What are health benefits of calcium?

Janis Jibrin, MS, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
You need a lot of calcium: 1,000 mg per day for women and men up to age 50 and 1,200 mg after that. Calcium helps preserve and build bone and regulates heart rate, muscle function, and blood pressure. It's also linked to prevention of several types of cancer and type 2 diabetes. You can get it all through your diet, but you have to work at it. There are a variety of calcium supplements; both calcium carbonate (such as Tums) and calcium citrate (such as Citracal) are well absorbed when taken with a meal. These and other brands have versions that include vitamin D, good choices if you want more than the 400 IU in most multivitamins.
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Dariush Mozaffarian, MD
Internal Medicine
The following are health benefits of calcium:
  • Builds and protects bones and teeth when taken in combination with vitamin D
  • Helps with muscle contractions and relaxation, blood clotting, and nerve impulse transmission
  • Plays a role in hormone secretion and enzyme activation
Calcium is a necessary nutrient to promote healthy bones, as well as other bodily functions. So the health benefits of calcium largely surround maintaining the optimal performance of the bodily functions and preventing deterioration of bones, which is a condition known as osteoporosis. Although it is widely known that calcium is essential for children whose teeth and bones are developing, calcium supplements also frequently are recommended for elderly and people of all ages to prevent or slow down the progression of osteoporosis.

The benefits of calcium include prevention or reduction of osteoporosis and high blood pressure. Other calcium benefits are to lower the risk of colon cancer, and according to the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, the benefits of calcium also include helping to prevent childhood obesity.

Calcium occurs naturally in the body. In fact, most of the calcium in the human body is in the bones and teeth. The other one percent of calcium is distributed in the blood and cells of the body. This one percent of calcium is vital for bodily functions. Health benefits of calcium in the body include helping in the functioning of nerves, muscles and blood clotting. Other calcium benefits include helping the body to regulate enzymes and control blood pressure.

Since bones and teeth are made of calcium, failing to meet recommended daily calcium intake requirements can result in weaker bones, which can result in increased susceptibility to bone fracture and also to dental problems with teeth. Although natural foods such as broccoli and milk can be one of the most important sources of calcium it may not be enough. 

One of the ways to solve the problem of calcium deficiency is to take calcium vitamins, either as incorporated in multi vitamin and mineral supplements, or as calcium supplements, such as widely available. The benefits of calcium supplements include knowing that you are consistently meeting your daily calcium needs. Calcium carbonate supplements, such as Rolaids or Tums, are good sources of calcium, and also are used to treat upset stomachs. Calcium citrate is another form of calcium supplement that is usually added to orange juice. Calcium phosphate is an easily absorbed form of calcium. The benefits of calcium can be obtained with calcium lactate and dolomite, made with bone meal. Calcium comes in the form of pills, tablets or calcium liquid.

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Calcium is one of the most abundant minerals in nature and is found in everything from pearls to seashells to eggshells. Calcium is also the most abundant mineral in your body. Over 99 percent of your body’s calcium is located in your bones and teeth. Thus, calcium helps build strong bones and teeth.

Calcium also plays a role in your muscles nerves, and blood. The remaining 1 percent of calcium is in your blood, in the fluids that surround your cells, in your muscles, and in other tissues. Calcium is needed to contract your muscles, and to help your nervous system transmit messages. Calcium is also involved in the dilation and contraction of blood vessels, and it helps your blood clot. Finally, calcium is necessary for the secretion of some hormones and enzymes. It must be maintained at a constant level for your body to function properly.
Calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth, and it helps prevent arthritis. But that's not all this mineral is good for. Calcium helps your brain communicate with your nerves and regulates blood pressure, and it may reduce the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and the risk of colon cancer.
Maoshing Ni, PhD, LAc
Geriatric Medicine
Calcium partners with vitamin D to keep our bones in peak shape, as well as maintaining proper nerve function and healthy blood pressure. Low intake of calcium has been associated with elevated blood pressure. It is best to receive our calcium from natural food sources to reap the benefits. The recommended daily intake is 1,000 mg per day for adults ages 19 to 50, and 1,200 mg for those over 50.

Calcium sources: Dark leafy greens, oranges, sardines, broccoli, nuts, seeds, salmon, apricots, currants, tofu, figs, and low-fat dairy products.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.