Calcium is an essential element of the earth.
Chemically, it is listed at 20 position in the periodic table which is its atomic number.
It is classified as a metallic element and its oxides are alkaline in nature.
It combines with many other elements to form various compounds.
Calcium is one of the vital substances used by man in daily life.
Calcium Uses in Everyday Life
Calcium is in many forms around us. Hence, its uses have to be read in terms of different chemical structures for better clarity. Also, we can learn it based on applications in life.
Uses in the body
- Calcium is a potent electrolyte in the body. Chemically, it is a calcium ion as Ca2+. It has a role in the nerve signal transduction pathway where it acts as a second messenger.
- It helps in the conduction and maintenance of nerve signals and impulses in the body. The ion form of calcium is transmitted through pores called calcium channels in the cells and tissues.
- These channels are so important than many life-saving medicines like the calcium channel blockers act through them to control the calcium and related physiology. So calcium is an essential body electrolyte.
- There are two hormones that control blood levels in the body. These hormones include Parathormones, Vit-D.
For blood clotting
- Calcium is very essential for the blood clotting process. Hence, while extracting blood, it is mixed with ascorbic acid to prevent calcium from the process of hemostasis and blood clotting.
Heart and other muscles function
- Muscle is a contractile tissue that helps in various processes of body physiology like the heartbeat, respiration, digestion, movements, etc.
- These muscles contract by the contraction of muscle filaments like the actin and myosin. These muscle filaments in the presence of ATP and Calcium help in contraction of muscles.
- So without calcium, the muscle control would be deficient.
- Even the tone and contractility of heart muscles is maintained by calcium.
In receptor mechanism
- Receptors the agents which help in chemical signal processing in the cells.
- There are many types of receptors in our body which help in the communication of hormones, neurotransmitter, drugs, etc. With tissues. Calcium has an important role in the function of these receptors.
- Calcium vesicles stores calcium in the cell cytoplasm and release it for the contraction of muscle cells etc.
5. In bone formation
- All the bones of the body either big or small or hard and soft are made of calcium. These bones are formed explicitly from calcium phosphate (CaPO4).
- Hence, surgeons prescribe the use of calcium supplements during bone fracture for quicker healing.
6. Tooth formation and growth
- Teeth present in the mouth for chewing are made of calcium. They are so hard to help in the breakdown of food materials.
Calcium uses in plants
- Calcium, unlike in animals and humans has little but important uses of plants. It is a secondary nutrient and is essential for normal physiology and anatomy of plants.
- It is part of the cell wall contents of the plant cell. It forms calcium pectate which holds the surrounding cell walls together. Thus, it helps the cells to stay intact and gives rigidity and strength.
- It is also involved in the activation of a few enzymes responsible for normal physiology.
- Plants also form calcium oxalate crystals to detoxify calcium.
- Calcium is an essential substance used in the construction of buildings, bridges, towers, etc., for ages.
- It is used as calcium hydroxide, calcium carbonate, gypsum, plaster of Paris, etc.
Calcium carbonate is used in building material. This calcium carbonate is mixed with sand and water and used as a binding material in between stones or bricks.
- This mixture dries up to become a hard mixture.
- Thus, it holds the structure tight and rigid. It is currently less preferred due to fear of acid rains which melt away the alkaline calcium carbonate.
- But it said that construction made with it CaCO3 is cooler than cement made structures.
- Besides calcium carbonate, due it alkaline property can be used as an antacid and in food, preparations to minimize acid. It is also used as a calcium supplement in health care. Especially the organic calcium from the oyster shell is preferred for better compatibility. But the cheaper alternative is CaCO3.
- Also, CaCO3 is also used in making chalks, the whitewashing of walls, etc.
Calcium is also used in few medical and therapetic applications
- Calcium due to its alkaline property is used as a powerful antacid in case of acidity of stomach.
- It is used as Calcium oxide or calcium hydroxide in tablet or suspension form to relive acidity.
- The calcium formulation neutralizes the hydrochloric acid released in the stomach and helps to relive the symtoms instantly.
As calcium supplement
In menopause and osteoporosis, calcium intake is recommended to enhance bone density. It is combined with vitamin-D3 to enhance its absorbtion.
Calcium uses in other daily life activities.
- Gypsum is another compound made of calcium. It is highly used in giving a smooth finish to walls. It is also used in making chalk pieces and bricks for constructions. Gypsum is also used as fertilizer in agriculture.
- Plaster of Paris (bone break) is used in making statues, idols, etc. It is another form of gypsum. It is primarily used for making sculptures.
- Pearls are some of the expensive gemstones. They are obtained naturally from oysters. Oysters are a type of mollusks that use calcium to form pearls.