Nutrition and Information Guide: Minerals Calcium

About the mineral calcium, nutritional information guide, uses, effects of deficiency, good sources of calcium.

Calcium

Use in the Body: Primary function is to work with phosphorus in building and maintaining bones and teeth. It also helps the blood clot, prevents the accumulation of too much acid or too much alkali in the blood, and plays a part in heartbeat regulation, nerve transmission, and muscle contractions.

Deficiency May Lead to: Tetany, a nerve disease characterized by muscle cramps and numbness and tingling in the arms and legs. Also bone malformation and general deterioration of the bones.

Notes: The most abundant mineral in the body, comprising 1 1/2% to 2% of the weight of an adult body. Ninety-nine percent of the calcium in the body is deposited in the bones and teeth. Calcium absorption is dependent upon the presence of phosphorus and vitamins A, C, and D. Oxalic acid, found in chocolate, rhubarb, and spinach, when combined with calcium, forms a compound which may form into kidney or gall stones. Excess calcium is excreted by the body. Bedridden people often suffer calcium deficiency.

Best Sources: Whole sesame seeds, Parmesan, Swiss, and other cheeses, kelp and other sea-weeds, milk and milk products, collard greens, kale, turnip greens, blackstrap molasses, almonds.

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