Calcium is essential for normal growth and development.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and bone contains 99% of it.
Calcium is generally found in the form of calcium phosphate.
In addition to its function in building and maintaining bones and teeth, calcium is an important cofactor required in many enzymatic reactions. These reactions include the contraction of muscle, the release of neurotransmitters, the clotting of blood and the regulation of the heart rate.
Some of these reactions take place on the surface of the mineral.
Calcium serves the function of nerve nutrient since it is involved in the electrical transmissions of nerve signals.
Calcium deficiency can result in muscle cramps especially in the muscles of the back and legs.
Calcium homeostasis is important to the body’s skeleton. The concentration of blood calcium is regulated by parathyroid hormone (parathormone) in conjunction with Vitamin D.
There is a continuous exchange of calcium between different ‘calcium pool’ sites in the body. There is roughly 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) of calcium in the body, 99% of which is stored in bone. Ten grams therefore, is the only amount available for all other cell processes and metabolic reactions.
During growth, calcium balance remains positive with more calcium consumed than excreted. During adulthood, calcium remains in equilibrium and is finely regulated. Late in life, calcium excretion exceeds its intake and must be remedied through the diet.
Parathormone increases blood calcium levels. Specialized cells within the thyroid gland secrete calcitonin, a hormone that lowers calcium levels by increasing its concentration in bone. These two glands produce opposing hormones (parathormone and calcitonin) that regulate calcium levels.
Magnesium is an essential mineral with multiple metabolic roles. These include its involvement in protein synthesis and role in muscle contraction. Magnesium also plays a vital role in metabolism, glycolysis, membrane permeability and active transport. Magnesium is required in the conversion of ATP to ADP, with the release of energy used to power biological reactions.
Magnesium is important for protein formation, DNA production and nerve conduction. Magnesium helps maintain intracellular potassium levels and blocks the entry of excessive calcium into the cell. Magnesium slows the release of adrenaline from the adrenal gland and plays a central role in the production and secretion of insulin. Magnesium therefore helps regulate blood glucose levels. Magnesium is embedded in glucose metabolism and helps delay fatigue from carbohydrate depletion.
Magnesium inhibits platelet sticking and raises HDL-cholesterol levels (the good cholesterol), which helps prevent atherosclerosis. High levels of Magnesium can prevent muscle spasms. Magnesium is a calcium channel-blocker, which blocks the entry of calcium into vascular smooth muscle thus relaxing arterial muscle walls. This lowers vascular resistance and reduces blood pressure. Magnesium supplements are recommended to improve endurance.