Calcium and Anxiety: Could a Deficiency Be Behind Your Symptoms?

Living with anxiety can be a difficult and painful experience. When you suffer from anxiety, it can impact your day-to-day activities and make it difficult to know how to proceed. An effective anxiety-management game plan, first involves exploring the possible root causes of your anxiety. One common cause often overlooked: nutritional deficiencies.

Nutritional deficiencies can play a major role in causing anxiety. Research has shown that a deficiency in calcium and anxiety symptoms can be closely related.

The Calcium-Anxiety Connection

Calcium is necessary for our bodies to function properly. Because calcium is needed for healthy brain function, calcium deficiency can lead to anxiety and moodiness. The electrical pulses within the nervous system depend on calcium to perform properly. When a calcium deficiency compromises the nervous system, the chances of irregular moods and anxiety attacks increase significantly. Calcium deficiency, also known as hypocalcemia, can masquerade as anxiety or exacerbate symptoms in those who already have anxiety. Low blood calcium can result in muscle cramping, lethargy, shaking, numb fingers and toes with tingling, and heart palpitations – symptoms also associated with anxiety. Depression and anxious thoughts can result from calcium deficiency as well.

Calcium deficiency most commonly occurs from not eating enough calcium-rich foods and supplements. Taking in too much protein and sodium can also cause your body to excrete calcium. When calcium levels are too low, your body has trouble absorbing calcium you do get from the foods you eat. As you age, your body’s ability to absorb calcium lowers naturally. Consider calcium supplements to combat these factors to avoid a calcium deficiency.

Low calcium levels can affect your sense of well-being and cause changes in your behavior. Again, lethargy, anxiety, jitters, depression and irritability are common. These symptoms can be subtle at times and you may feel a general sense that something is wrong.

Recommended Daily Calcium Intake

The recommended daily calcium intake varies based on age and sex.

–       Men ages 19-70 — 1,000 mg per day

–       Men ages 70 and over — 1,200 mg per day

–       Women ages 19-50 — 1,000 mg per day

–       Women ages 51 and over — 1,200 mg per day

Keep in mind that a calcium daily intake over 2,500 mg may cause an upset stomach and constipation. It is also important to note that calcium and magnesium taken at the same time can cancel each other out. If you also supplement with magnesium, taking each at different times of the day will solve this problem. Since magnesium aids in sleep, it is better to take it at night. Taking calcium during the day is the better choice.

Vitamin D and Calcium

vitamin D, depression, SAD, seasonal depression, sun, anxiety, low calcium, calcium deficiency, sun deficiency, vitamin D deficiency, happiness, sadness, seasonal affective disorderVitamin D helps to maintain calcium levels by aiding with calcium absorption, and assists with muscle control and nervous system regulation. Your skin synthesizes vitamin D when it’s exposed to direct sunlight. The correct dosage of vitamin D varies for each person. Factors such as age, the fairness of your skin and how much sunlight you are exposed to should be considered. In general, it’s recommended that men and women under age 50 take in between 400 and 800 IU per day. Ages 50 and older should get between 800-1,000 IU per day.

Getting Enough Calcium and Vitamin D

You can increase your calcium intake with:

  • Milk and dairy products
  • Green vegetables such as kale, arugula and broccoli
  • Bony fish (salmon and sardines)
  • Soybeans and tofu
  • White beans
  • Almonds
  • Enriched foods such as breads and grains
  • Oatmeal
  • Fortified cereals
  • Fortified orange juice and soy milk
  • Sesame and sunflower seeds

Foods rich in Vitamin D include:

  • Fatty fish (mackerel and salmon)
  • Beef liver
  • Mushrooms
  • Cheese
  • Fortified foods

Avoid excess calcium by checking food and supplement labels to understand how much calcium you are ingesting daily. Do not exceed the recommended upper limit. Calcium supplements that contain vitamin D help increase your calcium levels safely. Preventing calcium deficiency, while maintaining safe calcium levels, can help to decrease anxiety and depression while keeping your body healthy.
The Natural Guide to Anxiety Free Living

19 thoughts on “Calcium and Anxiety: Could a Deficiency Be Behind Your Symptoms?

  1. Interesting.. I read that most anxiety was caused by to much Glutamate and to little GABA in the brain. I also read that Glutamate uses calcium in brain’s neurotransmitters to excite the brain causing anxiety. I think the main reason for most anxiety is glutamic acid decarboxylase(GAD) defficency.

