Calcium is the major building block of the body, and it is present in bones, teeth, nerve cells, body tissue and blood. Progressing age and a malnourished diet can lead to calcium deficiency in the body that can cause diseases such as osteoporosis, osteopenia, hypocalcemia, etc.
A healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and diet rich calcium can help in preventing and treating these diseases. Dietary supplements also help in treating these conditions actually.
5 Bone Diseases Related to Calcium Deficiency
Calcium is a crucial mineral for the maintenance of various body functions such as stabilization of blood pressure and bone development, and its deficiency can lead to various serious diseases.
Osteopenia or low bone mass is caused by depletion in bone mineral density and physicians often consider it as the first step towards osteoporosis. It is more frequently diagnosed in women who are in their post-menopausal phase due to lack of estrogen.
There are several reasons for osteopenia such as calcium deficiency, lack of exercise, unhealthy lifestyle with overdependence on alcohol and smoking or certain medications.
Osteopenia can be prevented by following a healthy and active lifestyle and the optimum intake of calcium either through foods or in the form of supplements. Combining calcium with vitamin D will work even better.
Osteoporosis is a progressive bone disease that is caused by decline of bone mass and density which in turn surges the risk of bone fractures. The term osteoporosis itself means “porous bones” and is common in post-menopausal women, but it can affect both men and women above the age of 75.
Low body weight, increasing age, menopause, lower levels of sex hormones and excessive smoking increases the risk of osteoporosis. For those suffering from osteoporosis, the bones become so weak and brittle that it can get fractured even due to bending or coughing.
It can be prevented and treated through exercise, medication, intake of foods rich in calcium and vitamin D and a diet rich in essential nutrients that prevent osteoporosis.
Hypocalcaemia or calcium deficiency diseases are caused by low serum calcium levels in the blood. The natural process of aging and menopause are two major reasons for calcium deficiency that lead to hypocalcemia, but it can also be caused due to hypoparathyroidism, deficiency of calcium and vitamin D and chronic kidney disease.
The symptoms of hypocalcemia include depression and mood swing, muscle spasms, and numbness and tingling sensation in hands, feet and face.
This disease can be treated easily by increasing the calcium intake from natural sources of calcium and doctors might also prescribe calcium supplements if the patient doesn’t get enough calcium from food.
Osteomalacia is a bone condition associated with softening of the bones due to the problem in bone formation and bone mineralization. The primary cause of osteomalacia is the deficiency of vitamin D that plays a crucial role in the absorption of calcium in the intestines.
It can also be caused due to hyperparathyroidism. Osteomalacia is a milder adult form of rickets, and its main symptoms include frequent bone fracture, muscle weakness, dull pain in lower back, hips, pelvis, and legs.
In the case of early diagnosis, it can be treated easily by administering nutritional supplements rich in calcium and vitamin D along with consumption of foods rich in calcium.
Rickets and Growth Retardation
Rickets is a disease caused in children and is associated with softening and weakening of bones due to the problem in bone mineralization. It is mainly caused due to extreme deficiency of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D or problem in the metabolism of these minerals and vitamin that leads to deformity of bones and fractures.
It is a childhood disease that is mostly seen in developing countries where there is a prevalence of severe malnutrition caused by famine or starvation. The symptoms of rickets include skeletal deformities such as bowed legs, the projection of breastbone, thickened wrists and ankles along with growth retardation, muscle weakness.
Rickets can be prevented if the child gets adequate sun exposure and consumes a diet that contains a rich source of calcium and vitamin D such as eggs, fatty fish, fish oil, milk, fortified cereals, etc.
8 Best Foods Sources of Calcium
A well-planned diet rich in calcium and vitamin D can go a long way in improving bone heath and prevent bone disorders such as osteoporosis and hypocalcemia.
Legumes such as kidney beans, black beans, black-eyed peas, etc. are excellent calcium diet that are loaded with iron as well. These light and protein-rich beans make a great option for breakfast and can be consumed as sprouts or salads and taste delicious mixed with vegetables, pasta, rice and other dishes.
Oily fishes are loaded with omega 3 fatty acids. Fish such as salmon must be included in the daily calcium diet not only because it is loaded with omega 3 fatty acids, because it is also one of the best calcium sources along with vitamin D, biotin, B-complex vitamins, selenium and phosphorus.
Milk is undoubtedly the ultimate natural source of calcium, and one cup of skim milk contains 306 mg of calcium. It is also a great source of choline, vitamin D and potassium all of which is essential for improving bone health and preserving bone mineral density. So, fight calcium deficiency symptoms effectively and keep osteoporosis at bay with a glass of milk every day.
The health benefits of soybean are numerous. Soy products and beverages such as soy milk extracted from soybean is a rich source of calcium, and a cup of fortified soy milk contains almost 368 mg of calcium.
It is an amazing option for those allergic to dairy products and milk. It is also a source of plant-based high-quality protein and amino acids that is important for boosting energy and immune functions.
Although most of us stay away from this delicious dairy product because of its high-fat content, but a little bit of it does no harm. Cheese is one of the natural sources of calcium and varieties such as Romano cheese, Swiss cheese and ricotta are some of the best options. So, spice up your pasta and sandwiches with some cheese and enjoy its health benefits.
Yogurt is known as a rich source of probiotics that supports the digestive system. Unflavored low-fat or nonfat yogurt is also an incredible source of calcium and vitamin D, and an eight ounce cup contains 452 mg of calcium. It is an effective post workout food that speeds up recovery after exercise.
Blackstrap molasses is extracted from sugar cane and is extremely beneficial for health and bone deficiency. It is loaded with iron, calcium and magnesium along with other minerals that helps in bone development and prevents the risk of osteoporosis and other bone diseases. One tablespoon of blackstrap molasses contains 172 mg of calcium and 3.5 mg of iron.
The health benefits of almonds need no new emphasis. Being a rich source of calcium, iron, phosphorous, magnesium and vitamin E, it is perhaps the healthiest of all nuts. Daily consumption of almonds improves durability and strength of bones and teeth and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
Plan out your diet to include these calcium-rich foods and improve bone strength and density to prevent age-related bone diseases like osteoporosis, calcium deficiency diseases and bone deficiency.