The importance of calcium for all ages

HEALTH IS WEALTH

DUMAGUETE CITY – Many Filipinos may not realize the importance of calcium to good health. Calcium is an essential nutrient the body needs every day. It is not only for women but also for children, adolescents, adults, and older people. | CALCIUM NEEDS

The majority of calcium in the body makes up for your bones and teeth and keeps their strength. It is also needed to regulate certain body functions. Without calcium, muscles would not contract normally, blood would not clot, and nerves would be unable to carry messages.

Calcium and bone health go hand-in-hand. Increasing scientific evidence indicates that adequate calcium intake reduces the risk of several major chronic diseases, most notably osteoporosis, a potentially crippling disease of thin and fragile bones. Optimal intake of calcium through-out life, from early childhood and adolescence through the post-menopausal and late adult years, reduces the risk of osteoporosis. Researches being conducted in US suggest that calcium also helps prevent colon cancer, high blood pressure, recurring pre-menstrual syndrome, and possibly cardiovascular disease, and kidney stones.

One’s calcium needs extend throughout lifetime. Bones continue to accumulate calcium and become stronger even after we have stopped growing.

Pregnancy increases calcium requirements especially for the growing baby. Lactating women need calcium to meet their own needs and for milk production.

During menopause and post-menopause the body produces much less estrogen, increasing the risk of osteoporosis, which in turn increases calcium needs.

Older adults, both women and men-over the age of 65 years need more calcium to combat calcium deficiencies. A certain amount of bone loss is a normal consequence of aging.

For a Filipino reference male, his calcium requirement is 500 mg while that of a child or a teen is about 600-700 mg. Good sources of calcium are milk and milk products, dilis (dried and fresh), sardines with bones, leafy vegetables, soybeans, and calcium fortified food.

Remember that calcium is very essential to good health. You also need exercise and a balanced and varied diet to help reduce the risk of disease and promote good health.