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Runner’s World: 5 Signs You’re Not Getting Enough Calcium

Runner’s World recently interviewed Victoria Kang, DO, a family medicine physician at Cedars-Sinai’s Playa Vista office, about five symptoms that might indicate you’re not getting enough calcium. Calcium, as Kang explains, is important to keep your bones and muscles strong and healthy enough to tackle runs of all distances and levels of difficulty.

“Calcium is a token to get different body organ systems to work, and it forms and maintains healthy bones, since most calcium is stored in your bones,” Kang told Runner’s World. “Calcium also helps your heart muscles pump and transmits signals to your nerves so your muscles contract.”

Based on guidelines from the Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, adults should get 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium per day. However, Kang suggests that if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you should increase your daily intake to 1,200 mg to 1,300 mg. For context, milk contains 305 mg of calcium per cup, Parmesan cheese has 331 mg of calcium per ounce and 8 ounces of plain, full-fat yogurt has 274 mg of calcium.

If individuals are low on calcium for an extended period, it can lead to weakened bones and an increased risk of fractures. Although most people will not notice immediate symptoms of a calcium deficiency, but the longer the deficiency lasts, the more severe the symptoms will become.

The first common symptom is experiencing frequent muscle cramps. Because calcium helps with muscle contraction, low levels of the mineral means you might experience more muscle cramps than usual, Kang says, specifically in your back and legs. Other symptoms include brittle fingernails, bone-related injuries, irregular heartbeat and tingling in arms and legs.

Click here to read the complete article in Runner’s World, including how to get more calcium in your diet.