    1. I bet it’s different for each person. We have to rule out certain things when we are looking for a solution to our health problems. In my case , glutamate wouldn’t be the issue. I have studied certain things and am open to studying more, but I know from my studies to avoid glutamate containing things, and so I rule it out. I have been an insomniac for a.numver of years, and my issues are adrenal fatigue and hypothyroid. My alternative MD had to convince me to take Celtic salt on a regular basis ( it has 13 minerals) even though I don’t crave salt, but my sodium levels always show low on my blood work. And a stressed adrenal throws out my minerals. Many of them, so I must take kelp meal and Celtic salt. I have been on high magnesium doses for cramps ( also could be a sodium issue) and vitamin D for the same reason, later when the ulcers hit ( related to the adrenal) , I had to add potassium. I hadn’t seriously considered calcium. I drank a lot of milk as a child and didn’t have these issues, and many online nutritional sources kind of assume we get enough calcium but we really need magnesium to help it work. Well, calcium is a basic so I guess I’ll try that too. Couldn’t hurt. ( I would drink more milk now, but we are transitioning our goats to home pasture and the babies are all drinking my milk right now) .
      I learned I had left out sulfur until recently. The books and articles never talked about sulfur. It’s a basic too. But I caught Stephanie Seneff’s interview with Dr Mercola and I was hooked. She’s a lot of info.

    1. Are you a dialysis patient? Sorry, I know it’s kind of a personal question… and 2 years I am on dialysis and I’ve also had all but one little piece of my parathyroid removed. Be careful not taking your calcium, I’ve had crazy bad seizures from low calcium in the past.

  2. In 1990 I was diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism and my parathyroid s were removed, all but a piece of one remained. Was told to take double regular dose of calcium, but have to admit, I get to feeling great, and don’t take the calcium. This article clearly opened my eyes and makes so much sense in how I feel when I skip taking my calcium with vitamin D. Thank you so much!

      1. Probably a doctor. They are so into removing things , important things, before considering the simple fixes first. But know out of 129 med schools in the US, only 29 have any sort of nutrient classes at all. It’s not a requirement.

  3. Thank you for always sharing such good information that makes sense. Very simple and easy to understand. I really appreciate how the owners of Tranquilene goes beyond just selling the product.


  5. Thanks a lot for this info. I was struggling with severe panic attacks and dizziness and severe chills for very long time. Then doctors diagnosed me having hypothyroidism and calcium and vitamin d deficiency. You are 100% correct. Calcium deficiency had caused me severe anxiety and panic attacks.

  6. Hi, my name is Trevor and I’m 50 yrs ole. I have been experiencing heart palpitations daily and anxiety. At time my fingers tingle, toes, the musle ache, I have dizziness, weakness. The left side of my neck up to my head tingle and feels tight and number as it spreads to my right side and face. I sleep for 2 to 3 hrs. I have anxiety and fear. I’ve seen to the er serval times this yr one being today. Everything was normal. I also was diagnosed with sarcoidosis 25 yrs ago and have upper lung sacaring to both lungs and the right is the worst. I do have low vitemen D levels. My blood panel of my calcium is *2.3. my heart is fine and brain too. Is a calcium level of *2.3 could be the cause of heart palpitations, numbness in fingers, toes, dizziness? Thank you!

    1. Hello Trevor. Thank you for writing in!

      Legally we cannot give you specific medical advice; therefore, these are great questions for your healthcare practitioner or pharmacist.

      Warm Regards!

    2. Trevor, have you tried talking to a naturopathic doctor? They tend to be good about testing for and recommending different vitamins and minerals.

  7. Trevor, a regular doctor as well as a naturopath will probably confirm that Vitamin D deficiency causes your symptoms. It keeps the calcium from working in your body. Indeed, I have a Vitamin D deficiency and I experience the symptoms you listed. (Minus the sarcoidosis.) Best wishes!

  8. Man this is crazy, I am 29 years old, 6″2 , 240 pds…..have been having horrible chest or ❤ palpitations, always tired and lethargic, and twitching in my hands and toes with sever anxiety. Been to the ER twice, given an ekg twice as well as xray and blood pannel and was told Everything was good. Came across this post and it really clicked with me….I haven’t been drinking milk for the past 5 years, and I eat alot of protein….I wonder if , low calcium and vitamin D play a big role in all of my symptoms. Back to the Doctor on monday, I will definitly bring this up. Thank you for the great info, pray for me because these symptoms have been taking over my life for the past mont or so.

    1. Hi Adam, thank you for sharing your story! We hope you are doing better! Please let us know if there is anything we can do for you!

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