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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Calcium

Calcium is the most plentiful mineral found in the human body. The teeth and bones contain the most calcium (about 99%). Nerve cells, body tissues, blood, and other body fluids contain the remaining calcium.

Calcium is one of the most important minerals for the growth, maintenance, and reproduction of the human body. Calcium helps form and maintain healthy teeth and bones. Proper levels of calcium over a lifetime can help prevent osteoporosis .

Calcium helps with blood clotting, nerve signaling, muscle contraction and relaxation, and the release of certain hormones. It is also needed for a normal heartbeat.

Calcium requires adequate vitamin D in order to be absorbed by the body. In the United States, many food sources of calcium such as milk are fortified with vitamin D.

Getting enough calcium to keep bones from thinning throughout a person's life may be made more difficult if that person has lactose intolerance or another reason, such as a tendency toward kidney stones, for avoiding calcium-rich food sources. Calcium deficiency also effects the heart and circulatory system, as well as the secretion of essential hormones. There are many ways to supplement calcium, including a growing number of fortified foods.

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