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Calcium Deficiency Causes: Calcium in Foods and Calcium Supplementation

Updated on July 31, 2012

Calcium deficiency is a major concern in the United States. Over 75% of Americans don't get what they need. Calcium does ninety percent of its work building bone mass during the first seventeen years of life with the balance occurring by age twenty eight. If bone loss occurs after this time it cannot be be restored. Calcium is important for healthy bones throughout life. It is an essential element vital to many body functions.

The two causes of calcium deficiency are a diet low in calcium and an inability to absorb and metabolize the mineral. Calcium is the main component of bones and teeth and is involved in maintainance, growth and reproduction of the human body. Other functions are transmitting nerve impulses, regulating heartbeat, blood coagulation, muscle contraction and relaxation, stimulating hormone secretion and the activation of enzyme reactions. Calcium deficiency is linked to osteoporosis, colon cancer and high blood pressure.

A low calcium level in the blood because of poor diet causes the body to leach calcium from the bones. The body returns calcium to the bones when it receives it through diet. If the diet continues to be poor in calcium there will not be enough calcium in the blood to give back to the bones. Eventually this leads to osteoporosis.

Among the youth of America there is widespread calcium deficiency putting them at risk for many major health problems. Infants have been developing rickets, a disease usually associated with vitamin D deficiency, around the age of twenty months. This is due to lack of calcium in the diet after breast feeding was discontinued. According to the National Institutes of Health, only about 25% of boys and 10% of girls get enough calcium in their diets. Osteoporosis in Americans aged 50 years old and up is the reason for 1.5 millon fractures every year. It is estimated that 10 million people have osteoporosis and 34 million more have low bone mass placing them at risk for osteoporosis.

High blood pressure affects around 50 million Americans and is very common among African Americans and older people. A study done on women with a diet continually low in calcium revealed that women who take 1500-2000 mg of calcium daily reduce the risk of getting high blood pressure from pregnancy by as much as 50%. It was also found that pregnant women who had a calcium rich diet, had babies that weighed more and had lower blood pressure that continued at least through the first five years of life.

Calcium may be Beneficial in Prevention and Treatment of Several Health Conditions which include cataracts, osteoporosis, colon cancer, high blood pressure, kidney stones, premenstrual syndrome, pregnacy induced high blood pressure and inflammatory bowel disease.

The best sources of calcium are spinach, collard greens, mustard seeds and turnip greens. Other great sources include kale, swiss chard, blackstrap molasses, mozzarella cheese swiss chard, basil. cinnamon, thyme, dill seed, and peppermint leaves. Good sources include, broccoli, romaine lettuce, celery, brussel sprouts, oranges, asparagus, sesame seeds, fennel, cabbage, summer squash, basil, thyme, dill seed, cinnamon, and peppermint leaves, cow's milk, and goat's milk. (The amount of calcium in food is not affected by cooking or storage).

Calcium supplementation is necessary for those who do not adequate amounts of calcium from their diet. Calcium Supplements can be purchases in different forms. The most common are carbonates or citrates. Calcium citrate is the best choice for maximum absorption and bioavailability in the body.The recommended daily intake of calcium is as follows: 210mg for 0 to 6 months old, 270mg for 6 to 12 months old, 500mg for1 to 3 years old, 800mg for 4 to 8 years old, 1300mg for 9 to 18 years old, 1000mg for 19 to 50 years old and 1200mg for 51 years old and above.

Calcium is one of the essential minerals needed to maintain life. Most people in America today are calcium deficient and are in danger of serious health conditions developing. By taking preventative measure today you can avoid the undesirable and inevidable outcome of calcium deficiency.


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    • profile image

      gillian hearn 5 years ago

      What happens when you take masgnesium supplements and are low in calcium?

    • profile image

      MaryAnn 5 years ago

      This page is really great

    • stevemark122000 profile image

      stevemark122000 5 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for your comment KimmiS. You are right about the cow's milk. I learned the truth about it after I wrote this article and have not updated it. Thanks for the reminder.

    • KimmiS profile image

      KimmiS 5 years ago from Vancouver, Canada

      Jagat you are actually incorrect.

      Vegetarians have a much lower risk of bone disease (if they eat plenty of fruits and vegetables).

