Calcium, known as Ca on the periodic table, is the fifth most abundant element by mass in the earth's crust.
It's everywhere on the planet, which is fortunate for us, because this common mineral provides a number of health benefits to the human body.
Calcium's most well known health benefit is the important part it plays in developing strong bones. Almost all the body's calcium can be found in the bones and the teeth, and there are countless studies which show that proper calcium intake helps young people develop strong bones while keeping the bones of older people strong and healthy. Calcium also helps to prevent and treat a variety of bone related illnesses, such as osteoporosis.
To get the most out of calcium, however, a sufficient amount of vitamin
D must also be available. Vitamin D is essential to the process by which the body utilizes calcium, and it also provides a
whole host of other benefits that are complementary to the health benefits derived from calcium.
It was originally thought that calcium contributed to kidney
stone development because kidney stones are made up primarily of calcium, but it turns out that the opposite is actually
12% of the American population will develop kidney stones at some point in their lives, but most of that 12% will be people with low calcium intake, because high calcium intake has been widely associated with a greatly reduced risk of kidney stones.
Calcium can also be used to help treat high blood pressure. A variety of studies over the last 20 or more years have all
demonstrated an association between lowered blood pressure and high calcium intake.
How to get your daily dose of calcium naturally? Besides supplements, the most common and well known source of calcium is dairy products, and can also be found in vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and a variety of beans.
More information about calcium around the Web:
MedlinePlus: Calcium - Up to the minute news, overviews, tests and clinical trials, with the latest nutrition information from various resources around the Web including facts targeted to women, children and teens.
Calcium, Linus Pauling Institute's Micronutrient Information Center - The role calcium plays in disease prevention with a discussion on colorectal cancer, osteoporosis, kidney stones and more, together with information on calcium deficiency, food sources, recommended intake, drug and nutrient interactions including that of Vitamin D, protein, phosphorus, sodium and caffeine.