Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and is found mainly in the skeleton. Find out why calcium is important for your health, which diseases are caused by a deficiency and which foods are rich in calcium.
What are the main dietary sources of calcium?
The main dietary sources of calcium are dairy products, pulses, nuts, cereal products, some leafy vegetables (cabbage, chard, spinach, etc.), seafood, and some types of water with a very high calcium content.
The list of foods with a high calcium content can be found in the Ciqual table of nutritional composition of foods.
Why is calcium important to health?
Calcium plays a key role in the mineralisation and structure of the skeleton. It is required for many biological functions such as muscle contraction, blood clotting, hormone release and enzyme activation.
What are the health risks in the event of a deficiency?
Reduced bone mass due to inadequate intake or malabsorption of calcium leads to skeletal damage such as osteoporosis, which increases the risk of fractures.
Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption.
What are the health risks in the event of excessive intake?
In the long term, in susceptible individuals, excessive calcium intake can cause hypercalciuria, i.e. a high calcium content in the urine, which can lead to the formation of kidney stones and the calcification of certain kidney tissues (nephrocalcinosis). This risk can be aggravated by excessive vitamin D intake.
Are some population groups more susceptible to calcium deficiency than others?
While it is necessary to ensure that calcium requirements are met continuously at all ages, it is particularly essential during childhood and adolescence, when bone mass is being established, and in old age when bones become fragile.
Do bones renew themselves?
Bone is a living tissue that forms and degrades throughout our lives. This means that old bone can be replaced by young bone and the various types of damage sustained by the bone can be repaired.