Article By: Dominica Dieffenbach, RDN
Dominica is a Registered Dietitian and mom of 2 kiddos currently specializing in the special needs pediatric population. She has over 15 years of experience as an RD, working with a wide variety of patients to provide them with individualized medical nutrition therapy and education.
Calcium is a mineral most often associated with healthy bones and teeth, however, it also plays an important role in blood clotting, muscle contraction, nerve function, and regulating heart rhythms. About 99% of the body’s calcium is stored in the bones, and the remaining 1% is found in blood, muscles, and other tissues. Inadequate calcium intake is associated with a lack of sufficient tooth enamel leading to higher rates of dental decay.
The body works to keep a steady amount of calcium in the blood and tissues in order to carry out these vital daily functions. This calcium balance is primarily regulated by 2 hormones: parathyroid (PTH) which signals the bone to release calcium into the blood when there is a drop in blood calcium, and calcitonin which signals to stop the release of calcium from the bones when the body has enough calcium. Ensuring enough dietary calcium will help to lessen the need for bones and teeth to release it, which could weaken them over time.
Now you can see why calcium is so crucial! Calcium is found primarily in dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt as well as in leafy greens like kale, broccoli, almonds, beans, and fortified milk substitutes such as almond milk. For kids with a varied diet, a calcium supplement might not be needed as it should be possible to meet the recommended intake through foods. A 6oz serving of yogurt contains around 250mg of calcium, and 1/4 cup of almonds contains 100mg of calcium.
Calcium supplementation would be beneficial for kids and teens who may have difficulty consuming enough calcium from the diet or are at risk for weaker bones because they are:
- Picky eaters
- Lactose intolerant
- Drinking soda daily
- Consuming a vegan diet
- Underweight or have an eating disorder
- Diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease
Here are the recommended daily allowances of calcium:
|0 to 6 months||400mg|
|6 months to 1 year||600mg|
|1 to 3 years||800mg|
|4 to 6 years||800mg|
|7 to 10 years||800mg|
|11 to 18 years||1,200mg|
Even though bones are made up primarily of calcium, there is a trifecta of nutrients responsible for optimal bone health. Separately, K2 regulates normal blood clotting, and vitamin D3 supports a healthy immune system... But when combined with calcium, this can be a game changer for bone health. Vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 ensure that calcium is absorbed adequately and reaches the bone mass while preventing unwanted arterial calcification, a win-win! Without D3 and K2, calcium cannot do its job effectively, while at the same time helping keep the heart healthy. For kids and teens needing calcium supplementation, be sure to check out Renzo's Hercules Calcium with D3 and K2.
Strong bone building only happens during childhood and adolescence, so making sure kids get enough calcium during these early years is critical.
Renzo's Vitamins provides general recommendations, not to be construed as medical advice.