Hypocalcemia: Calcium Deficiency and Calcium Rich Foods
Potential Causes of Calcium Deficiency
Antibiotics may inhibit the body’s ability to absorb calcium.
Lack of Vitamin D
Effects of Chemotherapy
Excessive Caffeine Consumption
Phosphates (from soft-drinks)
Hypocalcemia and Symptoms
Hypocalcemia is basically, low calcium or calcium deficiency. Hypocalcemia is determined through a blood test.
Twitching muscles and nerves
- Numbness or Tingling in Extremities (fingers and toes)
Who is at increased risk? Patients with Crohn's disease need to be very aware of their various symptoms. In addition to other risks, Crohn's disease increases the risk of osteoporosis.
Similarly spelled terms related to calcium, potassium, sodium or magnesium.
Calcium: Benefits and Deficiency Issues
Calcium: an essential mineral used by the body for the development and maintenance of strong bones and teeth. Close to 99% of calcium is located in our bones and teeth. In addition, calcium together with vitamin D is vital in the prevention and care of osteoporosis. However, calcium is not only used by the body for these areas, calcium is also important for the effective function of cardiovascular, muscular and nervous systems.
Osteoporosis: Studies have concluded calcium and vitamin D may help prevent postmenopausal bone loss and subsequent osteoporosis. Bone loss is also evident in older men and they may benefit from consuming vitamin D and calcium rich foods or supplements.
Hypoparathyroidism: Caused by an under-active parathyroid gland, patients are generally treated with a calcium rich diet, calcium supplements and a low phosphorus diet.
Cardiovascular Disease: Although further studies are needed, it was found a diet with added calcium decreased the absorption of lipids (fats) by the body. This in-turn produced lower cholesterol levels, and reduced the risk of ischemic heart disease. However, there have also been some concerns that the sudden stop of calcium supplementation may provoke adverse effects.
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Calcium, magnesium and potassium are vital to healthy cardiovascular function. All three are identified in assisting the body reduce high blood pressure. In one particular study, women who had three servings of low-fat dairy per day reduced their overall blood pressure readings.
High Cholesterol: A combination of calcium supplements, exercise and a healthy diet may improve dangerous cholesterol levels.
Stroke: Studies were able to confirm women who consumed calcium through diet and supplements significantly reduced their risk of having a stroke.
Weight Loss: A variety of studies have found those who consumed calcium and calcium supplements had better weight loss results than those who did not increase their intake.
Colon Cancer: Calcium supplements and diet may help reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Dangers and Side Effects
Problems with Excessive Calcium Consumption: Just like most medications and nutrients, too much of a good thing may lead to other health issues and cause increased strain on the kidneys and liver.
Potential risks and conditions:
- Kidney stones
- Hypercalciuria: high levels of calcium in the urine.
- Inhibit absorptions of certain minerals or vitamins: zinc and iron.
- Increase the risk of prostate cancer.
Calcium Rich Foods
- Dairy: milk, cheese, yogurt. (low-fat dairy is best for cardiovascular health)
- Fish: sardines are a rich source of calcium.
Official Dietary of Supplements: National Institutes of Health
University of Maryland Medical Center
Bendich A. The potential for dietary supplements to reduce premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms [review]. J Am Coll Nutr. 2000
Bostick RM, Fosdick L, Grandits GA, Grambsch P, Gross M, Louis TA. Effect of calcium supplementation on serum cholesterol and blood pressure. Arch Fam Med. 2000
Wang L, Manson JE, Buring JE, Lee IM, Sesso HD. Dietary intake of dairy products, calcium, and vitamin D and the risk of hypertension in middle-aged and older women. Hypertension. 2008
Chan JM, Stampfer MJ, Ma J, Gann PH, Gaziano JM, Giovannucci EL. Dairy products, calcium, and prostate cancer risk in the Physicians' Health Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2001
Tang BM, Eslick GD, Nowson C, Smith C, Bensoussan A. Use of calcium or calcium in combination with vitamin D supplementation to prevent fractures and bone loss in people aged 50 years and older: a meta-analysis. Lancet. 2007
Wang L, Manson JE, Song Y, Sesso HD. Systematic review: Vitamin D and calcium supplementation in prevention of cardiovascular events. Ann Intern Med. 2010
Dawson-Hughes B. Calcium and heart attacks. The heart of the matter. BMJ. 2010
Disclaimer: Information in this hub is research based. The author is not a physician and does not diagnose or treat health issues. The information provided in this hub should not be construed as personal medical advice or instruction. Please consult a physician for medical and dietary advice and treatment. Calcium deficiency or hypocalcemia should not be assumed or treated without the supervision of a medical professional.
© 2012 Marisa Hammond Olivares
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