Elements And The Human Body Calcium

978 words - 4 pages

Biological ImportanceOne of the most essential minerals in the human body, calcium accounts for approximately 1.5% of total body weight. A majority of this is housed in the teeth and the skeleton of the body, while the remainder is distributed in other areas such as the blood stream. It is essential for the human body to have calcium in order to function properly. The first way in which calcium is important is that it is a vital part of the formation of strong bones and teeth. Calcium is also needed for the storage of glycogen. Glycogen is what gives your muscles the energy they need and is important for muscle contractions. Calcium also activates the protein fibrin which is used for blood clotting, to regulate the heart beat, muscle tone, muscle contraction and nerve conduction. Calcium is a vital component of spinal fluid and the fluid surrounding your brain. The calcium level in this area is kept constant regardless of what is happening to the levels of calcium in the rest of your body. Calcium is also an ingredient in bile and helps digest fats.Recommended Daily Minimum RequirementsAccording to the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences, the recommendations for adequate intake of calcium are as follows:•0-6 months: 210 mg•6-12 months: 270 mg•1-3 years: 500 mg•4-8 years: 800 mg•9-18 years: 1300 mg•19-50 years: 1000 mg•51+ years: 1200 mg•Postmenopausal women not taking hormone replacement therapy: 1500 mg•Pregnant and lactating women (younger than 18 years): 1300 mg•Pregnant and lactating women (older than 18 years): 1000 mgSince loss of calcium and the risk of osteoporosis are greatly increased at an older age, the daily requirement of calcium is also greater. In addition, it is essential for women to take the recommended calcium in their diets while pregnant or lactating. Women are prone to lose more calcium than men because of the loss of blood (containing calcium) in menstruation each month. A woman also loses much calcium with each pregnancy.Effects of Deficiency or ExcessThe only way to attain calcium is from your diet since the body is unable to generate it. Not having enough calcium in your diet, not being able to absorb calcium efficiently and/or losing too much calcium though the urine and feces are causes of calcium deficiency. When your body does not receive enough calcium in your diet, it takes calcium from the bones and uses it in other parts of the body.Calcium deficiency may cause improper bone mineralization in children and this can lead to a disease called rickets. Rickets is a condition that is known for retarding growth and creating bone deformities.In adults, the deficiency of calcium may result in osteomalacia which is the “softening of the bone.” At an older age, along with other contributing factors, calcium deficiency may also result in osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is the slow degeneration of bones in which they become weakened and are more...

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