Calcium and Vitamin D are two of the most prominent dietary supplements, being as they are crucial to a great many bodily processes that are essential to healthy living.
Milk is probably our most recognizable dietary source of both calcium and Vitamin D, but they are both present in various quantities in a number of the foods we eat on a daily basis.
Presence of calcium in human body
The vast majority of calcium in the human body, around ninety-nine percent in fact, is contained in the bones and teeth.
The remaining one percent is found in the bloodstream, nerves, organs, and some other soft tissue.
However, the 1% of calcium not located in the bones or teeth is huge in terms of its effect on our overall health and well-being.
Calcium combines with another element, phosphorus, to form strong bones and teeth.
It is essential that developing children have sufficient calcium in their diet so that their bones can grow uninhibited.
Calcium deprivation in children can lead to weak bones and teeth, which can both cause serious problems later in life.
Consequences of Calcium
Calcium deficiency can also lead to muscle spasms, as calcium plays a major role in the effective contraction of muscle fibers. It also helps to facilitate the transmission of electrochemical messages via the nervous system, to and from the brain.
Additionally, the tiny amount of calcium in our blood assists in blood clotting, which is the body’s primary defense against cuts and open wounds.
It is necessary for the regulation of blood pressure, and low calcium intake shows a correlation with high blood pressure and all of the unpleasant problems associated with that, including stroke and heart attacks.
How its intake helps us?
It is thought that a healthy calcium intake can assist in the prevention of some cancers, primarily cancer of the colon, which is often caused by acidic bile causing damage to the intestine, and by excess growth of cells within the intestine.
Calcium binds to the acidic bile molecules, thus preventing them from causing further harm. It also inhibits the growth of intestinal cells, making them less likely to develop cancerous cells.
Combination of Vitamin D is also important
Vitamin D is often associated with calcium because its presence is essential for calcium to be absorbed by the body at all. This is why some milk, primarily milk marketed for children, is fortified with both calcium and Vitamin D, to ensure the maximum absorption of both.
In fact, Vitamin D is needed by calcium to perform a great many of its functions in the body, including the development of strong bones and teeth, and the inhibition of cell growth in the colon that may otherwise lead to the development of cancer.
Vitamin D and calcium have a truly synergistic relationship, and therefore any good calcium supplement should include Vitamin D as well as a facilitator to ensure maximum effectiveness.
Vitamin D in detail
Vitamin D is sometimes referred to as the sunshine vitamin, because the body naturally creates it when ultraviolet rays from the sun come into contact with the skin.
For this reason, dark skinned people are at increased risk of suffering both Vitamin D and calcium deficiency, as it takes much longer for this process to occur than with light skinned people.
Those who live and work in smokey, polluted environments will also be producing substantially less Vitamin D than their body needs, as well as those people who rarely see daylight (an increasing number due to the nature of modern life.
The ultraviolet rays needed for the synthesis of Vitamin D in the skin cannot penetrate windows.
Using sunblock above the level of around SPF 5 or so can also inhibit this process of natural Vitamin D synthesis.
Sources and its benefits
Some kinds of fish are a good source of Vitamin D, including shellfish, tuna, shrimp and salmon, as well as fish oil supplements.
Your bones continue to develop past childhood. In fact, during your twenties they will be becoming denser and stronger, which is very important in staving off the effects of brittle bones and bone diseases such as osteoporosis later in life.
After the age of around forty, the amount of calcium in your bones starts to reduce, which is why your body ‘stocks up’ on calcium earlier on.
That is, of course, if you are getting enough calcium and Vitamin D.
Because if you are not, your bones will not be able to develop, and this will lead to problems later in life, particularly for women, who are prone to brittle bones post menopause.
Problems of calcium deficiency
Reduced bone density and structure causes a condition known as osteoporosis, which is relatively common. One of the main causes of osteoporosis is insufficient calcium intake earlier in life.
The disease can be very painful and degenerative, leading to broken bones, poor posture and inhibited organ function. around eighty percent of all osteoporosis sufferers are women, which is why women especially must ensure that they get enough calcium all throughout their lives.
And as we know, this means getting plenty of Vitamin D as well, as one cannot work properly without the other.
Words of encouragement
Combined calcium and vitamin D supplements can help to maintain a healthy blood pressure and digestive function, and both are needed to ensure that a great many bodily processes operate smoothly, but the primary reason for taking a calcium supplement is to ensure strong bones and teeth, and help reduce the risk of diseases such as osteoporosis in later life.
Calcium and vitamin D supplements are therefore recommended to everyone, but particularly to young women, children, people with darker skin, and those who don’t see much sunlight for whatever reason.