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Calcium: Basic Nutritional Aspects

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Terry AsprayORCiD


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© 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Calcium is the fifth most abundant element in the human body. Calcium homeostasis is tightly regulated by modulation of calcium absorption from the diet, under the influence of vitamin D and its metabolites, and excretion from the kidney, which is influenced by parathyroid hormone (PTH). Dietary calcium deficiency is relatively rare, although there are links to rickets and osteomalacia, particularly in low-income countries. Most calcium is found in the skeleton, where it buffers calcium supply. The independent effects of dietary calcium status on health and disease are complex because of the interaction of calcium with vitamin D and the fact that many interventional studies incorporate both nutrients. This is complicated further by the apparent difference in the effects of calcium taken as food compared with calcium supplements. However, there are small positive effects of calcium on bone mineral density, fractures, and falls (when given as a co-supplement with vitamin D); hypertension in pregnancy; and the prevention of calcium oxalate renal stones. There is little evidence of benefit for falls or fracture prevention when calcium supplementation is given without vitamin D. Moreover, calcium given with vitamin D is associated with an increased longevity (at least in the older individuals). Concerns have been expressed about the risks of dietary calcium, with both the highest and lowest calcium intakes associated with greater cardiovascular mortality. Furthermore, recent studies suggest that high intakes due to supplementation are a particular risk.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Aspray TJ

Editor(s): Collins JF

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Molecular, Genetic, and Nutritional Aspects of Major and Trace Minerals

Year: 2016

Pages: 45-57

Print publication date: 30/09/2016

Online publication date: 16/09/2016

Acceptance date: 02/04/2016

Publisher: Elsevier Inc.

Place Published: London


DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-802168-2.00005-1

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9780128023761