Calcium is one of the essential electrolytes for the human body that plays a critical role in muscular, nervous, and cardiovascular system health.
Calcium is the 5th most abundant element in the human body. While a massive amount of the calcium (99%) in our body is stored in our bones and teeth, the remaining 1% is found in soft tissues and blood, essential for cardiac function, muscle contraction, and neuronal function. In addition, the mineral also plays a significant role in milk production after childbirth.
Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Calcium
We lose calcium daily through our hair, sweat, urine, and feces. As the body cannot make calcium, you’ll have to get the mineral through the foods you eat or from supplements. Ensuring you get enough is crucial for optimal health (e.g., solid bones and teeth). How much calcium you need a day depends on your age and biological sex.
For reference, here’s how much calcium you need based on your age:
- 14–18 years: 1,300 mg
- 19–50 years: 1,000 mg
- 51-70 years: 1,000 mg for men and 1,200 mg for women
- 71 years and older: 1,200 mg
- Pregnant and lactating women need 1,000-1,300 mg, depending on age.
It’s possible to get sufficient amounts of calcium through your diet (i.e., the foods you eat daily). That said, you should still pay attention to your calcium intake – to be sure that you are indeed meeting your daily requirements. Also, note that your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium, and that’s why you should also be mindful of your vitamin D intake, in addition to that of calcium.
The amount of calcium in the body depends on many factors, including:
- The rate of calcium intake from food
- Amount of calcium and vitamin D absorbed through the intestines
- Numerous hormone levels such as parathyroid, estrogen hormones
Calcium deficiency (i.e., hypocalcemia) occurs when the blood has low calcium levels. Hypocalcemia can result in osteoporosis in the long term, a condition that causes the bones to become brittle – and is also associated with various gum and periodontal diseases, including tooth decay. It’s important to note that early-stage calcium deficiency may not cause any symptoms. Luckily, though, tests can still detect hypocalcemia. For instance: urine calcium levels reflect dietary calcium intake.
Vivoo measures your calcium levels, then offers personalized lifestyle and nutritional advice based on your results:
Score: 3/10 and 7/10 , Label: Low, Value: 0.01 – 0.08 mg/mg Ca/Cr
As the term implies, a low urine calcium level indicates that the calcium level in your urine is lower than average. There are no early-stage symptoms because your body will first try to regulate its calcium levels by leaching the mineral from bones.
There are many causes of low urine calcium levels. For example:
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Malabsorption of nutrients
- Poor calcium intake
- Renal failure
- Excessive laxative use
Symptoms of calcium deficiency include:
- Muscle aches, cramps, and spasms
- Pain in the arms and legs is joint, especially when walking and moving
- Osteopenia: Reduces the mineral density of bones, which can lead to osteoporosis
- Osteoporosis: Increases the risk of fractures in the bones. It can result in pain and postural issues.
- Sensitive teeth and tooth decay
- Painful premenstrual syndrome
Score: 10/10, Label: Optimal, Value: 0.1 – 0.2 mg/mg Ca/Cr
Optimal urine calcium level indicates that the calcium levels in your urine are normal. Typically, you’d need to be intentional about increasing your calcium intake (e.g., via brilliant food and drink choices) to achieve this optimal level. Meeting your daily calcium requirements is essential because it helps:
Score: 4/10 and 6/10 , Label: High, Value: 0.3 – 3.96 mg/mg Ca/Cr
High urine calcium level occurs when the calcium levels in your urine are higher than expected. There may be different reasons for this. Some of them include:
- Excessive vitamin D intake
- Kidney failure/disease
- High calcium intake, usually seen in individuals taking supplements
High urine calcium levels may not cause any immediate signs or symptoms, but they can hurt the heart, digestive system, and bone health in the long term. You can boost your calcium levels quickly through medications or supplements. Regardless of the method, you choose to raise your calcium levels, ensure you’re meeting your daily recommended intake – so you achieve optimal health and wellness.
Your body cannot produce calcium, which means you’ll have to obtain it from external sources, including foods or supplements.
Calcium is found in a variety of foods. Some of these foods include:
- Dairy products (yogurt, cheese, and milk)
- Fish possessing soft and edible bones (canned salmon, sardines)
- Dark leafy greens (spinach, collard greens, kale)
- Calcium-fortified beverages, foods, and cereals (fruit juices, bran, raisins)
- Fortified soymilk
- Enriched waffles, bread, and grains
- Seeds (chia seeds, sesame, poppy)
It’s essential to monitor your calcium levels; either high or low calcium levels could adversely impact your health. Thankfully, Vivoo offers you a straightforward and fuss-free way of keeping an eye on your calcium levels – anytime, anywhere (even when you’re at home!)