Calcium and iron are two essential minerals that we absolutely need for our bodies to run efficiently. When there is not enough iron, it results in a type of anemia characterized by not having enough red blood cells. This then results in fewer cells to transport oxygen to the tissues in the body. Calcium is necessary for bone health, as well as the proper functioning of our nerves, heart and muscles.
Balancing a Calcium Deficiency
Adults ages 19 to 50 need 1,000 milligrams of this mineral each day. Adults over the age of 51 need 1,200 milligrams of this mineral each day.
There are certain medications that can contribute to this mineral deficiency, such as diuretics. While you should never abruptly stop any medication without your doctor’s permission, you should talk to your doctor about how your medications are impacting your calcium levels.
An easy and healthful way of getting enough calcium involves simply getting more in your diet. Incorporate different calcium-rich foods into your meals and snacks throughout the day. Some foods rich in this mineral include seafood, dairy products, nuts, green and leafy vegetables, dried beans and enriched orange juice and breads.
If diet changes do not do the trick, talk to your doctor about taking a supplement. Always talk to a doctor before taking one because when calcium levels get too high, serious health issues can result. If you doctor puts you on a supplement, he will also likely put you on supplementation for vitamin D and phosphorus.
Not having enough calcium can result in certain health issues, such as:
- Abnormal heart rhythm
- High blood pressure
- Spasm of the larynx
- Low bone mass
- Chronic joint and bone pain
- Female reproductive health issues
- A humpback from the spine curving abnormally
- Softening of the bones
- Weakening and thinning of the bones
Balancing an Iron Deficiency
Adult males 19 years of age and older should be getting eight milligrams of this mineral each day. Women ages 19 to 50 should be getting 18 milligrams per day. Those over 51 should be getting eight milligrams per day.
Your diet is always a good place to start. Think about what you eat every day and whether or not any of these foods are rich in iron. Some iron-rich foods include steak, chicken, tuna, lentils, fortified cereals, oatmeal and spinach.
If your diet is not getting the job done, you should talk to your doctor. Never start an iron supplement before talking to your doctor as there is a such thing as too much iron. Vitamin C supplements may also be recommended because this vitamin helps iron absorption.
If you have an underlying cause that is decreasing your iron levels, this must be treated to correct the low levels. Things like oral contraceptives and antibiotics can lower iron levels.
In severe cases, a doctor may need to do a blood transfusion to quickly replace hemoglobin and iron. This is generally seen when someone is bleeding heavily, such as from surgery or an accident.
Complications can occur if iron levels in the body are low and stay low. The following are potential complications:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Rapid heartbeat
- Heart failure
- Enlarged heart
- Low birth weight
- Premature birth
- Growth problems
About The Author: Shawn Tremaine is a personal trainer and health and fitness writer, and has reviewed sites like Mind Body Mojo. You can visit their site When he’s not working on helping others increase their health, he likes to spend it coaching his little boys soccer team.