Balance is absolutely essential to wellbeing. Too much or too little of anything – whether it’s body fat or stress levels – can throw your wellbeing off-kilter and wreak havoc with your system. Luckily, your body constantly strives to maintain this balance, so all you have to do is help out by supplying the necessary ingredients – your body does the rest!
In order to properly support your physical and mental wellbeing, you must be diligent about getting proper levels of macronutrients (such as protein, fat, and carbohydrates) and macro-nutrients (such as calcium) from your diet. If you don’t, your body suffers, and the effects can be life-threatening.
Today we’re going to examine how calcium deficiency affects your mind and your body.
There aren’t any immediate effects of short-term calcium deficiency, but that’s not quite the good news it sounds like. Short-term effects can be damaging but they’re also tough to spot because your body makes up for the missing calcium in your diet by leeching it directly from your bones, weakening your skeletal system and putting you at greater risk of fractures, breaks, and osteoporosis.
If your diet is consistently running a calcium deficit, you can coast along in the short-term without noticing much of a difference but eventually, you’ll experience the effects of long-term calcium deficiency, which are severe and far-ranging.
Healthline shares some of the severe long-term effects of low calcium, including:
- Confusion or memory loss
- Muscle spasms
- Numbness and tingling in the hands, feet, and face
- Muscle cramps
- Weak and brittle nails
- Easy fracturing of the bones
University Health News adds that those with chronically low calcium levels may also experience the following symptoms:
- Heart failure
- Chest pains
- Difficulty swallowing
- Voice changes due to spasm of the larynx
- Irritability, impaired intellectual capacity, depression, anxiety, and personality changes
- Coarse hair
- Dry skin
- Chronic itching
- Tooth decay
- Osteoporosis symptoms (backache; a gradual loss of height and an accompanying stooped posture; fractures of the spine, wrist, or hip)
Diagnosis and Prevention
Given the fact that it’s the most abundant mineral in the body, it’s no surprise that not getting enough calcium can cause such intense and varied effects in the mind and the body. The invisible nature of calcium deficiency, however, means it’s extra important to stay on top of your intake. If you aren’t getting enough calcium you won’t notice the effects for months – sometimes years- making symptoms easy to ignore and tough to track down to their root cause.
The best way to support your body is to do exactly what you’re doing right now: Educating yourself about this essential mineral and familiarizing yourself with the recommended daily intake, and making a habit of incorporating calcium-rich foods into your diet.
If you’ve chosen this habit because your diet is quite light on calcium-rich foods, consider asking your doctor for a blood test to check your calcium levels. He or she can let you know whether you’re already low in calcium and whether you may need to take a calcium supplement either short-term or long-term, to boost your levels.
Above all else, eating a diet rich in whole foods, fresh fruits and vegetables and varied protein sources will ensure you can meet the daily requirements for calcium, ensuring a strong, healthy body for years to come.