Calcium: Builds teeth and bones. Helps maintain proper nerve and muscle function.
Calcium is important for optimal bone health throughout your life. Insufficient calcium leads to low bone density and osteoporosis. Calcium absorption and bone development is at its peak up to age 20, and then decreases at round age 30 when a draining process begins. An adequate intake of calcium, plus and appropriate intake of Vitamin D, can significantly increase bone mass in both growing children and young adults, and it can decrease bone loss during aging.
Heaney, R. P. “Calcium, Dairy Products, and Osteoporosis.” J Am Coll Nutr 2000. 19 (90002): 83S-99S.
Calcium helps blood vessels contract and expand; it also aids the transmission of signals in nerves and cells. These tasks are so important that if blood levels of calcium are low, your body will rob calcium from your bones to make sure they happen. When calcium intake is low, artery walls can tighten.
Calcium also helps your body maintain a healthier sodium balance; low levels of calcium restrict efforts to offload this blood pressure-boosting mineral.
Heaney, R. P. “There Should be a Dietary Guideline for Calcium.” Am J Clin Nutr 2000. 71(3): 658-660.
Emerging research supports an adequate calcium intake as a means to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and hypertension. Though 99 percent of the calcium in the body is in the bones and teeth, the remaining one percent plays a crucial role in other bodily functions, such as nerve transmission and muscular function. The heart is a muscle and both the heart and blood vessels are innervated by the nervous system. A deficiency in calcium can cause heart problems, as well as high blood pressure.
However, too much calcium (upwards of 2,000 mg or more) has been linked with an increased risk of heart disease.
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