Site icon CleverlySMART SavvyCorner

Calcium is the chemical element with atomic number 20, symbol Ca

Crystals of calcium

Calcium is the chemical element with atomic number 20, symbol Ca

Calcium is the chemical element with atomic number 20, symbol Ca

It is a fairly hard gray-white alkaline earth metal. Calcium does not exist as a pure body in nature. It is the fifth most abundant element in the earth’s crust (over 3%). It is vital for many species: formation of bones, teeth and shells (it makes up 1 to 2% of the weight of the human body of an adult). Calcium also plays a very important role in cellular physiology, while being a cellular poison beyond a certain dose.

Physical applications of calcium metal


Metallic calcium is used as a reducing agent in metallurgy for the production of metals such as thorium, vanadium, zirconium, yttrium and other rare earth metals , as a reducing agent in steel and aluminum production, as an alloy additive in aluminum, beryllium, copper, lead – and magnesium alloys and as a starting material for the production of calcium hydride.

The technical use of calcium takes place predominantly in bound form.

Limestone (mainly calcium carbonate, CaCO3) and dolomite (CaMg (CO3 ) 2 ) are two of the most important raw materials in today’s industry:

Because of its functions in organisms, calcium is also used as a drug.

Here are some of the benefits of calcium for humans

Activates nerves
Blood circulation
Flex muscles
Normalizes blood pressure
Balance the acidity of the blood
Maintain body fluid balance
Prevent osteoporosis (bone loss)
Prevent heart disease
Reducing the risk of colon cancer
Overcoming cramps, back pain, hemorrhoids, and rheumatism
Overcoming complaints during menstruation and menopause
Minimizes bone loss during pregnancy and breastfeeding
Helps mineralization of teeth and prevents tooth root bleeding
Overcoming dry and cracked skin on the feet and hands
Restores decreased / weakened sex drive
Overcoming diabetes (activates the pancreas)
After the age of 20 years, the human body will begin to experience calcium deficiency as much as 1% per year. And after the age of 50 years, the amount of calcium content in the body will shrink by 30%. Losses will reach 50% when you reach the age of 70 years and thereafter experiencing calcium deficiency problems.

The initial symptoms of calcium deficiency include lethargy, profuse sweating, restlessness, shortness of breath, decreased endurance, lack of appetite, constipation, loose stools, insomnia, cramps, and so on.
More about this source textSource text required for additional translation information

Recommended Calcium Intakes

Age-adjusted daily calcium recommendations (from U.S. Institute of Medicine RDAs)
Age Calcium (mg/day)
1–3 years 700
4–8 years 1000
9–18 years 1300
19–50 years 1000
>51 years 1000
Pregnancy 1000
Lactation 1000

The FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) nutritional recommendations are based on the relationships between calcium intake and calcium absorption and excretion, determined by an analysis of existing studies. Balance, according to the FAO, is reached with a daily intake of 520 mg taking into account the incompressible faecal losses, which rise to 840 mg taking into account the urinary losses and those related to desquamation, and to 1,100 mg when the Menopause-related losses are included.

Taking into account dietary intake of animal protein has a major effect on nutritional calcium requirements, the two being positively correlated14. It also helps to bring the recommended calcium intakes closer to the actual calcium intakes observed in a large part of the populations worldwide. Regarding sodium, if the salt intake in the diet were reduced, the calcium requirement could decrease to a level as low as 450 mg / d. Better attention to vitamin D levels (through sufficient exposure to the sun or through sufficient intake) could further reduce nutritional calcium requirements.

The recommended nutritional intake is finally 900 mg per day in adults who consume a Western diet. A WHO (World Health Organization) study shows that DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) vary significantly between developed countries. At the same time, the recommended daily allowance is 800 mg per day (for an adult woman).

According to the WHO and FAO, a much lower calcium requirement (500 mg / day) is observed in people with a much more vegetarian diet, who are sufficiently exposed to the sun (vitamin D) and who exercise non-sedentary. Indeed, the ingestion of sulfur amino acids (such as methionine) in large quantities would increase the loss of calcium in the urine. These sulfur amino acids are found in large quantities in meats, fish, eggs, cold cuts.

Consequences of excess calcium

A study of a population cohort in Sweden found higher mortality for women ingesting more than 1,400 mg of calcium per day, especially in supplement form. In addition, several studies establish a correlation between a high intake of calcium and a high incidence of prostate cancer.

Food sources

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) web site has a very complete searchable table of calcium content (in milligrams) in foods, per common measures such as per 100 grams or per a normal serving.

