Everyone knows calcium is important. That’s why you make sure to put a splash of cream in your coffee and eat yogurt a couple times a week.
But unless you break a bone, your levels are probably just fine. Right?
Weakening bone is just one of a number of possible signs that you’re not getting enough calcium. And according to researchers over 65 percent of us might not be getting enough of this critical mineral.
But knowing what to look for could help you turn a mild deficiency around before there are serious consequences. Following are six surprising signs you could be low in calcium.
1. You’re overweight:
If you suddenly have a little extra junk in the trunk, but you haven’t changed your eating or exercise habits, dropping calcium could be partially to blame. And while this hidden sign can apply to anyone, it’s especially common in women who’ve already gone through menopause.
Most women start to put on a few extra pounds starting in their early sixties. So you might be tempted to dismiss your own weight gain as just an inevitable part of aging. But the landmark Women’s Health Initiative found that women who took a calcium and vitamin D supplement combo were 11 percent less likely to gain weight, even after menopause.
According to the Nutrition Institute at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, the mineral helps raise your core temperature just enough to help boost metabolism. This little boost is enough in many cases to help women maintain rather than gain.
2. Tingling in your fingers or lips:
When you think about calcium, you probably automatically think about bones. But it doesn’t just support healthy bones. The mineral plays an important role in nerve function too.
When your nerves don’t get enough, they can begin to misfire. That misfiring can cause tingling or numbness anywhere in your body. But it most often appears in your extremities, such as your fingers, and around your lips.
3. You feel tired all the time:
As one of the most common minerals in your body, calcium helps keep your bones, blood, nerves and muscles healthy and functioning. But when you run low with so many different systems in your body relying on it to run efficiently, it’s really no wonder that you’re likely to feel fatigued. Plus, to make matters worse, low calcium can trigger insomnia.
4. Brittle and breaking hair and nails:
Hair and nails need plenty of protein to stay healthy. But it turns out just like your bones and teeth require calcium to grow healthy and strong, so do your nails and hair.
Weak hair and nails that split break or peel easily can be a sign of calcium deficiency.
If you brush and floss but your dentist still has bad news, drooping calcium could be the cause. After all, don’t forget your teeth are bones too.
If you keep getting cavities despite taking good care of your teeth don’t write it off as old age or bad genetics, consider getting your calcium levels checked instead.
6. Your blood sugar is on the rise:
Experts say that calcium, along with vitamin D, can influence how much insulin your body makes. In other words, they help keep your blood sugar in check.
In the 20-year long Nurses’ Study, daily doses of the pair were linked to a 33 percent lower risk of diabetes.
Don’t wait until you’ve broken a bone or to be diagnosed with osteoporosis. If you recognize any of these symptoms, ask your doctor about a blood test to check your calcium levels. And if you find you’re running low, talk with him about the best way to raise your level using diet or a supplement.