Calcium is a vital nutrient for proper bodily function. But why? What does this soft, gray mineral have to do with human function? Well, for one, it strengthens bones and teeth. The bones and teeth are actually where calcium is stored in the body! But aside from that, calcium has many important jobs. Calcium also ensures proper muscle function– it is one of the reasons that muscles are able to move and react so quickly. It helps bloods cells to travel by aiding the blood vessels in their efforts to distribute certain hormones throughout the body. Also, it speeds up the reaction of nerves to outside stimuli. As you can see, calcium is a vital nutrient to helping our bodies work.
Because calcium is so important in multiple bodily functions, calcium deficiency is a serious issue. At first, it is hard to detect because the body draws on the calcium that it has stored in the bones. Left unattended, it can lead to dizziness, loss of feeling in extremities, headaches, and arrhythmia, among other things. One of the most serious consequences of long-term calcium deficiency is a disorder called osteopenia or osteoporosis. Osteopenia is when your bone mass is abnormally low. This can be extremely dangerous, leading to easily broken bones. It is especially dangerous in children; because they are not yet fully developed, having low bone mass has the potential to impede their growth, which could have an impact on them for their whole life.
One Common Cause Of Calcium Deficiency
Though low intake can contribute to calcium deficiency, often, there is another culprit behind it: an autoimmune disorder called celiac disease. Celiac disease is provoked by the presence of gluten in the digestive system; the immune system wrongly recognizes it as a threat and sends antibodies to go and attack. The antibodies then proceed to attack and damage the intestinal walls and villi, making it effectively impossible for the celiac patient to absorb nutrients as effectively as if they had intact villi. Celiac disease and calcium deficiency have been linked in many cases. Celiac disease is considered a known cause of osteopenia; in fact, when a patient shows up showing signs of osteopenia, they are often tested for celiac disease. The inability to absorb nutrients means that calcium deficiency in celiac patients is usually difficult to treat; one option is to begin taking celiac calcium supplements. Because these gluten-free supplements are specially made for celiac patients, they are typically made with the most easily absorbable form of the mineral. Be careful, though! Always check with your doctor before beginning any calcium supplements for celiac patients. Calcium supplements don’t mix well with certain unrelated medications, and it is important to make sure that you are getting the right amount of calcium.