Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. Ninety-nine percent of this calcium is in teeth and bones. The other 1 percent is found in blood, extracellular fluids and within cells of all tissues where it regulates key metabolic functions. Calcium is needed for growth and bone density, plus it keeps the heart pumping, muscles moving and nerves communicating.
Low calcium intake over your lifetime may lead to less dense bones or bone loss and increased risk of osteoporosis. The body stores calcium in bones till age 20, reaching peak bone mass by the age of 30.
Milk products are usually the primary source of calcium in our diets. Diets that provide three cups or the equivalent of milk products per day can improve bone mass. Unfortunately many adults do not drink milk. They do not like the taste, or they think it is only for kids. They feel it has too many calories. Or they are lactose intolerant, a condition in which milk gives them gas and makes them feel bloated.