What Does Calcium ATPase Have To Do With Age-Related Diseases?

Older man doing yoga shows good health and healthy Calcium ATPase

In short, everything!

As we age, Calcium ATPase levels decline in many tissues throughout the body, including the brain, the heart, the blood vessels, the bladder, and the skeletal muscles.  

Reduced Calcium ATPase levels play a major role in many age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s, heart failure, high blood pressure, muscle weakness and bladder problems.

Here is a breakdown of how Calcium ATPase levels figure into age-related diseases.

The Brain  & Decreased Calcium ATPase Levels

The aging brain has decreased Calcium ATPase levels in the cortex, striatum and hippocampus. As a result of reduced Calcium ATPase levels, intracellular calcium levels increase beyond optimal levels. Age-related increases in brain calcium are linked to many degenerative brain diseases, including Alzheimer’s. 

In the brain, calcium is fundamental to the control of synaptic activity and memory formation. Properly controlled homeostasis of calcium signaling not only supports normal brain physiology, but also maintains neuronal integrity and long term cell survival.  

How Low Calcium ATPase Levels Affect Cardiac Health  

As we age, Calcium ATPase levels decline substantially in cardiac muscle tissue.  It is the primary factor in heart failure.  When the heart muscle does not have adequate Calcium ATPase levels, it cannot relax after contraction.  In addition, it can fully contract on the next beat.  The mismatch between contraction and relaxation reduces the heart’s ability to pump efficiently, ultimately resulting in heart failure.

Skeletal Muscle & Ca2 + ATPase

Calcium ATPase levels are significantly reduced in aging skeletal muscle.  Reduced Calcium ATPase levels in these movement muscles lead to quicker muscle fatigue and to lower baseline strength.  Interestingly, the decline in Calcium ATPase levels also affects the contraction and relaxation of the diaphragm, which compromises our ability to breathe well as we age.

Low Levels Of  Ca2 + ATPase & Your Eyes

Calcium ATPase maintains optimal calcium levels in the lenses of our eyes. Decreased Calcium ATPase results in increased calcium levels in the lens, leading to lens opacification, the cloudiness we know as cataracts. Studies of cataract models suggest that decreases in Calcium ATPase are concurrent with cataract development.

Calcium ATPase Levels & Bladder Function

Calcium ATPase levels are on average 40% lower in bladders of men with bladder dysfunction, as compared to men of similar age with normal function.  In women, reduced estrogen levels are associated with reduced bladder Calcium ATPase levels, which correspond to severity of bladder dysfunction.

Can Low Levels Of  Calcium ATPase Effect Sleep?

As we age, Calcium ATPase levels decline in the pineal gland.  Two things occur as a direct result:  The first and most immediate is reduced melatonin secretion, which is disruptive to both quality and quantity of sleep.  Secondly,  long term shortfalls of Calcium ATPase levels can lead to pineal gland calcification.


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Calcium Atpase (CA2+ATPASE Molecule) - Illustration