What is calcium?
The element calcium is the third most abundant alkaline earth metal in the earth’s crust. However, despite this, it cannot be found as an element in nature since it easily binds a chemical reaction with air and water to combine with other elements and form compounds. Calcium facts show that the most abundant calcium sources that occur naturally are chalk, gypsum, and lime. Lime is made up of calcium carbonate, which is basically a compound of calcium and carbon.
The Romans were the first people to use calcium in the first century but it was Sir Humphrey Davy of England who discovered the element in 1808 by extracting the metal using electrolysis of calcium carbonate and hot mercury in order to extract the metal calcium. Since then, calcium has been in use in industries for many applications.
Other calcium facts are: calcium supplements sold commercially are actually compounds of calcium citrate or calcium carbonate. The body merely breaks these compounds down during digestion and separate calcium for the body to absorb. Calcium facts are 99% of our calcium intake goes to the bones and teeth. The remaining 1% mixes in the blood and used by the body, which is integral for other vital processes such as blood coagulation, muscle contraction, and proper functioning of the central nervous system.
The body needs calcium to maintain bone density. Otherwise, long-term calcium deficiency can lead to the crippling disease known as osteoporosis especially in the elderly. Osteoporosis happens when the bones become loses its density and becomes brittle – which is prone to fractures even in minor accidents. In the U.S., more than $13 billion is spent for health insurance services in treating osteoporosis-related incidents such as fractured bones.
Calcium pantothenate, popularly known as vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid, is a compound essential in cell metabolism and synthesis of enzymes like carbohydrates, fatty acids, and even protein in order for the release of energy.
We need calcium all throughout our lives. Infants age 0-6months and 7-12months are required a daily intake of 210mg and 270mg, respectively. Toddlers need 500mg of calcium per day while preschool children aged 4-8 years old need 800mg. Calcium is vital between the ages 9-18, especially during the growth spurt years of puberty in which adolescent tend to be most active. Calcium needs to be maintained at 1000mg each day from 19-50 years of age to prevent osteoporosis later in life. Older people aged 50 and above need 1200mg of calcium while pregnant and lactating women need 1300mg of calcium to support the infants as well as themselves.