Calcium Deficiency Symptoms


One of the major symptoms of a deficiency of this important mineral are skeletal abnormalities. Osteopenia, osteomalacia, osteoporosis and rickets may all be caused by calcium deficiency.


Osteomalacia is a failure to mineralize the bone matrix, resulting in a reduction of the mineral content of the bone. In children, osteomalacia is known as rickets. When children have rickets, their bones become soft and flexible, bending in ways normal bones would not. Features of rickets include bowed legs, beaded ribs, large foreheads, sunken chests (pectus excavatum), protruding chests (pectus carnitum) and hyperextendable joints.


Osteopenia is the presence of less than normal amount of bone. Osteopenia, if not treated, may result in osteoporosis. Osteoporosis occurs when the composition of the bone is normal, but the mass is so reduced that the skeleton loses its strength and becomes unable to perform its supporting role in the body. In this case, fractures may occur due to minor falls and bumps, or bones may even break under their own weight. People with osteoporosis may have a hump in their backs, scoliosis (curvature of the spine), kyphosis (rounded shoulders) or lose height. These conditions may be caused by the buckling of their weakened spines, no longer being strong enough to hold the body upright.


The bones act as a reservoir for calcium. When the amount of calcium in the blood supply dips too low, calcium is borrowed from the bones. It is returned to the bones from calcium supplied through the diet. When diets are low in the mineral, there may not be sufficient amounts available to be returned to the bones. Over time, this net loss can lead to osteopenia or osteoporosis.


Other symptoms of calcium deficiency include


  • insomnia
  • tetany
  • premenstrual cramps
  • hypertension (high blood pressure)

Low calcium intakes have also been linked to premature births and some forms of cancer, including colon and breast cancer.