by Jonathon Miller, M. A., M.Div., natural health educator & author
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Calcium is the major mineral of the body. Called "the king of the minerals," calcium is basic to good health. Most are aware of calcium's role in dental health and strong teeth, bone density, bone healing and preventing osteoporosis.
More recently, research has linked calcium deficiency to susceptibility to stress, to aging and to degenerative diseases, such as allergies, heart disease, cancer and more.
Calcium is needed for every organ and cell to function. It is involved in most metabolic activities, and is essential for all the other minerals and nutrients to be utilized. Good calcium is crucial for a strong heart, calm nerves and restful sleep.
Calcium is necessary for the electrical charge of the heart beating. All muscles need it to move. DNA replication, a crucial part of body repair and youthfulness, depends on adequate calcium.
Calcium is an alkalizer. Perhaps the most important function of calcium is maintaining the proper pH of the body.
However, the calcium one consumes must be absorbable. To absorb calcium, it must be the right kind. Most calcium supplement products do not contain well absorbed calcium.
We have the best calcium products we have been able to find in over 40 years in the natural health field.
Calcium deficiency is widespread. Good calcium information is important for everyone.
Most people are calcium deficient. Better calcium intake is much needed. But only the right kind of calcium should be taken, and not too much! Only calcium that can really be used is worth taking.
After water, calcium is the next greatest substance in the body.
People think they are getting the calcium they need from consuming milk and dairy products, and calcium supplements, or multivitamins containing calcium. Actually, these are usually extremely poor sources, leaving people more deficient in calcium.
The common diet and stress are both acidifying, causing the body to be too acid. Soda pop and coffee are the worst offenders for most people. Over acidity is an unhealthy condition behind many of the illness problems that are rampant.
If there is not enough good ORGANIC calcium in the diet, bone density will diminish. The body will steal calcium from the bones and teeth to support the sensitive nerve tissues, and to maintain blood calcium levels.
Even the nerves will give up calcium as a last resort, to keep the blood from going too acid. Otherwise one would die.
Osteoporosis results from the body leaching calcium from skeletal tissues for these crucial needs.
Bone healing, stronger teeth, stronger heart and calmer nerves would be more likely just by avoiding acidifying beverages.
Most toxins are acidic. The resulting free radicals use up essential oxygen and leave us vulnerable to acute infections, and chronic degenerative diseases such as heart disease and cancer. By alkalizing, we neutralize the toxic acids, and free up oxygen. We can reduce illness and prevent osteoporosis.
Calcium is consumed in metabolism as well as being stored in the bones. If calcium of the right type is not provided sufficiently by intake, the body will take calcium from the bones to feed cells and protect the nerves. This is when calcium deficiency is becoming serious.
Once this begins, there can be a great amount of calcium released into the bloodstream, which can foster deposits such as bone spurs and kidney stones. At the same time, calcium deficiency is masked in blood tests by the higher levels of calcium in the blood.
Calcium deficiency can be a causative factor in bone density problems and other conditions, including the following common disorders:
~ bone fracture
~ tooth decay
~ kidney stones
~ loss of bone mass
~ deterioration of cartilage
~ osteoarthritis and joint pain
~ nerve, muscle and back pain
~ stress and anxiety
~ bone spurs and heel spurs
It has been established that the most significant causes of osteoporosis are soda pop and coffee consumption, smoking and physical inactivity. These contribute to over acidity of the body. Further, the phosphorus in colas can impede the absorption and use of calcium.
The osteoporosis epidemic has been worsened by fluoride, which is added to public water supplies and is contained in many food and beverage products and medicines. There is NO evidence that fluoride has a benefit for teeth, but plenty of evidence that it causes teeth and bones to become brittle!
On the other hand, the most valuable thing for increasing bone density is exercise, even simple walking. Exercise is more important than either the consumption of dairy products or common calcium supplements in terms of improving or maintaining bone density and preventing osteoporosis.
Click here for more information about the toxic mineral fluoride and affordable methods of removing it and other harmful poisons from the water in your home.
The Right Calcium Supplements
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Dietary minerals need to be organic, ionically-bonded in a food form, not in the form of purified ground rocks. The best food sources of calcium are organically-grown fresh fruits, vegetables and super foods, particularly kale, carrots and spirulina, as well as seeds and nuts.
