Benefits of Calcium For a Teen
—Jill Fandrich, PharmD, CRPh
Calcium is an essential nutrient for teenagers as it plays a vital role in their overall growth and development. Here are some key benefits of calcium for teenagers:
1. Promotes bone health - During the teenage years, bone growth and development are at their peak. Calcium helps in the formation and strengthening of bones, making them less prone to fractures and ensuring proper bone density. Adequate calcium intake during adolescence can help reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis later in life.
2. Supports teeth health - Calcium is also crucial for dental health. It aids in the development and maintenance of strong teeth. Adequate calcium intake can help prevent tooth decay and improve overall oral hygiene.
3. Facilitates muscle function - Calcium plays a significant role in muscle contraction and relaxation. It is essential for the proper functioning of the muscular system, including skeletal, cardiac, and smooth muscles. Adequate calcium intake promotes optimal muscle performance and can help prevent muscle cramps and spasms.
4. Assists in nerve transmission - Calcium ions are involved in transmitting nerve signals throughout the body. They allow for proper communication between nerve cells, which is important for various bodily functions including, movement, coordination, and sensory perception.
5. Supports hormone regulation - Calcium plays a role in the release and regulation of certain hormones in the body. This includes hormones involved in growth, metabolism, and mood regulation. Adequate calcium intake can contribute to balanced hormonal activity during the teenage years, supporting physical and emotional well-being.
6. Enhances blood clotting - Calcium is necessary for blood clotting, which is the process that stops bleeding when you are injured. It helps in the formation of blood clots and ensures proper wound healing.
7. Boosts overall health - Calcium also plays a role in maintaining heart health, facilitating normal blood pressure, and aiding in the absorption of other essential nutrients such as vitamin D. It supports the proper functioning of various body systems and contributes to overall health and well-being.
To ensure sufficient calcium intake, teenagers should consume calcium-rich foods such as dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt), leafy green vegetables, fortified cereals, tofu, and nuts. If dietary intake is insufficient, calcium supplements may be recommended under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
Strong bones begin with calcium; as a teenager, embrace its benefits and establish a foundation for a lifetime of health and vitality.
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