Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, representing about 2% of bodyweight. Its main reserves are in the bones, where it plays a key role in resistance, strength and in supporting the body’s mechanical functions.
Advisor: Nicolás Coronel Restrepo – Internal Medicine Physician and Endocrinologist
One of calcium’s main functions in the body is with the bone mineralization process, which helps make this tissue resistant against deformations or fractures and helps preserve the structure of the skeleton’s mechanical functions, which is what allows people to stand and walk. In addition, this mineral plays a role in the activities of the cardiovascular, neuronal and muscular systems and intervenes intracellularly in enzymatic processes and in the permeability of cell membranes. Our calcium intake comes from what we eat. To best absorb it and get additional nutrients, it is best to get calcium from what you ingest instead of from supplements. While it is found in many products, dairy products have the highest calcium content, and also contain magnesium, zinc and phosphorus. A glass of cow’s milk or natural yogurt (about 200 ml), for example, has about 250 milligrams of calcium. The same amount of soy or coconut milk can have between 30 and 60 milligrams. It is important to get your daily required amounts of calcium in age-appropriate amounts, or take supplements under medical supervision.
Not getting enough calcium causes the bones to lose their strength, increasing the risk of getting a broken bone. Getting the right amount of calcium as a child helps to form strong bone mass, which helps protect against complications, especially with diagnoses such as osteoporosis.
The importance of vitamin D
Getting a good amount of vitamin D in the body helps the intestine to absorb calcium. Normally, this vitamin is synthesized in the skin through sun exposure to the torso and arms. Getting sun exposure for a brief 10 to 15-minute period in the morning is one sure way to get this vitamin.
500 mg This is how much calcium children ages 1 to 3 need a day. This amount can be reached in two or three servings. Children between ages 4 and 8 need 800 mg a day.
25-30, this is the age at which people reach their maximum bone density. Due to hormonal changes during menopause, women may experience a greater risk of osteoporosis.
99% this is the percentage of calcium that is stored in the bones and teeth of the human body, which helps make them strong.
The right amounts
The recommended amount of calcium varies by age and condition. Worldwide, the recommendation is 1,300 mg a day for children and young people ages 9 to 18; 1,000 mg for adults up to age 50; 1,200 for older adults; and 1,300 mg for pregnant women. Ideally, these amounts should be covered by a person’s diet, and supplements should only be used in specific cases following medical advice.
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