As a secondary supplemental alternative "chelated" minerals are offered by the marketplace. In a special laboratory process these have been chemically-bonded with an agent that the body recognizes as food.
(NOTE: The term "chemical" does not only apply to synthetic chemicals. It refers to any interactions between elements and compounds, whether synthetic, natural, inorganic or organic. Everything in the body is a "chemical" compound with chemical bonds. Natural biological processes in the body are "biochemical" reactions.)
"Chelated" minerals, those bonded with food acids, are known to absorb better in the human body as they are recognized as food substances.
The forms of chelated calcium available are: calcium aspartate (an amino acid chelate), calcium lactate (the form found in raw milk and dairy products), calcium citrate (chelated with citric acid as found in citrus fruits), calcium gluconate (chelated with gluconic acid), calcium orotate (chelated with orotic acid), calcium ascorbate (chelated with ascorbic acid), and calcium malate (chelated with malic acid).
Although lab chelated minerals are better absorbed than "rock dust form", chelated minerals are still not as good as those in raw plant form.
The Wrong Calcium Supplements
Ground rocks such as calcium carbonate and dolomite, or ground oyster shells, are very poorly absorbed.
I DO NOT recommend the many "calcium added" food products such as orange juice, soy milk and cereals with extra calcium. This is most often not well-absorbed calcium, and there is a danger of getting too much calcium, as described below.
I especially DO NOT recommend calcium carbonate, dolomite, di-calcium phosphate, tri-calcium phosphate, oyster shell or bone meal calcium products. "Anti-acid" products touted for calcium are of the lowest quality and should be avoided. Any of these can contribute to calcium deposits and other health problems.
You have probably heard about "coral calcium". Now that coral calcium has been marketed for year, and gained a lot of attention, there is plenty of information based on independent analysis that shows that this is not the good stuff it is made out to be.
TOO MUCH CALCIUM, especially if it is inorganic calcium, may contribute to male prostate problems and cancer, according to recent research. It is thought that the high calcium uses up vitamin D, leaving an insufficient amount for other uses.
Further, extra calcium consumption is not necessarily helpful for osteoporosis. Results from seven different research projects have indicated that there are no significant reductions in bone fractures from increasing intake of calcium supplements.
In regard to osteoporosis, studies have shown that both consuming a lot of milk and dairy products AND taking supplemental calcium have resulted in GREATER incidence of osteoporosis! The countries with the most per capita calcium consumption have the greatest rates of osteoporosis!
It is likely that these results are based on the use of common inorganic calcium supplements and pasteurized or cooked milk and dairy products. (See below for information on ways of getting good, effective calcium.)
In the way of foods, as you know, dairy products are promoted (by the dairy producers) as the main foods for calcium. However, dairy foods often actually lower bone density.
As reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition back in 1985, the National Dairy Council sponsored a study which showed that the more milk women took in, the greater their bone loss!
Milk is usually homogenized, making it poorly digested. Further, milk and other dairy items are almost always pasteurized and often used in cooking, making them less well-digested and less nutritious, and more acidifying and mucus-forming in the body.
So milk and dairy foods are not digested well, and the calcium in them is has been ruined and is less available for use in the body than calcium from vegetable sources.
Bone Healing Supplements
The most valuable thing for increasing bone density is exercise, even simple walking. Exercise is more important than the consumption of calcium bone healing supplements in terms of improving or maintaining bone density and preventing osteoporosis.
New research suggests that potassium and magnesium as found in vegetables and fruits may be far more crucial to healthy bones than calcium intake.
There is a significant correlation between high levels of fruit and vegetable intake and bone density, unlike the NEGATIVE correlation with consuming dairy products and poor quality calcium supplements.
The traditional emphasis on higher calcium than magnesium is also distorted. Most calcium products provide magnesium in them, as supplemental calcium tends to bind up magnesium in the intestines.
There has long been evidence that the magnesium level in supplements should be higher than calcium. More recently researchers have determined that the magnesium should be much higher.
Why are vitamin D and magnesium usually recommended to be taken with calcium? These may or may not be needed at the same time as the calcium.
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, improving absorption of even the less-absorbable chelated or inorganic forms of calcium in the intestine.
