Disease And Illness - Other

The Role of Calcium in Rickets

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Rickets is a disease directly related to loss of Calcium that affects the bones in the body that results in weakening of the bones.  This disease is usually hereditary but can be treated with Calcium with the help of Vitamin D for better Absorption along with Phosphorus.  Phosphorus is the most common and abundant mineral in the body. Calcium is a central mineral that the body needs to form bones, conduct nerve signals, and release hormones. The levels of calcium in your body can be affected by your body's concentration of Vitamin D, among other factors’ (Nazario, 2011). 

Developing Countries

Often developing countries who suffer from malnutrition will have increased cases of Rickets due to having a diet that lacks in Calcium and from lack of food (malnourishment).

Infants and Children: At Risk

Infants and Children are often considered a “at risk” group.  Parents can provide calcium rich foods can help prevent Rickets.  But it’s more common to have Vitamin D deficiency passed down to infants and children from parents such as through the mothers breast milk to infants. 

Effects on Body

Skeletal system:  There can be resulting bone deformities from Rickets that may require surgical reconstruction.  Common areas affected include the spinal cord and skull areas. 

Teeth:  Reduced calcium can result in increased cavities in the teeth and delays in tooth formation especially in children.

Muscles: reduced calcium can result in muscle stiffness and muscle spasms

Recommended Calcium Intake

Consume foods that are nutrient rich in Calcium along with Vitamin D and Phosphorus.  There are many foods that naturally contain calcium.  These foods include Milk, Yogurts, cheeses, vegetables, fruits, nuts, soy /tofu and grains/breads.  Many foods in the United States have vitamins and minerals added to them as well such as calcium in fortified milk. 

Sometimes oral intakes of calcium by foods or in other supplements don’t meet the needed calcium requirements for a person suffering from Rickets.  In these cases, “long term infusion of calcium into a central vein may become necessary if there is a poor response to oral therapy” (Ali Et. al, 2008). 

How much Calcium is enough?

A typical daily diet for average adult aged healthy men or women is approximately 1000 mg.  However, the amount or required calcium increases for some over 65 years old.  Children require less and Adolescents to teenagers require more.  You can check the calcium calculator for recommended Calcium daily dosages for gender and age groups at http://www.iofbonehealth.org/patients-public/about-osteoporosis/prevention/nutrition/calcium-calculator.html.  Here you can also check average calcium content in foods known to contain calcium.  This calculator is provided by the International Osteoporosis Foundation.


Ali, K., Allgrove, J. & Ryan, F. (2008). Hereditary vitamin D resistant rickets (HVDRR), diagnostic and therapeutic challenges, Issue 17, Pg 34, Retrieved on March 26th, 2011 from http://www.endocrine-abstracts.org/ea/0017/ea0017p34.htm

International Osteoporosis Foundation (N.d). Calcium Calculator, International Osteoporosis Foundation http://www.iofbonehealth.org/patients-public/about-osteoporosis/prevention/ nutrition/calcium-calculator.html

Nazario, R. (Feb 14th, 2011).  Calcium & Rickets, Retrieved on March 26th, 2011 from www.icmr.nic.in/ijmr/2008/march/0305.pdf

Pettifor, J.M. (March, 2008). Vitamin D &/or calcium deficiency rickets in infants & children: a global perspective, Indian Journal of Medical Research, Issue 127, Pg 245-249, Retrieved on March 26th, 2011 from www.icmr.nic.in/ijmr/2008/march/0305.pdf

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