What is calcium

Calcium is a chemical element with the symbol "Ca" and atomic number 20. It is an essential mineral that plays an important role in various biological processes in living organisms including humans. Here are some key points about calcium:

What is calcium

  • Abundance: Calcium is the fifth most abundant element in the Earth's crust and is commonly found in minerals such as limestone, gypsum, and fluorite.

  • Biological Importance: In the human body, calcium is important for many functions, including:

  • Bone and teeth health: About 99% of the body's calcium is stored in the bones and teeth, which provide structural support and strength.
  • Muscle contraction: Calcium ions play a central role in muscle contraction, including the contraction of the heart muscle.
  • Nerve transmission: Calcium is involved in transmitting nerve impulses, which are essential for communication within the nervous system.
  • Blood clotting: Calcium is essential for activating various clotting factors in the blood, which leads to proper blood clotting when needed.
  • Dietary sources: Calcium is obtained through the diet from dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt), leafy green vegetables (spinach, kale), nuts, seeds, and fortified foods.

  • Regulation: The body tightly regulates the level of calcium in the blood to maintain the proper balance. The hormones calcitonin produced by the thyroid gland and parathyroid hormone (PTH) produced by the parathyroid glands help control calcium levels.

  • Deficiency and excess: Calcium deficiency can lead to conditions like osteoporosis (weakening of bones) and muscle disorders. Hypercalcemia, or elevated calcium levels in the blood, can have a variety of causes, including certain cancers and metabolic disorders.

  • Industrial Applications: Calcium has many industrial applications, such as in the production of cement, steel and other metals, as well as in the production of lime and as a deoxidizer in metallurgy.

  • Chemical Properties: Calcium is an alkaline earth metal and belongs to group 2 of the periodic table. It has a silvery white appearance and is relatively reactive, especially with water.

In summary, calcium is a fundamental element that is important for the structure and function of bones, muscles, nerves, and various biochemical processes in the body. It is obtained from the diet, and its levels are tightly regulated to ensure proper bodily functioning.