Lack of Calcium (HYPOCALCEMIA)

Lack of Calcium (HYPOCALCEMIA) in babies and children 


Calcium deficiency (lack of calcium or hypocalcemia) is quite common among infants and children, primarily since it can be associated with insufficient vitamin D. Find out what calcium is needed in infants and children and the main signs and symptoms of hypocalcemia.

What are the roles of calcium for babies and children?

Calcium is essential in the mineralization of bones, and in the growth and development of the child.

Also, calcium is an enzyme factor, intervenes in the metabolism of other minerals in the body (such as magnesium, and phosphorus), contributes to muscle contraction and relaxation, and is involved in blood coagulation.

All calcium plays an essential role in the health of teeth, and calcium metabolism is greatly influenced by vitamin D. This is precisely why doctors often recommend calcium supplementation along with vitamin D3.

Calcium is also involved in heart health.

What is the daily requirement of calcium according to age and sex?

People who do more sports have a higher need for calcium.

Here is the daily calcium requirement:

  • 0-6 months: 200 mg
  • 7-12 months: 260 mg
  • 1-3 years: 700 mg
  • 4-8 years: 1000 mg
  • 9-18 years: 1300 mg
  • 19-50 years: 1000 mg
  • Men: 51-70 years: 1000 mg
  • Women: 51-70 years: 1200 mg
  • > 70 years: 1200 mg
  • Pregnant or lactating teenagers: 1300 mg
  • Pregnant or lactating adult women: 1000 mg

How is the level of calcium in the body measured?

Calcium is usually measured by blood tests, often total and ionic calcium. Calcium can also be found in urine.

Signs and symptoms of calcium deficiency in babies and children

In infants and young children, the most common signs of calcium deficiency are:

Growth disorders

Late closure of the fontanelles

Delay in walking;

Excessive sweating, especially at night;

Sleeping disorders;

Disturbances in tooth eruption;

Muscle spasms.

In the older child, the lack of calcium in the body is often manifested by:

Poor results in sports activities;

Growth delays;

Muscle cramps and cramps;

The appearance of rapid muscle contractions (eye, cheek twitches)

Sleeping disorders

Disturbances regarding permanent teeth, their rapid decay;


Brittle nails and hair;

Neuropsychic symptoms, up to irritability, convulsions, depression;

Muscle pain;

Decreased sports and school performance;

What are the causes of calcium deficiency in babies and children?

In infants, early or too late weaning, early introduction of cow's milk (especially replacing breast milk or formula with cow's milk), lack of food variation, and intake of calcium-rich foods are the main sources.

In general, hypocalcemia is caused by a low intake of calcium from the diet, this cause being common both in infants and children and even in adults.

Also, the excessive consumption of salt or foods containing caffeine (cocoa, hot drinks with cocoa, chocolate, carbonated juices) disturbs the absorption of calcium in the body.

In some situations, there may be disorders of the endocrine glands that disrupt calcium metabolism.

Vitamin D deficiency is associated with calcium deficiency.

What are the foods rich in calcium, necessary in the diet of infants and children?

Among the foods of animal origin, very rich in calcium are cheeses, dairy products, and eggs, but also fish (especially the ones that can be eaten with bones, small fish). Bone broths are also very rich in calcium, and now networks of fish bone broths, also rich in calcium and phosphorus, are readily available on the Internet.

Among the vegetables, the richest in calcium are:

  • Nuts and seeds (can be crushed, ground, then added to yogurts, flours for homemade cakes, etc.);
  • Legumes: beans, peas, lentils;
  • Seaweed;
  • Cruciferous vegetables: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower;
  • Green leafy vegetables;
  • Some fruits, especially figs;
  • Molasses, which is also rich in magnesium;
  • Cereals for children, which are fortified with minerals (may have added calcium, iron, etc.).


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