• The most abundant mineral element in the body is calcium. Nearly 99 per cent of the calcium in the body is present in the skeleton. The remaining part of calcium performs a variety of functions in the body. About 850-950 g of calcium is present in a healthy man.
  1. The most important function of calcium is the ossification of bones. If calcium content in the blood is below normal, bone calcium is depleted and serum level is brought to normal
  2. Calcium is essential for the formation of teeth
  3. Calcium is necessary for the contraction of the heart and muscle
  4. The regulation of muscle irritability is dependent upon the serum calcium level
  5. Calcium is also required for normal nerve impulse transmission and excitability of nerve fibres and nerve centres
  6. Calcium forms a part of acetylcholine which is necessary for the transmission of nerve impulses
  7. Calcium helps in the coagulation of blood and is needed for permeability of capillary walls
  8. Calcium exerts its influence in the absorption of vitamin B12 from the intestine
  9. The mineral has been shown to activate certain enzymes especially lipase and certain proteolytic enzymes, adenosine triphosphate and rennin
  • Calcium deficiency symptoms are usually accompanied by a lack of phosphorus and vitamin D.
  • Any of the factors which affect calcium absorption can lead to its ineffective utilization.
  • Vitamin D deficiency alone can produce calcium deficiency symptoms. Pure calcium deficiency is osteoporosis.
  • In osteoporosis serum calcium level is normal but body store is reduced.
  • During old age the capacity of the body to absorb and utilize calcium is diminished.
  • In women hormonal imbalance during menopause or removal of ovaries at earlier stages results in osteoporosis.
  • Corticosteroid injection for any purpose may result in osteoporosis.
  • In osteoporosis pores are seen in the bones due to decalcification. Back pain, loss of weight, fracture of bones for no reason and loss of teeth are some of the clinical symptoms.
  • Calcium and vitamin D deficiency results in rickets and osteomalacia among children and adults respectively.
Calcium defeciency
  • Tetany is another symptom of calcium deficiency. In tetany there is hyper-excitability of the nervous system.
  • A series of spasmodic movements take place in the muscles. Depending upon the level of serum calcium symptoms of tetany vary.
  • Irritation, confusion, pain, involuntary muscle spasm, bronchial spasm, spasm in the gastrointestinal tract, pain and convulsions are again symptoms of tetany.
  • If parathyroid gland is in hypoactivety, calcium is not properly assimilated and results in chronic tetany.
  • In this condition nervous changes occur and impairment of memory takes place. Depression, irritation, loss of hair and nails, roughness of the skin, pitting of teeth and epileptic fits are other symptoms of this condition occur. Cataract is common in such patients.
Roughness of the skin
  • Adult man and women - 600mg/ day
  • Pregnancy and lactation - 1200mg/day
  • Infants - 500mg/day
  • Children (1-9yrs) - 600mg/day
  • Children (9-18yrs) - 800mg/day
Last modified: Saturday, 2 June 2012, 6:27 AM