Most people are deficient in vitamin D from too little exposure to the sun. We are indoors a lot, and when we go out we often use sunscreen due to concern about skin cancer, which blocks the UVB rays needed to act on the skin to form vitamin D.
In the normally alkaline pH of the small intestine, inorganic minerals tend to attract each other and form a sediment which itself is even more poorly absorbed. Thus inorganic calcium actually reduces the absorption of other minerals, especially magnesium.
Extra magnesium is often suggested or included with calcium to prevent other magnesium in the diet from being blocked by the calcium.
Poorly Absorbed Calcium
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for calcium is 1200 mg for ages 11-24, and 800 mg. for those over 30. This refers to the amount of "elemental calcium" in the diet.
Calcium is highly interactive with other elements, and is almost always found in a compound. The body must separate the elemental calcium out of these compounds to make it available to cells.
Research has shown that the body's cells can only utilize about 12.5 mg. of pure ORGANIC calcium in a day for their metabolism. The vast difference between the RDA figures and the small amount actually used suggests how poorly most calcium is absorbed.
What happens to all the excess calcium from the poorly absorbed calcium supplements that people are taking to try to get the RDA?
Most of it is not absorbed and remains in the intestine, perhaps contributing to the formation of cement-like deposits there.
The excess of what does get absorbed may form deposits in the body, including the arteries, and could block other crucially-needed minerals from getting into cells.And what about the cheap forms of calcium being added to orange juice, soy milk and other food products?
It is definitely possible to take too much of wrong types of calcium. The calcium in most supplements and food products is common inexpensive rock dust.
Rock forms of inorganic calcium, including calcium carbonate (chalk), oyster shell, dolomite, di-calcium phosphate, and "coral calcium", are extremely poorly absorbed.
An excess of such forms of calcium would bind up magnesium in the intestine, possibly throw off blood calcium levels, potentially form deposits in joints, arteries and other locations, and could disturb the nerves, which also need calcium.
The reason that conventional mineral supplements do not contain the RDA of calcium along with the RDA's of all the other minerals is that either the tablets or capsules would be too large to swallow, or you would have to take so many of them at once that it would be overwhelming.
A further problem is that calcium supplements of compounds found in nature such as dolomite, bone meal or coral calcium may contain heavy metals such as lead or mercury.
At the moment, calcium products are not tested by any regulatory agency for heavy metal content. Therefore, it's best to avoid these for this reason as well.
Calcium in Foods
Foods organically-grown on good soil have a far better mineral profile than those grown on deficient chemically-fertilized farms. Carrots, broccoli, kale and sesame seeds, organically-grown well, are some of the richest plant foods in calcium, yet they do not have anything near the calcium levels that people are trying to take in through supplements.
Also wheat, barley and kamut grass juices, fresh or in cold-dried powder form, are the most alkalizing of nutritional supplements, providing an array of organic minerals, including calcium AND magnesium.
Properly-raised spirulina, a highly nutritious edible algae, is one of the best super foods as well. 16 grams of Spirulina contains as much calcium as 16 grams of milk. It has 300% more calcium than found in chicken, and is a superior source of protein to meat, dairy products, soy products, or any other food. It is also rich in magnesium.
(CLICK HERE for more about spirulina.)
The calcium and other bone-building minerals in organic foods and super foods are far superior to the poorly absorbed calcium from coral, oyster shell, bone meal, dolomite (from limestone), di-calcium phosphate, tri-calcium phosphate or pure calcium carbonate (chalk), sold for many years in cheaply-made products to the calcium-seeking public.
Further, minerals are synergistic. For example, the trace mineral boron is needed for helping to retain calcium. And silica can be transmuted and form calcium as needed if the body is functioning well.
A variety of minerals are present together in vegetables and super foods. However, the minerals are only a portion of what is present there, along with vitamins, enzymes, pigments and phytonutrients.
The minerals in the normal intake of vegetables and super foods would not be all you would need.
What about milk and dairy products, the foods that have been touted for years as a source of calcium?
The calcium level in cow's milk is for supporting the structural growth of an animal that could weigh almost a ton! This is not an appropriate level or type of calcium for a human. And the calcium in dairy products, especially when altered by pasteurization, is not suitable for proper utilization in humans.
Best Calcium Supplements
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