CALCIUM AND PHOSPHORUS FAQS


CALCIUM



What is calcium

?

Calcium is a mineral essential for healthy bones and teeth in human body. It is the fifth most required element by the human body after oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen. Ninety-nine percent of the calcium in the body is stored in the bones, remaining 1% is in teeth.

What are the

functions of calcium

?

Calcium salts provide rigidity to the skeleton. Calcium phosphate is a major component of the bones and gives strength to bones. Calcium is also important for proper functioning of the nerves and muscles and helps in clotting or blood whenever there is a wound.

How does calcium act in the body?
Calcium is absorbed in the small intestine. Phytates present in the husks of many cereals as well as in nuts, seeds, and legumes, can form insoluble calcium phytate salts in the gastrointestinal tract and prevent absorption of calcium. Similarly excess oxalates can precipitate calcium in the bowel. Vitamin D and parathyroid hormone increase absorption of calcium from the gut which is then taken to the bones.

Which foods are rich in calcium?
Excellent sources of calcium include dairy products, spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens, and collard greens. Milk and juices fortified with calcium are also good sources of calcium.

What is the daily requirement of calcium for a normal individual?
The recommended daily requirement of calcium is 210-800mg/day for children upto 8 years of age and 1300mg/day for older children.

What happens if calcium is deficient in the diet?
Deficiency of calcium can lead to weaker bones, seizures and abnormal positions of the hands and feet called as tetany. Deficiency can occur due to poor intake, due to poor absorption, vitamin D deficiency, parathyroid hormone deficiency and chronic kidney disease. Long term deficiency can lead to osteoporosis.

What happens if overdosage of calcium occurs?
Toxicity from calcium is not common because the gastrointestinal tract normally limits the amount of calcium absorbed. Therefore, short-term intake of large amounts of calcium does not generally produce any ill effects aside from constipation and an increased risk of kidney stones. Long term use of high dose calcium along with high dose of vitamin D can lead to deposition of calcium in other tissues of the body and increased blood calcium levels that can disturb the rhythm of the heart.

PHOSPHORUS


What is phosphorus
?

Phosphorus is an important mineral along with calcium required for human body to maintain healthy bones. It is present as calcium phosphate in the bones. It is present in the body in the form of phosphates (PO4). It forms calcium phosphate with calcium and forms the skeleton of the bones. Bone contains about 85% of the body's phosphate. The rest is located primarily inside cells.

What are the functions of phosphorus?
Apart from maintaining healthy bones, phosphorus is important for energy utilization in the body.

How does phosphorus act in the body?
Phosphate absorption from the intestines is enhanced by vitamin D. Parathyroid hormone decreases absorption of phosphorus from the intestine and increases its loss in the urine.

Which foods are rich in phosphorus?
Foods rich in phosphates are all-bran cereal, almonds, cashew nuts, cheese, dried fruit, egg, garlic, legumes, lentils, meat, milk, peanuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, whole wheat bread and yogurt.

What is the daily requirement of phosphorus for a normal individual?
The daily requirement of phosphorus is 100-500mg/day in children less than 8 years of age and 1250mg per day for older children.

What happens if phosphorus is deficient in the diet?
Low blood phosphorus can occur with burns, defective absorption from the gut, poor intake, use of aluminum containing antacids and long term use of diuretic drugs. Patients present with seizures, muscle weakness and low hemoglobin. Chronic deficiency can lead to weak bones.

What happens if overdosage of phosphorus occurs?
Like calcium, short term high intake of phosphorus does not lead to any side effects. However long term high intake and intake of phosphorus rich food in patients with chronic kidney disease can lead to seizures and lower blood calcium levels.
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