The importance of calcium in pregnant women and children

The importance of calcium in pregnant women and children

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Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. Along with phosphorus and magnesium, is part of bones and teeth, and it is precisely there where it is almost entirely. It plays a very important role in the growth and formation of bone tissue, since, in addition to being part of the bone structure, it constitutes the reserve to ensure its adequate concentration in the blood.

For this reason, calcium is essential during pregnancy and the first years of life, as well as in adolescence, due to the growth spurt that takes place.

After delivery, there is a physiological loss of 3 to 7% of bone calcium that recovers spontaneously after 6 months. Interestingly, both loss and recovery are independent of maternal calcium intake, so neither low maternal intake nor calcium supplementation prevent initial loss of bone mass, nor accelerate subsequent recovery. Nor does a new pregnancy influence in any way.

Calcium is eliminated through sweat, skin and urine, so its concentration in the body decreases as we age, and, in the case of women, their absorption of calcium is reduced in menopause due to the decrease in estrogen levels.

However, the bioavailability of calcium, that is, the amount of a nutrient that is absorbed and used by cells, with respect to the total ingested in the diet or with supplements, can be inhibited or enhanced by the presence of other nutrients, and Given their importance, they should be taken into account to ensure an optimal contribution.

1. Foods that impair calcium absorption:

Fiber and phytates and oxalates can cause malabsorption of some minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc or magnesium. These substances include minerals within their structure so that they are not available to cells, and they are eliminated in the feces. Phytates are mainly found in foods rich in fiber, like whole grains, while the concentration of oxalates in green leafy vegetables, like spinach and chard and in some nuts.

The balance between phosphorus and calcium ensures the stability of bone mass, so it is advisable that this balance is also maintained in the diet, avoiding high amounts of foods rich in phosphorus. They are rich in phosphorus, for example, aged cheeses and sardines, although these, if eaten with thorn, also tend to have considerable amounts of calcium, and egg yolk. Caffeine also compromises the absorption of calcium.

2. Foods that enhance calcium absorption:

On the other hand, vitamin D, which also plays an important role in the mineralization of bones, favors the absorption of calcium and phosphorus both at the intestinal and renal levels, while vitamin K, helps the fixation of calcium in the bones. Green leafy vegetables are rich in vitamin K and, in general, most vegetables (fruits and vegetables)While vitamin D can be found in fish, eggs and some cold cuts and cold cuts, in addition to, of course, in dairy.

Interestingly, calcium is better absorbed in the presence of lactose, vitamin D and an adequate calcium / phosphorus ratio. This triple combination occurs naturally in milk and dairy derivatives, which is why they are usually the main source of easily absorbed calcium in the diet.

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Video: Calcium and Pregnancy (February 2023).