unable to meet your daily recommended intake through diet alone, speak to your doctor about supplement options.


Calcium is a crucial mineral for maintaining overall health and preventing various health conditions. By understanding the benefits, signs of deficiency, and potential side effects of calcium, along with tips on how to maintain an optimal balance, you can ensure that your body gets the right amount of this vital nutrient. Remember to consume calcium-rich foods regularly and consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns about your calcium intake.

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This site provides educational information only. It is important not to depend on any content here in place of professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Similarly, it should not replace professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any health concerns or questions, always seek guidance from a physician or another healthcare professional.