      SteveMark It is an informative article but you are incorrect about milk being a source of calcium. Cow's milk has the opposite effect, it depletes our calcium.

      This is why milk drinking nations like America have the highest rates of bone disease.

    • profile image

      DePuy Pinnacle Lawsuit 6 years ago

      Calcium is highly important for the growth of our bones. Back when I had a DePuy Pinnacle hip implant, I had to eat green-leafy veggies and at least 1-2 glasses of milk each day.

      Lately though, there have been reports of lawsuits from people who have a similar Pinnacle device. I hope everyone who have had the implant will be fine.

    • profile image

      oliveg 6 years ago

      thanku this page really helped me wiv my homework and taught me lots about calcium and its causes! now i wont get anything wrong on my science test! thanks again!

    • profile image

      jagat02 7 years ago

      Nice post....calcium deficiency is a concern for vegetarians too. They hardly get much except from milk.

    • profile image

      kims3003 7 years ago

      Great post! Excellent information! Well researched and put together and written beautifully. You have a nice way about yourself with how you put things into words. It takes special talent to do this - something many of us are always trying to get better at but you've got it.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 7 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Thank you for the great information on calcium and vit. D. I used to be very low in both, but with supplements and brought my levels up considerably.

    • profile image

      Rock N Raw 4 life 7 years ago

      I completely agree that calcium is necessary for healthy growth and development, but I don't believe dairy is needed to obtain that calcium. Americans consume the highest amounts of dairy and have some of the highest rates of osteoporosis. Dairy products obviously are not the answer! Dairy along with many other common American staples, such as processed foods and meat are acid forming and pulls minerals from your bone to balance ph levels. I would suggest the other foods listed for calcium and save your self from the many other problems associated with dairy. Other then the disagreement on dairy products, great article Steve!

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 7 years ago from Great Britain

      Thank you so much. That could have been writen for me. I suffer from hereditary bone disease and I'm always intersted in more ways to absorb calcium.

      This article was very helpful. I appreciate you work.

    • profile image

      Joe J. 7 years ago

      Dear Steve:

      I have experience many aliments regarding a magnesium deficiency in life. At first, I thought of was a calcium deficiency. Some of the ailments that I have encountered were the following: muscle cramping, my hand and legs going numb,ringing in the ears, insomnia, low blood sugar, confusion, lack of concentration, nervousness, anxiousness, pains in my knee joints, fatigued,craving for salt food, receding gums, and bleeding gums. Then once I started to take magnesium supplements in powered formed and transdermal topical mgcl, then all my problems went away.

      Indeed magnesium is a very important mineral, that is needed in order for calcium to do its job. If low levels of magnesium are in the system, then calcium is going to do a lot of harm to the bodily functions, such as osteoporosis, arthritis, kidney stones, hardening of the arteries, heart problems, etc.

      If you have any questions regarding this, you can reach me at



    • carriegoff profile image

      carriegoff 8 years ago from Michigan

      I agree that calcium and Vit D deficiency is epidemic in our country. Kids are raised on Kool-Aid instead of milk. Personally, I think nothing besides milk and water should be available in schools. Even healthy juice is super high in calories and provides no calcium. But, it's never too late to make a change. Thanks for the heads up about how very vital calcium is!!


    • profile image

      Kim Garcia 8 years ago

      Thanks for this information!! Very thorough. My grandmother and mother both suffered terribly with osteoporosis, as it's kind of a given when you deal with Celiac Disease. Calcium magnesium is good in liquid form if you deal with malabsorbtion problems. So its good to start with the calcium supplements when young. Peace ~ Kim

    • MomK profile image

      MomK 8 years ago from Rural Arkansas

      Awesome information! I especially liked the table with calcium requirements by age. Thanks!

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 9 years ago from Wisconsin

      I never knew how much Calcium did until I had my parathyroid removed. Now I have to constantly watch it and have periodically had to get an IV of calcium. Thank you for letting others know about it.

    • profile image

      Sharon 9 years ago

      Thanks this page has really helped me, I have recently had to undergo numerous blood tests as my calcium levels are very low......only trying to get answers from the doctor is like trying to get blood from a stone! I was diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease......but then cleared???? I have had a number of low level blood tests for various substances and have been arguing about malabsorbtion for some time? Now at least I feel better armed when I visit the doctor for my results.........thank you.

