Calcium, is it essential for the human body?

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Calcium is a mineral essential for a number of vital functions of the human body. Our bodies need calcium as well as vitamin D and K to develop healthy bones and teeth. Calcium is also used in many other body systems such as intracellular signalling and the control of muscle contraction.

Where do we get our calcium from?

We can obtain our calcium from food sources such as milk, cheese and other dairy products and this is how calcium is most readily absorbed. Calcium is also found in some bread, some green leafy vegetables such as cabbage, fortified soya products and fish eaten with their bones such as sardines or whitebait.

Calcium can also be obtained from dietary supplements which may be especially important for those at risk of osteoporosis.

Can there be adverse effects?

It is unlikely that you would see any adverse effects from obtaining calcium from a varied diet however, high dose supplements can sometimes cause problems such as stomach pain and diarrhoea.

Where is calcium found in the human body?

It is the skeleton that contains approximately 99% of the body’s calcium with about 1kg of calcium present in adult bones. The body’s need for calcium changes with the rate of bone development. Calcium absorption is well controlled to match the needs of the body and so calcium balance can be maintained at a variety of different levels of calcium intake.

The British Nutrition Foundation is a charity who provide extensive information to the public relating to nutrition and develop the training and education for those involved in training or education of others. The above information relating to calcium and the human body has been sourced from their website:

Who can provide you with more information about your own dietary and nutritional requirements?

The human body is a complex machine and expert dietary advice can play an important part in keeping your body healthy and functioning well. You may find that the services of a specialist dietitian or nutritionist could provide you with answers to any ongoing health and wellness issues.