Calcium is an essential nutrient and an alkaline mineral. Its most known function is maintaining strong bones and teeth. It is also one of the key components of our hair, and nails.
Almost all calcium is stored in bones and teeth but very little in other body tissues. It means that we need to make sure that this mineral does accumulate in the soft tissues of the body, such as the brain or arteries.
Key Causes of Deficiency
Sugar has been known to impair the body’s uptake and utilization of Calcium thus increasing the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures. Sugar creates an acidic blood forcing our body to reduce this excessive acidity by pulling calcium from bones. In this way, it weakens them.
Deficiency is also common in people who regularly use stimulants such as caffeine. Caffeine and other methylxanthines found in coffee, tea, and chocolate, significantly reduce calcium absorption from foods.
The same is true for alcoholic beverages. Alcohol contributes to this problem by lowering the levels of Vitamin D which is required for proper absorption of Calcium. The alcohol-induced decrease in activated vitamin D results in decreased absorption of Calcium. The levels of this mineral return to normal as a result of abstinence from alcohol.
The deficiency takes place when our body is forced to take this mineral from our bones. It happens especially when our diet is deficient in it and when it is too high in animal protein (especially milk and dairy).
The problem is that the high animal protein diet creates a very acidic environment. As a result, our body tries to reduce the acidity by using Calcium stored in the bones. In this way, it leads to the deficiency of this mineral in the bones causing their weakness (1).
This is why countries like the USA, Sweden, Norway, New Zealand, and Australia, where dairy consumption is the highest in the world, exhibit the highest prevalence of osteoporosis and hip fractures.
Also, Eskimo women, whose diets are very rich in animal protein, experience some of the highest rates of osteoporosis-related bone fractures among all population groups (2).
Conversely, individuals residing in rural areas of Asia and Africa, whose diets primarily consist of unprocessed plant-based foods with no or minimal animal protein, have the lowest rates of osteoporosis and hip fractures.
Unlike plant foods rich in protein, such as legumes, animal protein is high in sulfur compounds that generate acid during digestion, leading to acidosis. Consequently, our bodies attempt to counter the excessive acidity by using calcium phosphate stored in the bones, making them weaker.
This means that individuals who consume calcium in milk and dairy products on a regular basis may lose more calcium than they ingest.
- Slower child growth and development
- Brittle, weakened bones
- Susceptibility to bone fractures
- Muscle spasms and muscle cramps
- Formation of blood clots and reduced blood flow
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Increased risk of high blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeat
- Risk of falling
Best Food Sources of Calcium
Although dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are recommended as the best source of this mineral, it is not true. Due to high content of animal protein, these products contribute to the deficiency of Calcium and poor bone health.
Much better dietary sources of this mineral are leafy greens, sesame seeds, grains (such as amaranth), and legumes.
Possible Health Benefits
Calcium is necessary for strong bones and teeth. It increases bone density reducing the occurrence of osteoporosis. Almost 80 percent of people with bone fractures are deficient in this mineral (3).
It prevents our muscles from being either underactive or overactive (from going into spasms). A similar problem can be caused by the deficiency of Magnesium and Vitamin D.
Not only deficiency but also excess may cause muscles to contract too much. For this reason, Calcium supplements should taken in moderation and always with Magnesium, Vitamin D3, and Vitamin K2 MK-7.
It releases brain neurotransmitters responsible for controlling nerve signalling and muscle contractions. It is required for the normal release of blood sugar which is the main fuel used by the nerve cells and muscles (3).
Maintenance of Blood Glucose
Together with Vitamin D, Calcium is used by the human body to support pancreatic beta cells to control normal insulin secretion. In this way, it helps maintain healthy blood glucose levels and prevent diabetes.
- carbonate belongs to a group of medications called antacids. It is commonly used to help individuals with heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, or other conditions caused by too much stomach acid. It works by reducing the amount of acid in the stomach.
It plays a vital role in the regulation of normal heartbeat as it is required for proper muscle function and nerve transmission (3).
Together with Magnesium, it may help reduce excessive uterine cramps, headaches, and irritability associated with PMS (4).
Insufficient levels tend to elevate blood pressure whereas supplementation with Calcium may help lower high blood pressure (5).
It is involved in maintaining normal blood pressure because it helps dilate arteries and send nerve impulses from the brain to the heart.
It is much more effective when combined with Magnesium and Vitamin D3.
Supports normal body weight by helping control appetite and boosting fat metabolism (6). This beneficial effect seems to be stronger when it is combined with Vitamin D. It was shown that together they may reduce hunger and increase fat metabolism (7).
It is possible that Calcium, like Vitamin D, may play a role in reducing the risk of death from different types of cancers (8, 9, 10).
It is required in the body for the process leading to the death of cancer cells. Calcium deficiency is regarded as one of the reasons why this process may not be efficient.
Recommended Daily Intake
Children: 200–700 mg per day depending on age.
Teenagers: 1,200-1,300 mg daily.
Adults under 50: 1000 mg daily.
Adults over 50: 1200 mg daily.
A sensible dose of supplemental Calcium should be about 500 mg once or twice daily.
Don’t take 1000 mg of Calcium in one go as we can absorb only 500 mg at a time.
Unfortunately, too much supplemental Calcium may increase the risk of calcification of soft tissue and associated health problems (hardening of arteries, kidney stones, arthritis, etc.). To prevent this risk, always take supplemental Calcium together with Vitamin K2 MK-7.
Osteozin (HealthAid) is an excellent formulation because it contains well-absorbed forms of Calcium combined with Magnesium, Zinc, Boron, Vitamin D3 and Vitamin K2.
Key Supplemental Forms
Calcium Carbonate - an alkaline inorganic form found in hard water, rocks, and shells of marine organisms.
It is a good antacid because it uses up stomach acid. However, if you are not producing excess stomach acid, use citrate.
Calcium Citrate is regarded as organic and the best-bioavailable form because it does not require extra stomach acid for absorption. However, if you suffer from heartburn, it is probably better to avoid it.
Calcium Gluconate is another organic form but contains a lower concentration of bioavailable Calcium than carbonate or citrate.
Calcium Lactate is used as an antacid but with a low amount of elemental Calcium.
Calcium Ascorbate (found in HealthAid Esterfied) – consists of vitamin C bound with Calcium. It is an alkaline form of vitamin C which provides elemental Calcium. It is an organic form that doesn’t require stomach acid. It is excellent, especially for those who suffer from heartburn and can’t take regular vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid.
Dolomite, Oyster Shell, and Coral Calcium - naturally occurring inorganic (high in carbonate) forms that may be contaminated with heavy metals.
Our body absorbs this mineral better when it is taken with Vitamin D3, Vitamin K, Magnesium, and Phosphorous.
Calcium absorption declines if we are deficient in Vitamin C.
- Veith, W., Conradie, R., Hough, F.S. 1997. The influence of dietary crude protein intake on bone and mineral metabolism in sheep.
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