The Bone Essential

Can you imagine a mass of body, without bones, carrying out those vigorous activities the men folk are known for?  The skeletal structure made up of bones is known to be involved in all of this. The bones are made up of about 70% of a mineral known as calcium.

Calcium is the most abundant mineral found in the human body with most of it in the bones and a little in the blood. It is very vital in bone health and effective in the function of the muscles;  it is known that muscles are important in body movement and exercise which in turn promotes general prostate health. Calcium supports the nervous system by delivering chemical signals from outside to the inside of the brain cells and helps maintain normal blood pressure and regulates blood clotting. It is also known to prevent digestive cancers.

 However, for this mineral to dutifully carry out all these and many more functions, Magnesium in ratio 2:1 to calcium is necessary. Magnesium keeps Calcium dissolved in the blood and when needed by the bones, Magnesium stimulates a hormone- calcitonin which draws Calcium out of the blood; preserving the bone structure. Magnesium also aids the conversion of vitamin D to its active form; vitamin D is known to aid the absorption of calcium. Therefore, as you go for calcium supplement, do not forget your Magnesium to go with it.

Calcium is found in sources not far from a Nigerian Mama’s kitchen, ranging from green leafy vegetables such as Ugu, Ewedu, Nchuanwu, Onugbu( known as Efo ewuro by the Yoruba’s),  Garden egg leaves(akwukwo anara) to dairies such as milk, yoghurt and cheese. Nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts and sesame seeds are not left out.

So easy to get with so many advantages! but before you go gulping the entire calcium supplements you can get, excess intake can be dangerous to health. Excess intake is implicated in advanced prostate cancer. Constipation will not be farfetched; spending the whole day in the bathroom- straining to release some wastes. It could also reduce the absorption of some minerals, and impair the kidney function; increasing its toxicity due to accumulated Calcium. Harvard School of public health recommends a daily intake of 1000mg for ages 19-50 while 50 years and above require 1200mg daily1. Older people need a higher dose of calcium due to an increased level of bone depletion as they age. Also, deficiency of same can cause osteoporosis in the elderly, poor blood clotting, poor appetite, muscle cramps, mental confusion and rickets in children.






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