Senior Health

Here you will find informative articles on the topic of senior nutrition. Topics covered range from senior nutrition and weight loss to the relationship between BMI and quality of life for the elderly.

Why Calcium Absorption is More Important Than You Think

Calcium is popularly known for its imperative role in growing and sustaining strong bones. And though maintaining and building strong bones is critical throughout all ages, calcium function is not confined to bone health. So why is calcium important to the body and how can we ensure proper calcium absorption?


Calcium is popularly known for its imperative role in growing and sustaining strong bones. And though calcium function is not limited to bone health. So why is calcium important to the body and how can we ensure its intake?

Why is Calcium Important to The Body?

Calcium function and absorption within the body is to primarily support bone health. However, calcium also plays vital roles in other systems such as the muscular system, central nervous system, and urinary system. The muscles and nerves work together to utilize calcium, as the nervous tissues use calcium's energy to stimulate nerve impulses to trigger muscle contraction. These contractions produce muscle movements and allow the body to facilitate normal body actions. And since the heart also contains muscle, calcium helps to keep the heart beating and contracting. With those life-sustaining processes in mind, optimizing calcium absorption is extremely vital to keep the body functioning.

Though calcium absorption ultimately is achieved by the intake of calcium-containing products, absorption can further be facilitated and enhanced by vitamin D. The pairing is infamous on milk jugs and orange juice containers - often identified as "fortified with vitamin D." Vitamin D sources also include sunlight, cheese, egg yolk, and fatty fish. Additionally, calcium and iron supplements should be avoided together, as calcium may inhibit proper iron absorption. The excretion of calcium naturally occurs through urination, sweat, and body changes such as menopause and pregnancy. Due to calcium's inevitable loss, it is important to consume calcium-rich products to replenish stores and prevent deficiency.

Calcium Sources and Recommended Needs

Dairy products are an excellent source of calcium. Though milk is admired for its calcium content, there are additional sources that offer high amounts. The listed items are a part of the United States Depart of Agriculture's National Nutrient Database. The identified foods are based on one cup and valued in milligrams (mg):

•Orange Juice with Added Calcium: 1514 mg
•Sesame Seeds: 1404 mg
•Nonfat Mozzarella Cheese: 1086 mg
•Whole Grain Cereals: 1000 mg
•Oriental Radishes: 730 mg
•Sardines with Bone: 569 mg
•Unsweetened Almond Milk: 516 mg
•Mature Soybeans: 515 mg
•Almonds: 457 mg
•Collard Greens: 357 mg

Though calcium is widely obtainable through food sources, calcium deficiency is common within the general public. If you have ever experienced muscle twitches and spasms, the body may be deficient in calcium. Irregular heartbeats and bone loss are also serious health consequences of low calcium levels. But to reduce the risk of calcium deficiency and to promote adequate intake, the new food label now requires the inclusion of calcium on food products. The identified calcium daily value is in hopes to encourage and increase its consumption. The National Institute of Health recommends the average daily intake across varying life stages:

Written By bistroMD Team. Published on November 07, 2012. Updated on August 30, 2016.


Follow @bistroMD

Start Your Diet Today!

Reality Check - Your Free Diet Analysis

Simply answer a few questions so we can figure out your weight loss goals and provide solutions for a lighter, healthier you. Our weight loss meal plans are designed to help real people achieve real and lasting success.

as seen on...   
Dr Phil
Lifetime Network
The Biggest Loser
The Doctors