Importance of Calcium
Calcium is important for overall health. Almost every cell in our body uses calcium in some way. Some areas where our bodies use calcium are in our nervous system, muscles, heart and bone. Our bones store calcium in addition to providing support for our bodies. As we age, we absorb less and less calcium from our diet, causing our bodies to take more and more calcium from our bones. Over time this aging process can cause or contribute to osteopenia or osteoporosis.
Our bodies like to keep the amount of calcium in our blood within a certain narrow range. This range allows the cells in our body to stay healthy and perform jobs necessary for life. When blood calcium levels are low the amount of calcium in our blood goes below normal, our parathyroid glands release a hormone called parathyroid hormone (PTH). Although this sounds similar to thyroid hormone, PTH is different. PTH tells our bones to release more calcium into the blood stream. PTH also helps activate vitamin D which in turn increases intestinal calcium absorption.
We obtain vitamin D from the foods we eat and from our skin in response to sunlight. Because vitamin D promotes absorption of calcium from the intestine, vitamin D helps to build and maintain strong bones. When we have very low vitamin D levels, we can develop an adult form of rickets, called osteomalacia.
Calcium and Growth
Bones grow rapidly during adolescence, and teens need enough calcium to build strong bones and fight bone loss later in life. But many don’t get the recommended daily amount of calcium. In addition, people who smoke or drink soda, caffeinated beverages, or alcohol may get even less calcium because those substances interfere with the way the body absorbs and uses calcium.
Women and Calcium
Bone calcium begins to decrease in young adulthood and people gradually lose bone density as they age particularly women. Teens, especially girls, whose diets don’t provide the nutrients to build bones to their maximum potential are at greater risk of developing the bone disease osteoporosis, which increases the risk of fractures from weakened bones.
Function of Calcium
Calcium also plays an important role in muscle contraction, transmitting messages through the nerves, and the release of hormones. If people aren’t getting enough calcium in their diet, the body takes calcium from the bones to ensure normal cell function, which can lead to weakened bones.
If you got enough calcium and physical activity when you were a kid and continue to do so as a teen, you’ll enter your adult years with the strongest bones possible.
Lactose intolerance is a condition where the body cannot easily digest lactose, a type of natural sugar found in milk and dairy products. It occurs when the small intestine does not make enough of an enzyme called lactase, to break down, or digest, lactose. This is not the same thing as a food allergy to milk.
When lactose moves through the large intestine (colon) without being properly digested, it can cause uncomfortable symptoms such as gas, belly pain, and bloating. Some people who have lactose intolerance cannot digest any milk products. Others can eat or drink small amounts of milk products or certain types of milk products without problems.
Sometimes the small intestine stops making lactase after a short-term illness such as the stomach flu or as part of a lifelong disease such as cystic fibrosis. Or the small intestine sometimes stops making lactase after surgery to remove a part of the small intestine. In these cases, the problem can be either permanent or temporary.
Lactose intolerance is common in adults. It occurs more often in Native Americans and people of Asian, African, and South American descent than among people of European descent.
In rare cases, newborns are lactose-intolerant. A person born with lactose intolerance cannot eat or drink anything with lactose.
Symptoms of lactose intolerance can be mild to severe, depending on how much lactase your body makes. Symptoms usually begin 30 minutes to 2 hours after you eat or drink milk products. If you have lactose intolerance, your symptoms may include:
- Throwing up
- Pain or cramps
- Loose stools or diarrhea
- Gurgling or rumbling sounds in your belly
Sometimes people who have never had problems with milk or dairy products suddenly have lactose intolerance. This is more common as you get older.
Natural Seaweed Calcium
There is no permanent cure for lactose intolerance, but by taking seaweed calcium, you can rest assured that none of those mentioned will affect you, instead you absorb everything from minerals, vitamins to amino acids that only benefits your body.
It can be a challenge to get enough calcium in a vegetarian diet that does not include dairy, but you can enjoy good sources of calcium from DAWSON’s natural CAL from seaweed.