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How Do I Recognize Calcium Deficiency Symptoms?

By Lumara Lee
Updated May 17, 2024
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One of the first ways to tell whether or not someone has calcium deficiency is to examine the skin and nails. Dry skin and brittle nails are typical calcium deficiency symptoms. Muscle cramps and facial twitches are other common indicators that a person isn’t getting sufficient calcium.Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body because the body requires it in larger quantities than any other mineral. It is responsible for regulating many physiological functions.

The skeleton is composed mainly of calcium, and a deficiency can lead to osteoporosis. This condition causes bones to become brittle, and this can lead to fractures. Frequent bone fractures can also be a sign of calcium deficiency.

Calcium plays a major role in the formation and maintenance of teeth. A calcium deficiency may cause teeth to turn yellow. Calcium also supports the ability of muscles to contract. Frequent charley horses or cramps in the calves of the legs are a common sign that someone needs to increase his or her calcium intake. Healthy blood depends on an adequate supply of calcium, and a deficiency can prevent blood from clotting.

Different age groups and genders exhibit different calcium deficiency symptoms. Children and babies need a higher concentration of calcium to help their bones and teeth form. These symptoms in the young include bone malformation, weak bones, diarrhea, and indigestion. Osteomalacia, which is better known as rickets, causes children’s bones to soften. This condition can cause fractures.

Calcium’s role in regulating hormones can cause symptoms specific to females. Menstrual cramps, irregular periods, and anemia can be signs of insufficient calcium. A deficiency can also cause puberty to be delayed in young girls.

It is vital for pregnant women to receive an adequate amount of calcium. A woman who cannot produce enough milk to breastfeed her infant may not have received enough calcium during her pregnancy. Insufficient calcium may cause her to have a more difficult labor and prolonged recovery. Her baby will also be born with calcium deficiency if the pregnant woman doesn’t get enough calcium in her diet.

There are other calcium deficiency symptoms to look for if a person is concerned that he or she isn’t receiving enough calcium. Feelings of weakness, aching muscles, and sleep disorders can all be signs of a calcium deficiency. Other clues that may point to a calcium deficiency include coarse hair, jaw pain, tension headaches, and depression.

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Discussion Comments

By llee — On Jan 01, 2012

There are other foods besides dairy products that are good sources of calcium. Some are: sesame seeds, collard greens, spinach, okra, soybeans, almonds, kelp, blackstrap molasses, Brazil nuts, and celery. Even oranges contain calcium, so there are a lot of delicious alternatives to milk.

By Emilski — On Aug 22, 2011

@jmc88 - If you don't like milk products, you still have a lot of options. When my mother started to get older, I noticed her having a couple of the symptoms of calcium deficiency. We both made an effort to start eating better. Some of the calcium enriched cereals mentioned before can give you all of the calcium you need in a day right from one serving. You can also try sneaking milk into your diet through various recipes.

When we were going through this process, I read quite a few articles on calcium, and you can indeed get too much. I think the upper boundary is about 2000 mg per day. Getting more than that on a regular basis can start to lead to calcification of parts of the circulatory and respiratory systems. Ask your doctor, and I'm sure he can give you much more detailed answers.

By jmc88 — On Aug 21, 2011

I am wondering about calcium absorption and whether the source of calcium has any effect on how well it works in the body. I've decided that I probably need to start trying harder to get the vitamins and minerals I need every day. The problem is that I don't particularly like milk or a lot of milk products, so it can be hard for me to meet the requirements.

Does anyone have a good calcium rich foods list with things that don't include milk? I don't really want to take vitamins if I don't have to, but if I can't get the calcium naturally, does anyone know what the best calcium supplements are?

Along similar lines, what happens if you get too much calcium in your diet? Are there any adverse effects?

By Izzy78 — On Aug 21, 2011

@jcraig - The amount of calcium we need every day depends primarily on age and sex. Like most other nutrients, someone may need more if they live a more active lifestyle or if a doctor determines that they have special dietary needs.

In general, it is recommended that most adults get about 1000 mg of calcium each day. That's about three glasses of milk. Fortunately, a lot of other foods have calcium, as well. Yogurt is a great source, and many brands of breakfast cereal and orange juice are now adding calcium.

By jcraig — On Aug 20, 2011

Wow, I knew that calcium was important for building bones, but I didn't know it had so many other important functions in our bodies. What is the daily recommended amount of calcium we are supposed to have every day? How does that translate into glasses of milk, or other foods?

I'm also wondering about some more of the calcium deficiency symptoms in children. The article says that kids who do not end up with enough calcium can have weakened bones, diarrhea, and indigestion, but is there any way to know that these things are linked to a deficiency in calcium rather than something else? Also, something like weakened bones wouldn't be noticeable until it was too late I would think.

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