Calcium… The Foundation of Good Bones & Good Health
We are all aware that calcium is required in the body for maintaining strong bones & teeth.
Yes ! Calcium is the foundation mineral in bones; although, the consumption of calcium alone does not build bones.
Most people eat enough dietary calcium. The problem lies more with “are they able to utilise the calcium that they eat?
To utilise calcium in the body we also require other essential nutrients. Vitamins & minerals such as Magnesium, Phosphorus, Vitamin D3 & Vitamin K2 are crucial.
Theses nutrients all work synergistically to enable proper metabolic function and to build higher bone structure & density.
Did you know that calcium is also needed to keep us alive?
6 more Reasons we need Calcium
- Nerve signalling
- Normal cell function
- Blood pressure
- Heart rhythms
- Muscle function
- Blood clotting
Calcium Deficiency (hypocalcemia)
Everyone’s heard of osteoporosis (also known as brittle bone disease). But! there is also a very similar condition called Osteomalacia!
Difference between Osteomalacia & Osteoporosis
Osteomalacia (Caused by Vitamin D Deficiency)
Osteomalacia occurs in both adults and children. It is caused by a deficiency in calcium and phosphorus due to a deficiency in Vitamin D.
Having inadequate vitamin D prevents the normal mineralisation of calcium and phosphorous required to build strong bones.
This causes the bones to soften and become weak; increasing likelihood of fracture. In children this condition is well known as “Rickets”.
Osteoporosis (Many Contributing Factors)
Osteoporosis occurs mostly in women aged 65 years and older and is defined by a reduction in bone mineral density. This is where there is a breakdown in the matrix of the bone, faster than it can rebuild.
This matrix is a fibrous protein structure upon which mineralisation occurs. As this fibrous protein matrix deteriorates; the minerals cannot be held. Gradually over time the bone mineral density is lost; bones then become porous and brittle.
An inadequate amount of dietary calcium over time may lead to osteoporosis. Further to having an inadequate intake; there are many other factors that may contribute to its development.
8 Factors that may Contribute to Developing Osteoporosis
- Vitamin & mineral deficiencies / Imbalances
- Excess alcohol consumption
- Hormonal imbalances
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Intestinal disorders / Gastric bypass
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Kidney disease
- Medications may influence the delicate calcium balance.
Medications Influence on Blood Calcium Levels
Drugs that may Raise Calcium Levels (hypercalcemia)
- Thiazide diuretic (water pill) used to treat fluid retention (oedema). Promotes urine flow; resulting in reduction in urinary calcium excretion.
- Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as nexium may deplete calcium & Increase the risk of bone fracture
- Lithium used to treat Bipolar Disorder may raise your blood calcium.
- Vitamin D – Too much vitamin D (Hypervitaminosis D) can cause abnormally high levels of calcium in the blood.
- Osteoporosis Medications
- Ulcer Medications
10 Signs & Symptoms of Calcium Imbalance to Look out For
- Cognitive issues – memory, confusion, anxiety, depression
- Muscle spasms
- Cramping in the back & legs
- Numbness & tingling in the hands and feet
- Brittle nails
- Coarse hair
- Dry skin
- Decreased bone density
Many people have weak bones and don’t even know it!
Risk Vs Benefit of Calcium Supplementation
There is still a lot of controversy when it comes to taking calcium supplements. Some studies reveal that they may actually be very detrimental and even dangerous.
Problems with Calcium Supplementation
calcium supplements may indirectly cause your blood pressure to increase
Research now shows that calcium supplementation may actually increase the risk of cardiovascular events, especially myocardial infarction. Thereby, a reassessment of the role of calcium supplements in osteoporosis management is warranted.
Consuming the necessary amounts of calcium is essential to maintaining strong and healthy bones. But you don’t need to be consuming dairy to get your daily intake.
One of the most common questions asked by people who are considering removing dairy from their diet is:
“but without dairy, where will I get my calcium?”
Most vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and dried fruit contain calcium.
10 Sources of Dietary Calcium
- Sesame seeds, including tahini
- Dark leafy greens e.g. spinach, kale, cabbage, broccoli
- Pulses e.g. white beans, chickpeas & black-eyed peas
- Egg yolk & Powdered eggshells
- Sardines, canned salmon
- Legumes e.g. soya beans
- Fruit e.g. oranges, figs, apricots, kiwi, pears, prunes, dates
The Dairy Calcium Myth
For the last forty years or so Australians have been bombarded with a plethora of advertising campaigns from the dairy industry promoting milk & dairy as the ideal source of dietary calcium; especially for growing children.
Even going as far as to say dairy is an essential dietary “Food Group”.
The countries that consume the most dairy also have the most osteoporosis
We are all familiar with the government guidelines, their “Food Pyramids” that have been brainwashed into us over the years. Everyone believed this as fact, it was taught in schools, we didn’t have reason back then to question it.
The dairy-free movement is going mainstream! A new CSIRO study has revealed that millions of Australians are choosing kinder milk, cheese and yoghurt.
BEFORE YOU GO!