Calcium is one of the most important nutrients in your body. About 99 percent of the calcium is stored in your bones and teeth, while the rest is present in blood, muscles and other tissues.
The body uses the mineral to carry out many important functions, including sending important messages through the nervous system.
Calcium deficiency is a common health problem across the globe, especially among the elderly and postmenopausal women. It can also affect children’s healthy development.
Many factors can contribute to its deficiency. Most often it is due to lack of adequate calcium in your diet, aging, low vitamin D levels and hormonal changes in the body.
People often ignore the warning signs of calcium deficiency, until the problem becomes severe. It is important to be aware of these signs as addressing the problem early can save you from future complications. With a simple blood test, your doctor can check your calcium level.
To reduce your risk of calcium deficiency, you should consume the recommended amount of calcium per day through the food you eat. If necessary, you can take calcium supplements, after consulting your doctor.
Here are some warnng signs that you may have a calcium deficiency.
1. Muscle Aches and Cramps
One of the most common symptoms of calcium deficiency is muscle aches and cramps. Lack of sufficient calcium causes nerve cells to become extra sensitive, leading to sudden muscle cramping and pain.
Uncontrollable muscle twitches as well as numbness and tingling sensations in the hands and legs can occur for the same reason.
Moreover, a low calcium level may impair the nervous system, which in turn affects the functionality of nerves.
If you are experiencing muscle cramps and aches on a regular basis, despite proper hydration and an adequate hemoglobin level, it is time get your calcium level checked.
2. Weak Bones
Insufficient calcium in the body can take a toll on the health of your bones. The mineral is vital for building bones and keeping them strong.
With low calcium, bones are likely to become weak, which increases susceptibility to osteoporosis and fractures. In the long run, weak bones can also impact a person’s stature and overall strength.
This is why parents should make sure that their children are eating calcium-rich foods, especially during their growing years.
When you don’t take in enough calcium, the body starts using the calcium from your bones to ensure normal cell function.
Aging people, especially women after menopause, should consider taking calcium supplements to prevent bone loss and fractures that occur with age.
3. Weak Teeth
Calcium deficiency can even show its sign in the teeth. Calcium is an important constituent of teeth; hence its deficiency can cause delayed and defective tooth formation in children. Adults also may experience more frequent instances of tooth decay and other oral problems.
A 2001 study published in the American Journal of Medicine notes that both calcium and vitamin D supplements help reduce tooth loss in the elderly.
4. Frequent Illness
Calcium is also needed for maintaining a healthy immune system, which helps the body battle viruses, bacteria, yeasts and fungi. This is why people who are deficient in calcium are more likely to suffer from common colds and infections.
Furthermore, calcium is one of the most important alkaline minerals that increase the oxygen level in your blood. Bacteria and fungi cannot survive in an alkaline atmosphere.
It also supports the healing process of wounds and injuries. In a 2013 study published in Current Biology, scientists for the first time revealed how a flash of calcium is the very first step in repairing damaged tissue to speed up the healing process following injury or surgery.
5. Difficulty Losing Weight
Intake of sufficient calcium is important for healthy body weight. In fact, it has been found that most obese people do not consume the recommended daily allowance of calcium. So, if you are struggling to lose weight, it could be due to lack of calcium.
A 2004 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition notes that dietary calcium plays a pivotal role in the regulation of energy metabolism that accelerates weight loss, whereas low-calcium diets attenuate weight and fat gain.
A later 2009 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition emphasizes that boosting calcium consumption spurs weight loss, but only in people whose diets are calcium deficient.