Calcium is an important structural component and helps to maintain normal bones and teeth. Adequate calcium intake throughout childhood and adolescence is needed to achieve maximum peak bone mass in young adulthood which is an important determinant of bone mineral status in later life. The growth, development and maintenance of bone and teeth is related to the quantity of dietary calcium consumed; it should also be noted that calcium cannot be absorbed or utilised without vitamin D. Recommended intakes of calcium to meet requirements for growth, development and maintenance of bone at all ages have been established by various authorities.
Functions - Calcium contributes to:
Normal muscle function and neurotransmission which is the transmitting of impulses along nerves. Normal muscle function (including the heart) and neurotransmission require adequate calcium concentrations within the cells and in the extracellular fluid.
Normal blood clotting. Calcium is necessary to stabilize or allow maximal activity for a number of blood clotting enzymes.
The normal function of digestive enzymes. Several digestive enzymes (e.g. lipase) require a chemical association between calcium and enzyme protein(s) for full activity to occur.