- 11 Impressive Health Benefits of Calcium
- 1. Promotes Weight Loss
- 2. Essential For Normal Cardiac Function
- 3. Helps Reduce Colon Cancer Risk
- 4. Help Prevent Kidney Stones
- 5. Helps To Balance Body pH
- 6. Essential For Transport of Nutrients
- 7. Helps To Temper Symptoms of PMS
- 8. Appears To Reduce Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
- 9. Essential For Proper Skeletal Development In The Unborn Child
- 10. Essential For Prevention of Osteoporosis
- 11. Helps Prevent Diseases Of The Mouth
When it comes to minerals, calcium is definitely one of the more popular ones. We know that as children, our parents emphasized the importance of drinking our milk to ensure we build strong bones and teeth, but little did we know that calcium had many other functions beyond merely strengthening our bones and teeth.
Calcium occurs in nature as various forms of the metal, such as calcium oxide and calcium carbonate, and many underground water sources contain abundant amounts of calcium. Calcium is actually the fifth most abundant element that occurs in the human body, testament to its importance in making us who we are. Wondering what some of the benefits of this important nutrient are? Then let’s check them out!
11 Impressive Health Benefits of Calcium
1. Promotes Weight Loss
Calcium plays an important regulatory role in maintenance of a normal bodyweight, and can even promote fat loss under the right scenarios. Diets that are deficient in calcium stimulate increased release of parathyroid hormone, which seeks to ensure that enough calcium is circulating in blood for metabolic purposes. This comes at the expense of bone and other fixed structures, leaching calcium out of these cells and into blood.
Parathyroid hormone is somewhat of a “starvation” hormone, since it stimulates production and increased storage of fat, a mechanism built into our primal DNA to ensure we survive hard times. All this as a result of calcium deficiency, which sends the wrong signals to your body. Diets that are rich in calcium promote fat loss and use of fat as fuel through calcium gated channels.
2. Essential For Normal Cardiac Function
Calcium plays an important part in ensuring that the heart muscles contract as they should, with the heart regulating tight control over calcium ions to ensure that an electrical charge gradient is maintained. Occasionally, deficiency of calcium requires measures such as the hormone calcitriol needing to increase blood pressure within the coronary vessels to maintain the heart’s contractility and more.
Adequate supplementation ensures that these calcium ions are able to transmit electrical charges that keep the heart beating, and also do their job of manning calcium dependent voltage channels on the heart.
3. Helps Reduce Colon Cancer Risk
Though calcium is not absolutely associated with cancer prevention, studies have observed that people who consume ample amounts of calcium in their diet tend to have the lowest rates of colon cancer polyp development, which tends to be a pre-cursor to cancer development. It is believed that after sufficient calcium has been utilized, the remainder is free to bind to waste material along its transit out of the body, inactivating many carcinogenic waste compounds. Calcium is a well-known chelating agent, used therapeutically for its ability to bind and neutralize many toxins.
4. Help Prevent Kidney Stones
In order to understand how calcium can prevent kidney stones, you need to understand what kidney stones are. Indeed, kidney stones are calcium, but not the typical supplemental calcium. Kidney stones are actually calcium oxalate crystals, thought to be due more to calcium found in tap water, in conjunction with metabolites of certain foods. Calcium gluconate, or even calcium carbonate for that matter, are able to bind with residues that form oxalate crystals in the kidney, and promote their excretion. It boils down to using the correct form of calcium to promote kidney health.
5. Helps To Balance Body pH
Our body pH refers to the relative acidity/alkalinity of body fluids, with blood generally having a pH that is neutral to slightly basic, and varying body fluids and organ systems having differences. For example, the stomach typically has a very low acidic pH, since it is where hydrochloric acid acts, while the small intestines are primarily alkaline in pH. From time to time, we need to reduce the overall acidity of the body, such as which occurs following consumption of acid forming foods like sugary treats. This is why it’s based antacids are one of the first line treatments used to manage acid indigestion and heartburn, which results when the normal pH of the stomach drops lower than is normal, causing untoward effects.
6. Essential For Transport of Nutrients
It is one of those rare nutrients that could affect the delivery of other nutrients, even though you may not be deficient in those other ones. Think of calcium as the guard that lowers a drawbridge whenever a nutrient needs to cross over; but in cases of calcium deficiency, there is nobody manning the drawbridge, so nutrients cannot cross over and get into the cell. This is the same way calcium works to a large extent. The calcium dependent channels cannot operate or open in the absence of it, preventing the entry and uptake of other nutrients by the cell. This is why it is important to ensure you get enough calcium in your diet.
7. Helps To Temper Symptoms of PMS
The associated symptoms that occur while menses are flowing make this monthly period the worst time for many women, but luckily calcium may help to minimize or at least lessen these effects. It is believed to be due to the interactions between calcium, Vitamin D and the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which are believed to be modulated by it.
8. Appears To Reduce Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Although the reasons are unclear, a large scale study involving over 20000 nurses found that those who supplemented daily with a calcium supplement has lower rates of diabetes development that those who did not supplement with calcium. The dose in question was 1200mg daily, split in 2 daily doses.
9. Essential For Proper Skeletal Development In The Unborn Child
It has been dubbed that the growing fetus in a woman is a “parasite”, as it will do all in its power to divert nutrition away from any other source and to its own nourishment. And while this may sound extreme, it actually bears merit, as if a deficiency occurs during pregnancy, the fetus will do its best to leach calcium from the mother’s skeletal system into its own. But deficiency doesn’t usually end well, as the baby may be born with poorly developed bones, which are much more prone to fractures than they would otherwise.
10. Essential For Prevention of Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a disorder characterized by poor bone mineralization, and usually occurs much more frequently after menopause. This is because estrogen is a hormone which promotes bone health, and once that beneficial effect is lost, things go south. When this is combined with a lax calcium intake from diet, the bones become brittle and porous, forming hollow matrixes within it. When put under pressure, these areas then either deform and bend, or fracture easily because of their fragility.
11. Helps Prevent Diseases Of The Mouth
It is known to be important to the health of your teeth, as deficiency causes soft teeth, easy appearance of cavities and enamel wear to name a few. Gums are also subject to calcium’s protectant abilities, and are more likely to bleed with a deficiency.
It is arguably one of the most important minerals in your body, and for good reason- many other functions depend on it. If you do not meet your daily requirements from food, be sure to supplement with a product that supplies at least 1200mg daily for optimal health.