Calcium (mineral): benefits, where it is found and functions

Calcium - everything you need to know about this mineral

The football it’s a mining: it is an alkaline earth metal. Corresponds to the chemical element with atomic number 20 e its symbol is Ca. It represents the fifth most abundant element in the human body and the most present metal. It is part of the calculation of the electrolytes and it is essential for the proper functioning of the body. Let’s find out what the functions of this electrolyte are, what are the basis of its metabolism and which foods are rich in calcium.

Chemistry: what is calcium?

Source: Pixabay

In chemistry of calcium is theelement with atomic number 20. It is the fifth most abundant element in the earth’s crust and the third most present metal, preceded only by iron and aluminum. On Earth it is found mainly in the form of calcium carbonate, but it is also present in gypsum, apatite, fluorite and anhydrite.

It has six isotopes stable, two of which occur in nature. In nature it is very difficult to find pure calcium as it is extremely reactive especially with water. It is found in greater quantities in limestone, gypsum and fluorite rocks. When combined with water, it forms calcium hydroxide. Calcium oxide (CaO) is known as quicklime, while limestone has the formula CaCO3. A curiosity: calcium carbonate is a fundamental part of stalactites and stalagmites.

calcium muscles
Source: Pixabay


Calcium is usually introduced with the diet, but only 35-40% is actually absorbed. This happens in two ways:

  • active transport: a peptide dependent on vitamin D and placed on the outer membrane of enterocytes, it is capable of binding calcium, transporting it through the basement membrane and making it enter the blood. From here it is clear that for the correct absorption of calcium it is necessary to have the right amount of vitamin D (activated by sunlight).
  • passive diffusion

The amount of calcium absorbed depends on several factors:

  • from the needs of the organism
  • the actual presence of vitamin D
  • the presence of lactose, lysine and arginine (increase bioavailability)
  • presence of oxalates, phytates, phosphates, alcohol, caffeine and fiber (decrease bioavailability)
  • malabsorption (presence of factors that decrease absorption)

The calcium metabolism it is then regulated by certain hormones and substances:

  • paratormone: hormone produced by the parathyroid glands capable of increasing the serum level of calcium (it increases its removal from the bones, increases intestinal absorption and increases renal reabsorption together with magnesium)
  • calcitriolo: is the active form of vitamin D3. It increases the absorption of calcium and phosphate in the intestine and kidneys. It also inhibits the release of calcitonin
  • calcitonin: hormone produced by the parafollicular cells of the thyroid. It has the task of reducing the concentration of calcium in the blood and stimulating its elimination via the kidneys

Elimination of the mineral calcium

Football comes eliminated from the body in different ways:

  • in part it is not absorbed
  • with feces
  • with urine: excesses of sodium, phosphorus and proteins can increase urinary excretion of calcium
  • through sweat

Functions of the mineral calcium

The calcium ion is a fundamental element for the functioning of the body. These are his main functions:

  • contributes to nerve conduction
  • regulates muscle contractions
  • intervenes in the contractility of the heart
  • intervenes in blood clotting
  • through phosphorus, with which it forms hydroxyapatite and through vitamin D, is the basis of bone formation
  • intervenes in hematopoiesis
  • it functions as a second messenger in the signal transduction pathways
  • intervenes in the release of neurotransmitters
  • it is a cofactor of several enzymes
  • protein synthesis
  • helps maintain membrane potential

Among the non-organic uses of calcium we have:

  • used in mining of uranium, thorium zirconium
  • in various ferrous and non-ferrous alloys
  • as a binding agent in alloys of aluminum, copper, lead, magnesium and beryllium
  • it is part of the cement and mortar
  • used as fertilizer (here you will find a practical guide to make a natural calcium-based fertilizer)
  • to make plates in lead-acid batteries

Calcium deficiency in the body: symptoms

calcium skeleton
Source: Pixabay

The calcium deficiency, known as hypocalcemia, causes like symptoms:

  • muscle contractions and fasciculations
  • tetanus
  • cardiac arrest
  • osteoporosis
  • bone fragility
  • osteomalacia
  • rickets

Causes of hypocalcemia

These are the main ones causes of hypocalcemia, i.e. the reduction in the amount of calcium present in the blood:

  • hypoparathyroidism
  • pseudoipoparathyroidism
  • vitamin D deficiency
  • rickets
  • osteomalacia
  • chronic renal failure
  • malabsorption
  • acute pancreatitis
  • ipoalbuminemia
  • magnesium deficiency

Excess of calcium: symptoms

One excess calcium it is known as ipercalcemia. Come symptoms we have:

  • deposition of calcium salts in the heart, vessels and kidneys
  • anorexia
  • nausea
  • He retched
  • mental confusion
  • weakness
  • increased urination
  • dehydration
  • soft tissue calcification
  • thrombosis
  • kidney stones

Causes of hypercalcemia

These are the main ones causes of hypercalcemia, i.e. the increase in calcium levels in the blood:

  • hyperparathyroidism
  • hyperthyroidism
  • hypervitaminosis D
  • Addison’s disease
  • bone tumors
  • myeloma
  • lymphoma
  • sarcoidosi
  • Paget’s disease

Foods rich in calcium

Calcium: eggs, cheese and milk
Source: Pixabay

The foods rich in calcium I am:

  • milk and cheese
  • vegetables and greens
  • cereals
  • meats and fish
  • egg
  • legumes

However, not all of the calcium in these foods is the same bioavailable. This is the case of the calcium present in legumes, cereals, vegetables and fruit: cooking oi phytate present can reduce the bioavailability of the calcium present.

L’food that contains more calcium it is milk, including its derivatives such as cheeses (especially aged ones and yogurt). Fish and molluscs are also particularly rich.

From la fruit richer in calcium we find:

  • oranges
  • nights
  • almonds
  • pistachios
  • dried figs

When to take calcium supplements?

If you suspect you are suffering from a calcium deficiency, contact your doctor. Exist calcium-containing supplements and vitamin D, but sometimes it is enough to simply eat the right foods and correct the diet. For example, in case of a deficiency, you can try to eat more milk and dairy products.

Calcium, an indispensable mineral

The football it is an ion that is involved in numerous functions of the body. It is important to ensure an adequate intake with the diet, to avoid excesses and deficiencies, both dangerous and potentially lethal to human health. To find out if your body has the right amount of calcium and vitamin D, ask yours doctor what exams to do. In the case of hypocalcemia or hypercalcemia, in fact, it is essential to establish the cause of the problem in order to bring the values ​​back within the reference range before they cause symptoms.

If you think your diet is low in calcium, try asking a nutritionist to formulate a correct one as well.

Source: GreenStyle by

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