Calcium is an essential nutrient. The body can’t function properly without it. Though the body does contain high amounts of calcium, it needs to obtain it from outside sources. According to a recent study, “90% of women, 70% of men and 60% of teens don’t consume the recommended daily allowance of calcium” (McDowell, 2008). It is essential to intake the appropriate amounts of this mineral due to all of the benefits it provides. Calcium’s role in bone formation is one of its most common benefits. This takes place during a process called, bone mineralization. This involves a tedious process where calcium and phosphate are produced by bone-forming cells and laid within the bones scaffolding. The calcium and phosphate work together to give bones their strength, structure, and density. Studies have shown that children with low calcium levels who upped their intake showed significant increase in their bone mineral content, indicating strengthening of the bone (Chasse, 2011). Approximately 99% of the calcium in the body is stored within the bones and teeth (McDowell).
Other roles of this mineral include aiding in muscle contraction, blood vessel expansion and contraction, as well as secretion of hormones and enzymes. Calcium helps aide nerve conduction by regulating enzyme activity and the formation of cell membranes. Diets rich with calcium can result in decrease in blood pressure and risk of hypertension. Chasse stated, According to the Journal of Pediatrics, the American Heart Associations DASH Diet contains high fiber and calcium. Patients who follow this diet plan show decreased blood pressure, showing that there is a correlation between the calcium rich diet and the low blood pressure. A diet plan similar to this can also help with weight management. “Increased calcium intake results in reduced body weight, mainly by reducing fat mass” (Chasse). High calcium intake is not a significant source of weight loss, but is still a big contributing factor.