MANILA, Philippines – The calcium intake of Filipinos is inadequate because they are not eating and drinking enough milk and milk products, according to the latest survey by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST).
The study shows that nearly 90 percent of Filipino households is not meeting the average calcium requirements. The consumption of Filipinos for milk and milk products decreased by seven grams, from 49 grams per capita per day in 2003 to 42 grams per capita per day in 2008, it added.
What is calcium deficiency
Calcium deficiency as defined by Medterms.com is a condition wherein there is a low blood level of calcium (hypocalcemia), which can make the nervous system highly irritable, causing spasms of the hands and feet (tetany), muscle cramps, abdominal cramps, overly active reflexes, and so on. Chronic calcium deficiency contributes to poor mineralization of bones, soft bones (osteomalacia) and osteoporosis, and, in children, rickets and impaired growth.
Two types of calcium deficiency
It is the term for an abnormally low level of calcium in the body. Calcium is necessary to keep bones strong and to help them grow or heal. Hypocalcemia may be the result of low calcium production or insufficient calcium circulation in the body. A deficiency of magnesium or vitamin D is linked to most cases of hypocalcemia. Symptoms include seizures, muscle stiffness, anxiety or depression, hypotension, congestive heart failure, dementia, cataracts, eczema, dry, coarse skin, and parkinsonism papilledema.
Dietary Calcium Deficiency
Global Healing Center says that this condition exists in individuals who are not getting enough calcium intake through their daily nutrition or supplement intake. What happens here is that the natural calcium storage within the bones becomes depleted. As a result, the bones begin to weaken and thin at an alarming rate. Symptoms include back or neck pain, bone pain or tenderness, bone fractures as a result of minor or no trauma, loss of height, and stooped or humped posture
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This may also lead to osteoporosis. Healthline.com states that osteoporosis is a bone disease, the name of which means “porous bones” in Latin. The inside of a normal bone has small spaces, like a honeycomb. Osteoporosis increases the size of these spaces so that the bones lose strength and density. At the same time, the outside of the bone also grows weaker and thinner.
Sources of calcium
The most important dietary sources of calcium are milk and milk products. Milk and milk products contain highly absorbable calcium and are also good sources of other vital nutritional elements including high quality protein for building and repairing of body tissues, and vitamin A for better eyesight and healthy skin.
Dairy products are also rich in riboflavin for the normal functioning of the nervous system, cobalamin or vitamin B12 for maturation of red blood cells and even phosphorus for proper bones and teeth development. For people who have lactose intolerance or milk allergy, consumption of calcium-fortified juices and drinks will make it easier for them to get the recommended daily amount of calcium.
Aside from milk and milk products, there are other sources of calcium like fish, especially the small ones eaten with bones including dilis and sardines, small shrimps or alamang, soy bean curd or tofu and tokwa, and green leafy vegetables like malunggay leaves, saluyot, alugbati and mustasa.
One should include milk and milk products, calcium-fortified juices and drinks and other calcium-rich foods like small fish and green leafy vegetables in the daily diet to meet the requirement for calcium.
Non-milk drinkers may add milk to casseroles, cheese sauces, fruit shakes, dips, puddings, mashed potato, and halo-halo to get considerable benefits from milk as well.