Calcium is a mineral that is naturally found in milk and dairy products, such as cheese and yogurt, and it is an essential factor in the overall health of bones, gums, and teeth. This compound is the most abundant mineral in the human body, exemplifying its great importance, and any changes in its levels is tightly controlled by the parathyroid gland. This gland secretes a hormone (PTH) when calcium levels are low to reinstill calcium homeostasis. Because Calcium is so important in the body, its multiple benefits come with side effects when there is too little or too much calcium available.
Calcium is very important in maintaining bone health. A proper amount of calcium strengthens bones, further diminishing the likeliness of fractures, as well as allows bones to grow and stay their proper shapes. A correct amount of calcium also prevents against osteoporosis, which is a bone condition that results in weak bones. Calcium has been found to protect and strengthen teeth and gums by promoting a strong jaw so that teeth can be tightly packed next to one another and result in bacteria having a harder time growing.
Another benefit of calcium is it prevents against weight gain and obesity. With the proper amount of calcium in one’s diet, the parathyroid gland does not need to secrete its hormone PTH, which not only corrects calcium levels but also creates fat and prevents this fat’s breakdown. The correct amount of calcium can minimize this fat production and allow for optimal weight in both men and women.
An adequate amount of calcium also serves a role in heart health. When it comes to the heart’s muscles, calcium keeps them strong and healthy. Sufficient concentrations of extracellular and intracellular calcium levels in the cardiac muscle allows this muscle to contract and relax when needed. This mineral also plays a huge role in controlling blood pressure and keeping it within appropriate ranges. Overall, calcium proves crucial in keeping a healthy functioning heart.
Calcium also may play a role in preventing colon cancer. It has been shown that calcium reduces the appearance of colon polyps, adenomas, and nonmalignant tumors. Even though all three of these characteristics are not cancer markers, they can easily become cancerous given time. An excess amount of calcium actually binds to cancer promoters in the colon and helps excrete them from the body.
Excessive amount of calcium in the body increases the risk of developing kidney stones (which are crystallized deposits of calcium in the urinary tract). However, too little calcium can also be harmful, resulting in osteoporosis and other disorders. Calcium can also interfere with medication of those undergoing thyroid replacement treatment due to hypothyroidism.
Research done by: Ms. Jennifer Duffy