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The Importance of Calcium

By Xin Chang

Do you know that calcium is essential for our body’s overall nutrition and health, because it is the most abundant mineral in our body. Aside from bones and teeth, they can also be found in blood plasma, body tissues, and extracellular fluid. It contributes to many of our body’s basic functions including prevention of disease as well as helping assimilate other nutrients.

Calcium makes up about 2% of our body weight. Since 99% of the calcium can be found in our bones and teeth, when people hear calcium, they think “bones”. While it is true that calcium can keep our bones and teeth strong by supporting skeletal structure and function, the rest 1% of calcium play a much important role in our bodily functions than just making strong bones. The key role of calcium in our body is in cell signaling, nerve impulses, blood coagulation, and a much needed boost in the immune system when it is needed.

Our body uses calcium to transport ions across the cell membrane, activate certain enzymes, as well as send and receive neurotransmitters during the communication with other cells. Calcium is an electrolyte and is used to help conduct electricity in our body. Did you know that calcium can support muscle contraction so it is one of the most important substance to maintain our heartbeat? Thyroid and parathyroid hormone secretions are also related to calcium.

How much calcium do we need? Our body does not naturally manufacture calcium and they must be obtained through diet. Studies shows we need to consume 1000mg of calcium per day. Our main sources of calcium are from milk, spinach, broccoli, beans, and yogurt. Calcium, no doubt, has great influences in our body. Now that you know your heartbeat is closely tied with the amount of calcium you intake, would you turn down that spinach salad?

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