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June, 2006

CALCIUM: Are You Deficient?

Calcium is the mineral most likely to be deficient in the average diet. In fact, Government statistics indicate that 79% of us are NOT getting adequate calcium!

We often hear about the correlation between a calcium deficiency and "brittle bones," known as osteoporosis, but few people are aware that a calcium deficiency can impact important metabolic functions.

Here are THREE important, but little-known ways that getting more calcium can improve your health:

Calcium helps maintain a healthy weight.

When you're deficient in calcium, your body thinks you're starving and enters emergency mode, releasing parathyroid hormone. This hormone stimulates your bones to release some calcium into your bloodstream. Your kidneys also deliver a dose of a hormone called calcitriol, a form of vitamin D, to increase your ability to absorb calcium.

While this restores the critical balance to your blood, parathyroid hormone and calcitriol also stimulate the production of fat and inhibit its breakdown. As a result, your body stores fat and holds on to it stubbornly, even if you're on a low-calorie diet.

On the other hand, a high calcium intake suppresses these hormones so your body stores less fat and also breaks it down far more easily.

Calcium protects your heart.

If you're low on calcium, you're more likely to have high blood pressure. Again, your body releases the hormone calcitriol in response to a calcium shortage, and calcitriol acts on the smooth muscle walls of your arteries, constricting them and elevating your blood pressure.

In fact, your calcium intake may be almost as important to blood pressure as your sodium intake. An adequate supply of calcium helps muscles, including your heart muscle, do their work of contracting and relaxing.

Calcium also appears to help your nervous system regulate the level of pressure in your arteries.


Calcium

† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Nutritionists and other experts in the field of health hold a variety of views. This index is not intended to diagnose or prescribe.