Calcium is important for the human as it helps in muscle contraction, nerve conduction, blood coagulation and release of enzymes & hormones. There are several regulatory mechanisms are there to keep blood calcium in the normal range, derangement of them can cause low or high Calcium in the blood.
How is the blood Calcium regulated?
A very delicate balance between the blood & the bone maintains this level. Of the total body calcium, 99% is stored in the bone; the remaining 1% is in the blood.
The parathyroid glands help in maintaining this level. Parathyroid glands are situated next to the Thyroid gland, that is why they are called that but they have no relation to the Thyroid gland or Thyroid hormone.
The parathyroid glands are four small glands situated on either side of the thyroid gland. They produce a hormone called as parathyroid hormone (PTH), which helps in maintaining blood calcium levels.
Vitamin D & sun exposure also play an important role in maintaining blood calcium levels. Vitamin D helps in calcium absorption from our intestine.
What are the dietary sources of Calcium?
The main sources of calcium in the diet are dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese, curd) and green leafy vegetables
Quantities of foods containing 500 mg of Elemental Calcium:
- Milk – 14 oz.
- Calcium fortified Milk – 8 oz.
- Vanilla milkshake – 12 oz.
- Yogurt, plain, low-fat – 10 oz.
- Ice cream – 2 3/4 cups
- Custard – 1 2/3 cups
- Cheese – 1 1/4 cups
- Tofu – 1 3/4 cups
- Cheese pizza – 3 slices
What are the various calcium preparations available in the market?