Parathyroid and Calcitonin: the role in calcium balance

The parathyroid glands are found on the thyroid itself, there are four of them to be exact. These glands although of insignificant size, equivalent to a grain of rice play a huge role in how our bodies absorb and manage calcium. Calcium is a mineral that is necessary not only to keep our bones solid but it also plays a part in heart function and contraction of muscle tissue. The parathyroids produce a hormone named parathyroid hormone (how original is that?) Although ordinary in name, this hormone is responsible for letting your body know how much calcium to absorb, put in the bones, or if necessary how much to remove from the bones. It even communicates with the kidneys letting them know when to keep calcium instead of excreting it in the urine.  These hormones are produced in response to levels of calcium in the blood. As you can imagine if anything goes wrong with these tiny glands it can really throw the body off track. The thyroid on the other hand is also keeping calcium levels in check through a hormone named calcitonin. This hormone plays its role by decreasing calcium levels in the blood either by signaling the body to place calcium in the bone, preventing absorption in the digestive track, or communicating the need for further excretion of calcium by the kidneys. Isn’t it amazing? It is called biofeedback.

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