Calcium is essential for many bodily functions. Making sure you’re getting enough calcium in your diet will help assure that you’re supporting not only your bones and teeth, but also your circulatory and nervous systems.
How do you know if you’re getting enough calcium? Some signs of calcium deficiency include muscle aches, cramps, or spasms. Numbness or tingling in the hands, arms, feet, and legs have also been documented as signs that you might not be getting enough calcium to support your bodily needs. While health experts have not yet established exactly how common calcium deficiency is, there are groups that may be at a higher risk. These groups include postmenopausal women, people who follow a strict vegetarian or vegan diet, and people who are lactose intolerant. According to data published in March 2022 in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, approximately half of the world’s population has inadequate access to dietary calcium which puts them at risk for calcium deficiency.
Calcium: Your Circulatory Supplement for a Healthy Heart
When thinking about nutrients that support circulation, calcium is not the first nutrient that comes to mind; however, the heart needs calcium to contract and pump blood to all body parts through the circulatory system. Calcium supports the circulatory system by helping trigger blood vessels to tighten and relax when they need to.
Calcium’s Role in Supporting the Elasticity of Blood Vessels
Blood vessels are a large part of the circulatory system and distribute oxygen rich blood, nutrients, and hormones throughout the body. They’re made of smooth muscle cells responsible for vascular tone and resistance which play a critical role in maintaining an optimal environment for the circulatory system to function. These smooth muscle cells need calcium for active contraction and relaxation, and to control the tension needed for proper elasticity of blood vessels. Think of a rubber band that is pliable, meaning it’s able to constrict and extend easily. In addition, proper elasticity supports healthy blood pressure. Proper elasticity allows blood to easily travel through your arteries and veins, helping keep your blood warm and delivering oxygen to your muscles and organs. Even though calcium is not often thought of as a circulatory supplement, your body needs calcium for proper elasticity of blood cells.
Proper elasticity of blood vessels = healthy circulatory system.
The Role of Calcium in The Nervous System
Now that we understand the importance of calcium to the circulatory system, we can cover the role of calcium in the nervous system. Nerve cells are units within the brain and nervous system that are responsible for receiving sensory input from the external world, for sending motor commands to our muscles, and for transforming and relaying signals every step in between. To say this another way, the role of calcium in the nervous system is to be the ultimate multi-tasker. Calcium ions are critical to many functions of the nervous system.
Calcium = Communication Throughout Your Body
Calcium is a crucial element in how these nerve cells communicate. An electrical signal travels down the axon and allows calcium ions to rush into the cell. The high calcium concentrations let the nerve cell know that it’s time to release the chemical messages they use to communicate with each other. The chemical messages it receives are transformed back to an electrical signal in the next nerve cell, and the process repeats. Calcium also has a role in cell repair should a nerve cell become damaged.
The Importance of Calcium
Overall, the importance of calcium extends beyond bone health. Calcium can act as a circulatory supplement, helping to support the elasticity of blood vessels, and calcium can act as a supplement for the nervous system, helping support nerve communication throughout your body.
What Happens When Calcium Levels are Too Low? | Medical News Today
Calcium | National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Calcium Deficiency Worldwide: Prevalence of Inadequate Intakes and Associated Health Outcomes | ResearchGate
The Role of Calcium in the Human Heart: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility | Frontiers
Neurons Run on Calcium | BrainFacts.org
Last Updated On: January 12, 2022
First Published On: November 11, 2022