    • Jennifer.July profile image

      Jennifer.July 9 years ago from Singapore


    • stevemark122000 profile image

      stevemark122000 9 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for your comments everyone. A diet rich in calcium involves eating lots of foods high in calcium. It is really important to make sure you are getting the recommended daily intake for your age group.

    • profile image

      einron 9 years ago

      I know that milk contains calcium, but I have read and heard that milk creates mucus. The Chinese on the whole, especially older generations do not really consume as much milk as the Caucasians. The modern Chinese do consume milk. They depend more on soy. I drink more soy now.

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 9 years ago

      Thanks for this useful article, Steve. From now on, I'm gonna try to drink more milk :)

    • stevemark122000 profile image

      stevemark122000 9 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks jezzbb and rb77 for your comments.

    • rb77 profile image

      rb77 9 years ago from Las Vegas

      Steve, may I add from what I read our diets in USA is acidic and the body has to maintain a 7.1 PH balance. Calcium is a alkaline, the bone is biggest source so if your not ingesting any alkalines from the outside the body must find alkaline from within, the Bone. Good article.

    • jezzbb profile image

      Jess Ba-ad 9 years ago from Philippines

      Considering the statistics of osteoporosis, its safe to assume that many people neglect the importance of calcium. People must be educated in its importance early in life. Thanks for this informative hub!

    • stevemark122000 profile image

      stevemark122000 9 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for your comment Ronald. The age breakdown is actually 19 to 30 and 31 to 50. I put

      19 to 50 because the 1000mg intake is the same for both groups.

    • stevemark122000 profile image

      stevemark122000 9 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for your comment Ronald. THe age breakdown is actually 19 to 30 and 31 to 50. I put

      19 to 50 because the intake is the same for both groups.

    • stevemark122000 profile image

      stevemark122000 9 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for your comment sixtyorso. Not sure why your dietician would not want you to eat spinach unless you are allergic to it. It has so many health benefits.

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 9 years ago from South Africa

      Geat hub Steve.

      just a query My dietician asked me not to eat spinach. Could you perhaps comment on this?

    • profile image

      Ronald Daniar 9 years ago

      1000mg for 19 to 50 years old

      Are you sure about this?

    • stevemark122000 profile image

      stevemark122000 9 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for your comment Lynn. Weight training will definitely improve bone mass but it is important to make sure you are getting your daily requirement for key nutrients as well. I have written a hub called How to Prevent Mass Reduction and Fragility in Aging Bones which discusses all these nutrients.

    • Lynn Byrne profile image

      Lynn Byrne 9 years ago from Daytona Beach Florida


      I've read about bone density improvement with weight training. How much do you think that some resistance training would help?

      I just found your hubs and you certainly give a lot of information. Thanks.

    • stevemark122000 profile image

      stevemark122000 9 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for your comment sheryl. Calcium is crucial for brain cell function and is transported through the blood. Too much calcium may cause the brain to age more rapidly.

    • sheryl c profile image

      sheryl c 9 years ago from canton ohio

      Hi steve great hub can you explaine how calcium ends up in the brain and the dangers of it.Thanks Sherylc

    • stevemark122000 profile image

      stevemark122000 9 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks everyone for the great comments!

      Mulder I've used both bee pollen and goji berries. Excellent nutritional sources. By the way, I did see your request for me to write a hub on bee pollen. It is one of several requests I have received and I'm just trying to find the time to fit everything in.

    • MummyAnn profile image

      MummyAnn 9 years ago from UK

      I have osteoporosis and I believe it's because I was always on the latest fad diet when I was younger. Osteoporosis is hereditary so people should be aware that family members should have a DEXA scan. Great hub.

    • Nicki B profile image

      Nicki B 9 years ago from Orange County, Ca

      Uhoh. I'm definitely not getting all the calcium I need on a daily basis... *running to hide under desk from nutrition police*

      Thanks, Stevemark, for this hub. Another winner.

    • mulder profile image

      mulder 9 years ago from Warnbro Western Australia

      Another  Great hub Steve .If people took superfoods like bee pollen Goji berries etc then people wouldnt have these problems