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Calcium

About

Calcium is the most common mineral in the body and one of the most important. The body needs it to build and repair bones and teeth, help nerves and muscles to function, blood to clot and also help the heart to work. Vitamin D is essential to absorb calcium.

What might a low result mean?

It is unusual to find low calcium levels in a blood test because your body does a very good job of regulating your calcium, using your bones as a "bank" if it needs more. A calcium blood test is therefore not an accurate indicator of whether you are consuming sufficient calcium. Low levels of calcium (hypocalcaemia), are usually due to low protein levels, not enough vitamin D, high phosphate levels, kidney disease or hypoparathyroidism - an underactive parathyroid gland.

What might a high result mean?

A high level of calcium (hypercalcaemia) could indicate a benign (not cancerous) tumour on the parathyroid gland or hyperthyroidism - an overactive thyroid.

How might I improve my result?

Dairy products are excellent sources of dietary calcium. Leafy green vegetables including spinach and kale, fatty fish and red beans are also good sources. Calcium in any form, requires vitamin D to be absorbed. If your vitamin D levels are low, taking a daily supplement can ensure that the calcium you take is being absorbed.

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