May 23, 2014

Calcium Facts

Calcium is essential for human, plant, and animal nutrition. Animals skeletons get their rigidity primarily from calcium phosphate. The eggs of birds and shells of mollusks are comprised of calcium carbonate. Calcium is used as a reducing agent when preparing metals from their compounds; as a reagent in purification of inert gases; to fix atmospheric nitrogen; as a scavenger and decarbonizer in metallurgy; and for making alloys. Calcium compounds are used in making lime, bricks, cement, cheese, glass, paint, paper, sugar, glazes, as well as many others, including fireworks.

Calcium isn't found free in nature, but it can be purified into a soft silvery-white alkaline earth metal. Though calcium has been known for thousands of years, it was not purified as an element until 1808 by Sir Humphrey Davy from England.The element name "calcium" comes from the Latin word "calcis" meaning "lime". It is the 5th most abundant element in the Earth's crust at a level of about 3% in the oceans and soil.

Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption by the human body. It is converted to a hormone which causes intestinal proteins responsible for calcium absorption to be produced.

Calcium is the main component of teeth and bones and is the fifth most abundant element in the human body. Approximately one third of the mass of the human body is calcium after all water is removed.

The top three countries that produce calcium are China, United States, and India.