For Your Knowledge

Calcium Ions and Yo
ur Diet

Calcium is not widely distributed in food sources, and thus calcium deficiencies can result from improper diets.  Mil and dairy products are the most common sources of calcium, which is present as the Ca2+ ion.  The recommended intake of calcium is about 0.7 grams per day for adults.  About 1.2 grams per day is recommended for pregnant or lactating women.  Since a cup of milk contains about 0.3 gram of calcium, an intake of two cups of milk a day can provide most of the daily requirements. 

About 99% of the body's calcium is stored in bones, much like a savings account.  The remaining 1% is in the blood.  However, no evidence of calcium tends to maintain the blood level by depleting the calcium of the bones.  Even the loss of bone calcium is difficult to detect by x-ray until the damage is advanced.  The consequence of calcium deficiency from improper nutrition is the slow degeneration of bones.  Unfortunately, the process of bone degeneration is irreversible.  Adequate calcium in food is required from childhood throughout adulthood.  Otherwise, as people age, deformities of the spinal column, frequent fractures, and even death may result.

The roles of calcium in the body are varied.  Calcium is involved in the regulation of the transport of other ions into and out of cells and the transmission of nerve impulses.  Calcium is also required for blood clotting. 


Copyright ? 1999 [Toxicology Associates, Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: January 13, 2010