Food, calcium per 100 grams
Food, calcium per 100 grams
parmesan (cheese) = 1140 mg
milk powder = 909 mg
goat hard cheese = 895 mg
Cheddar cheese = 720 mg
tahini paste = 427 mg
molasses = 273 mg
almonds = 234 mg
collard greens = 232 mg
kale = 150 mg
goat milk = 134 mg
sesame seeds (unhulled) = 125 mg
nonfat cow milk = 122 mg
plain whole-milk yogurt = 121 mg
Food, calcium per 100 grams
Food, calcium per 100 grams
hazelnuts = 114 mg
tofu, soft = 114 mg
beet greens = 114 mg
spinach = 99 mg
ricotta (skimmed milk cheese) = 90 mg
lentils = 79 mg
chickpeas = 53 mg
eggs, boiled = 50 mg
orange = 40 mg
human milk = 33 mg
rice, white, long-grain = 19 mg
beef = 12 mg
cod = 11 mg
Measurement in blood

The amount of calcium in blood (more specifically, in blood plasma) can be measured as total calcium, which includes both protein-bound and free calcium. In contrast, ionized calcium is a measure of free calcium. An abnormally high level of calcium in plasma is termed hypercalcemia and an abnormally low level is termed hypocalcemia, with “abnormal” generally referring to levels outside the reference range.

Reference ranges for blood tests for calcium
Target Lower limit Upper limit Unit
Ionized calcium 1.03, 1.10 1.23, 1.30 mmol/L
4.1, 4.4 4.9, 5.2 mg/dL
Total calcium 2.1, 2.2 2.5, 2.6, 2.8 mmol/L
8.4, 8.5 10.2, 10.5 mg/dL

The main methods to measure serum calcium are:

The total amount of Ca2+ present in a tissue may be measured using Atomic absorption spectroscopy, in which the tissue is vaporized and combusted. To measure Ca2+ concentration or spatial distribution within the cell cytoplasm in vivo or in vitro, a range of fluorescent reporters may be used. These include cell permeable, calcium-binding fluorescent dyes such as Fura-2 or genetically engineered variant of green fluorescent protein (GFP) named Cameleon.

Corrected calcium

As access to an ionized calcium is not always available a corrected calcium may be used instead. To calculate a corrected calcium in mmol/L one takes the total calcium in mmol/L and adds it to ((40 minus the serum albumin in g/L) multiplied by 0.02). There is, however, controversy around the usefulness of corrected calcium as it may be no better than total calcium. It may be more useful to correct total calcium for both albumin and the anion gap.

Calcium in the periodic table

Atomic number (Z) 20
Group group 2 (alkaline earth metals)
Period period 4
Block   s-block
Electron configuration [Ar] 4s2
Electrons per shell 2, 8, 8, 2

Physical properties

Physical properties
Phase at STP solid
Melting point 1115 K ​(842 °C, ​1548 °F)
Boiling point 1757 K ​(1484 °C, ​2703 °F)
Density (near r.t.) 1.55 g/cm3
when liquid (at m.p.) 1.378 g/cm3
Heat of fusion 8.54 kJ/mol
Heat of vaporisation 154.7 kJ/mol
Molar heat capacity 25.929 J/(mol·K)

Vapour pressure

P (Pa) 1 10 100 1 k 10 k 100 k
at T (K) 864 956 1071 1227 1443 1755

Atomic properties

Atomic properties
Oxidation states +1, +2 (a strongly basic oxide)
Electronegativity Pauling scale: 1.00
Ionisation energies
  • 1st: 589.8 kJ/mol
  • 2nd: 1145.4 kJ/mol
  • 3rd: 4912.4 kJ/mol
  • (more)
Atomic radius empirical: 197 pm
Covalent radius 176±10 pm
Van der Waals radius 231 pm

Other properties

Other properties
Natural occurrence primordial
Crystal structure ​face-centred cubic (fcc)
Speed of sound thin rod 3810 m/s (at 20 °C)
Thermal expansion 22.3 µm/(m·K) (at 25 °C)
Thermal conductivity 201 W/(m·K)
Electrical resistivity 33.6 nΩ·m (at 20 °C)
Magnetic ordering diamagnetic
Magnetic susceptibility +40.0·10−6 cm3/mol[4]
Young’s modulus 20 GPa
Shear modulus 7.4 GPa
Bulk modulus 17 GPa
Poisson ratio 0.31
Mohs hardness 1.75
Brinell hardness 170–416 MPa
CAS Number 7440-70-2


Discovery and first isolation Humphry Davy (1808)

The name “calcium” is derived from the Latin word calx . This is how the Romans called lime, limestone, chalk and mortar made from lime ( building lime ).

Elemental calcium was first obtained by Humphry Davy in 1808 by evaporating the mercury from electrolytically obtained calcium amalgam.

Main isotopes of calcium

Main isotopes of calcium
Iso­tope Abun­dance Half-life (t1/2) Decay mode Pro­duct
40Ca 96.941% stable
41Ca trace 9.94×104 y ε 41K
42Ca 0.647% stable
43Ca 0.135% stable
44Ca 2.086% stable
45Ca syn 162.6 d β 45Sc
46Ca 0.004% stable
47Ca syn 4.5 d β 47Sc
48Ca 0.187% 6.4×1019 y ββ 48Ti

Periodic Table of Elements | Complete List of Chemical Elements by Group, Name, Symbol, Color and Type

Periodic Table of Elements | Complete List of Chemical Elements by Group, Name, Symbol, Color and Type

Sources: Royal Society of Chemistry

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Photo explanations: Crystals of pure 99,99% Calcium. Crystals of calcium stored in a protective atmosphere.

Exit mobile version