Our body needs macronutrients like carbohydrates, fats and proteins, but this is not enough for our bodies. Our body also needs other micronutrients like magnesium, calcium, phosphorus and iodine etc. Just as the name suggests, these nutrients are needed in very small quantities but they play a very crucial role in vital functions like maintenance of tissues and maintaining energy levels in the body. Calcium is also important for our bones and muscles. One should consume a good amount of calcium in a day, to avoid the condition of calcium deficiency, also called hypocalcemia. Read further to know about the symptoms, causes and treatment for calcium deficiency.
Calcium deficiency symptoms
Calcium deficiency in body can be of two types:
- Chronic moderate Hypocalcemia
- Acute severe hypocalcemia
Chronic hypocalcemia can asymptomatic whereas acute severe hypocalcemia can be life threatening. Calcium aids in important functions oo our body like muscle movement, bone strengthening, blood clotting and nerve impulses.It might take upto 7 years of calcium deficiency when the symptoms start to appear because calcium ion levels are maintained by release of calcium from our bones.
Deficiency of calcium can result in tooth decay, brittle teeth, weak bones. It can also affect women more severely, making PMS worse,resulting in irratibility, muscle cramps and pain in thighs. You might also experience numbness in limbs and tingling sensation in body parts. Extreme fatigue is also a symptom of calcium deficiency in the body.
Calcium deficiency causes
Here are the causes of calcium deficiency:
1. Less calcium intake
Calcium in needed by our body on daily basis, if calcium intake is low, the concentration of Ca++ ions is maintained by release of calcium from our bones. This can result in Ca deficiency in long run.
2. Hormonal changes
Calcium levels are maintained in our body by mainly two hormones - PTH (parathyroid hormone and Calcitriol(Vitamin-D). PTH promotes release of ca ions in body and calcitriol in kidney so that maximum reabsorbtion of calcium takes place. Hypothyroidism can also lead to calcium deficiency in the body.
3. Genetic factor
Epidemiological research suggests that calcium levels in the body also depend upon genetic factors. Mutations in the CASR gene cause autosomal dominant hypocalcemia. The proteins released from these genes help in regulating the amount of calcium in the blood.
4. Certain medications
Certain medications that are used to heal other diseases like neuropathic pain and mood stablizers can also affect calcium levels in body. Other medicines which inhibit protons pump in body might also induce hypocalcemia. Certain antibiotics like aminoglycosides also promote depletion of calcium ions in the body.
Also read: 7 Lesser-known signs of calcium deficiency
Calcium deficiency treatment
Calcium deficiency can be treated very easily. You just need to include more calcium in your diet. It is strictly advisable that you must take calcium supplements under the guidance of a doctor, otherwise it can also lead to issues like weak bones and stones in kidney.
1. Add more calcium to diet
If suffering from moderate hypocalcemia you can easily add calcium to your diet by including foods such as muffins and breakfast cereals. You can try including milk products in your diet like paneer, curd etc. Soy tofu and greens are other excellent sources of calcium for vegans and lactose intolerant individuals. Calcium is found in variety of fruits and vegetables. Along with including calcium in out diets we must also focus on right Vitamin D intake because it aids helps in absorption of calcium in body.
2. Calcium supplements
It might be possible that doctor might advice you to shift on calcium supplements, but they should be taken under supervision only. In rare cases, doctor might even suggest intravenous calcium supplements if you are suffering from severe hypocalcemia.
We must follow a proper diet to maintain our vitals in our body. Both micronutrients and macronutrients are required by our body for proper functioning, we must consult a nutritionist and go for regular health check ups to maintain your health.