Hypocalcemia: Calcium Deficiency and Calcium Rich Foods

Milk and other dairy products contain the combined benefits of vitamin D and calcium.
Milk and other dairy products contain the combined benefits of vitamin D and calcium. | Source

Potential Causes of Calcium Deficiency

  • Antibiotics may inhibit the body’s ability to absorb calcium.

  • Lack of Vitamin D

  • Kidney failure

  • Magnesium Deficiency

  • Alcoholism

  • Leukemia

  • Effects of Chemotherapy

  • Diuretics

  • 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.

Symptoms Include:

  • Twitching muscles and nerves

  • Confusion

  • Irregular heartbeat

  • 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.

  • Hypercalcemia: high levels of calcium.

  • Hypokalemia: low levels of potassium.

  • Hypotremia: low levels of sodium.

  • Hypomagnesemia: low levels of 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.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): A diet rich in magnesium and calcium have shown improved symptoms of PMS. Studies have described a 50% reduction in headaches, bloating and even moodiness.

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.

A diet rich in potassium, magnesium and calcium have proven to have increased benefits against cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure.
A diet rich in potassium, magnesium and calcium have proven to have increased benefits against cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure. | Source

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.
  • Constipation
  • 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)
  • Meats
  • Poultry
  • Fish: sardines are a rich source of calcium.
  • Legumes
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach

Resources

WebMD

Vaughn's Summaries

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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Comments 17 comments

kelleyward 4 years ago

Great hub MissOlive full of useful information. I've started taking more calcium supplements. I think weight bearing exercise also helps. Thanks for sharing this. Take care, Kelley


old albion profile image

old albion 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

Hi MissOlive. An extremely informative hub. I have had kidney stones in the past. I will look into the suppliments. Thank you.

Graham.


susiebrown48 profile image

susiebrown48 4 years ago from Clearwater, FL

Very informative, I didn't realize that calcium deficiency effected weight loss. Thank you for the great read!


Diana Lee profile image

Diana Lee 4 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

This is very interesting. Calcium is also good for people suffering from muscle spasms. I had to cut back on calcium supplements because of constipation, but low fat milk and yogurt are equally effective. Vote up.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

I am liking your series on healthy life styles. thanks for the education on calcium deficiency and how to deal with it through diet and attitude. Voted up.


ChristyWrites profile image

ChristyWrites 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Spinach is a great source of calcium, I will have to try to incorporate it more in my diet!


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 4 years ago from Western NC

Calcium...dem bones dem bones gonna walk around! Hehe. This is a very informative hub - well-written and beautiful layout. Thank you for compiling this information. :)


missolive profile image

missolive 4 years ago from Texas Author

kelleyward, yes, weight bearing exercise does improve bone and muscles health. We still need our calcium and vitamin D too. Fortunately there are many foods that contain multiple vitamins and minerals. Thank you for reading and commenting.

old albion, I do hope you find relief for your kidney stones. Please take care of yourself. Glad to see you stopped by.

susiebrown48, it sure does. Calcium can also affect blood pressure. It is definitely an important nutrient for maintaining optimum health.

Diana Lee, low fat cheese, milk and yogurt has been found to reduce blood pressure. I included the study on my foods that reduce blood pressure hub. All it takes is three servings a day...pretty neat. Plus, you also get your calcium and vitamin D. Thanks for the votes.

teaches12345, thank you so much! I greatly appreciate that. Glad you are enjoying the series. I'm learning quite a bit as I work my way through the different nutrients and benefits. Thanks for the votes.

ChrustyWrites, isn't it amazing how much spinach has in it? Good stuff. Glad I like it. I'm also glad to see you have stopped by to read and comment.

cclitgirl, lol, you are too funny. Now I have that tune in my head hahaha. Thanks for the great comment. Glad to share what I find with you and others.


Deborah Brooks profile image

Deborah Brooks 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

ms olive.. this is a great hub..i am sharimg on TOPS (TAKE OFF POUNDS SENSIBLY)

ON FACEBOOK

BLESSINGS

DEBBIE


missolive profile image

missolive 4 years ago from Texas Author

Deborah Brooks, thank you so much for sharing this. Your group sounds like a very healthy place for staying on track and supporting each other. Thanks again and many wonderful blessing to you too.


vibesites profile image

vibesites 3 years ago from United States

I never thought caffeine is one of the culprits of low calcium. I'll take note of that. Thanks! :)


missolive profile image

missolive 3 years ago from Texas Author

vibesites, I've personally tried giving up caffeine and have not been successful. I do need to monitor quantity though due to high blood pressure. Thank you for reading and commenting.


pinto2011 profile image

pinto2011 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

Hi Marisa! Calcium is indeed one of the most vital component for our overall health and you have enlisted its qualities very well. You have made the subject more alive.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York

Good information for everyone to know Missolive. More and more doctors are recommending vitamin D supplements as they find out more about its value.

Voted up, useful, and interesting.


missolive profile image

missolive 3 years ago from Texas Author

pinto2011, thank you so very much for your lovely comment, I greatly appreciate it.

tillsontitan, how right you are, vitamin D is so vital. As I continue my research on natural food sources I am finding how combinations are truly vital in maintaining proper levels of nutrients. Not always an easy task though. It is nice to know there are a variety of supplements out there to help beef up whatever our diet may lack. I'm personally trying to keep my meals as 'colorful' as possible, more colors more nutrients. :) Thank you for your votes, comments and most importantly, your support.


Tamara14 profile image

Tamara14 2 years ago from Zagreb, Croatia, Europe

This was very informative, thank you. After reaching 40 we tend to think a bit more about our health I guess and Mg and Ca are two of my most researched topics recently. I've just came from Squidoo and learning my way around, so discovering great hubs like this is such a bonus. I am looking forward to getting back to your impressive list very soon.


missolive profile image

missolive 17 months ago from Texas Author

Tamara14, thank you for reading and commenting. I apologize for my late response. Your comment seemed to slip my radar. I hope your transition from Squidoo has been a positive one.

Yes, Mg and Ca are a common topic for me as well. Regardless of what mineral, vitamin or antioxidant benefit I am analyzing they always seem to be actively involved.

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