Why Calcium Absorption is More Important Than You Think
Calcium absorption is more crucial than ever once you reach the age of 50. Calcium has many important functions in your body that aren't just related to bone health.
Besides being an essential mineral for bone growth and development, calcium is essential for preventing nerve damage, promoting exocytosis (the process of cells releasing nutrients into your body), and for your blood to clot normally.
“Americans consume less than half of their recommended daily calcium intake,” says Tessa Prior-Pullins, one of the lead dietitians for BistroMD. “Calcium absorption is crucial to our health once we get over a certain age, which is why it is so essential that we get our daily recommended intake.”
Many people don’t realize that we lose a percentage of our calcium daily through certain normal bodily functions.
“Our bodies lose calcium every day,” says Tessa Prior-Pullins. “When we urinate, when we sweat, and even when we go through certain life changes, like menopause and weight gain.”
Calcium absorption is essential for bone development, but calcium’s role is critical to the functions of different systems in your body.
One of our lead dietitians, Tessa, shares with us the importance of calcium absorption, and how your body depends on this nutrient for more than just healthy bones.
Vital for Your Blood to Transport Nutrients
”Adequate calcium in the blood is vital," says Tessa. "Without an adequate amount, a wide variety of bodily functions and our internal biochemistry will not tolerate a deficiency even for short periods of time,” says Tessa.
As an adult, you should get a minimum dose of 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day. This is equally about the same for men and women.
Without adequate calcium, your blood will not provide the essential nutrition your bones need to function properly, which can become a problem as you age.
“People often forget that your bones contain bone marrow, which essentially supplies nutrition to your bones,” says Tessa. “If your blood lacks calcium, it can’t transport nutrients to your bone marrow, which then makes your bones weaker and more brittle.”
Vital for Your Systems to Function Properly
Calcium is transported back and forth between the bodily fluids and the cells of your body's various systems.
“Calcium is vital to the functioning of each of your body’s systems,” says Tessa. “This includes the central nervous system, the muscular system, the hormonal system, and the nutrient is essential for kidney function.”
Your central nervous system depends on sufficient calcium levels to keep the nerves functioning properly. Nerve impulses are transmitted down the millions of nerves in specific body parts so they can perform a given function.
In all reality, if it wasn't for calcium, your body probably wouldn't be able to move around.
Here is how the process works: Calcium enters your body, and nutrients are carried to your cells and tissues through your blood. This helps your body perform simple movements, like bending your arm. Once the nutrients travel through the blood, nervous tissue uses this energy to send nerve impulses from your brain down to the spinal cord. These nerve impulses then get sent to your muscles, which then power the motion to bend your arm.
“If the calcium levels in the body become too low, the nerves become hyper-excited and the muscles go into spasm,“ says Tessa. “If the calcium levels stay low enough for a certain period of time, the muscles can go into tetany, which is a more continuous spasm. This is one of the reasons why calcium is crucial for heart health. Calcium actually keeps your heart muscles contracting and keeps them strong.”
The best way to make sure you get the right dose of calcium daily is to stick to a healthy meal plan, like BistroMD.
"All of the meals from BistroMD can provide you with your needed dose of daily calcium," says Tessa. "Each of the meals is nutritionally balanced to give you the appropriate balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat to promote healthy weight loss, but also provide you with essential nutrients, like calcium, to keep you healthy as you get older."
To learn more about the healthy meals delivered to your door from BistroMD, please visit our FAQ page to learn more about our program.