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Calcium is the major element in the body and an adult man of 60 kg has nearly one kilogram of calcium. Almost 99% of this calcium is found in the hard tissues of the body, namely the bones and teeth. Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium. In vitamin D deficiency, calcium absorption is impaired.
· It is essential for the formation of bones and teeth.
· It is essential for clotting of blood.
· It regulates the permeability of capillary walls.
· It is essential for the contraction of heart and muscle.
· It regulates the excitability of nerve fibres and nerve centres.
· It acts as an activator for the enzymes present in the gastric juice.
· It plays an important role in maintenance of health.
· Required for proper foetal growth.
· It speeds up all healing process.
· It is essential for proper utilization of phosphorus and vitamins A, C and D
The richest source of calcium among animal foods is milk and among vegetables it is green leafy vegetables. Among green leafy vegetables, amaranth, fenugreek and drumstick leaves are particularly rich in calcium. Ragi is the main source of calcium. Sesame seeds with husk and small dried fish are also good source of calcium.
· Bone mass is reduced when calcium deposit is less.
· Rickets in children, Osteomalacia in adults, Osteoporosis in old age occurs.
· Decreased rate of growth rate.
· Very often fractures occur due to brittle bones.
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