Concerned about Bone Health? Calcium Supplements may not be the answer….

Sometimes a healthy diet is not enough to keep our bodies healthy. Even with nutrient-dense foods, our bodies often require supplements. However, some of the most frequently recommended supplements are ineffective at best or dangerous at worst. Chris Kresser, integrative medical practitioner, argued in a recent article that Calcium supplements are not only unnecessary, but also harmful. The following newsletter will sum-up Kresser’s ideas and provide a road map for navigating true bone health.


Do Calcium supplements prevent osteoporosis?

 

There is little evidence that this is true. While many older women take products such as Viactiv and Caltrate to maintain bone health and prevent osteoporosis, there is no strong evidence to support the claim that these supplements work. In fact, a study conducted by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition actually found that calcium supplements might even increase the rate of hip fractures in older women.


Calcium Supplements: Associated with Heart Disease

 

 

Though dietary intake of calcium protects against heart disease, supplemental calcium intake may actually increase it. A study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) of 24,000 men and women between 35-64 years found that users of calcium supplements actually increased their risk of heart attack during the 11-year study period by 139%.


Why do Calcium Supplements Correlate with Heart Disease?

 

 

It seems surprising that the same substance in moderately different forms would have such drastically different effects. Researchers suspect that high doses of calcium in the supplements may calcify the arteries, unlike calcium in food. When calcium builds up on the interior walls of the arteries, the arteries narrow which reduces the blood flow and leads to the manifestation of heart disease symptoms.


4 Other Risks: Calcium Kidney Stones, Prostate Cancer, Lead Contamination

 

 

1.      The Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) lists increase prostate cancer risk and increase in kidney stones associated with excess calcium consumption.

 

2.      A Swedish study reported a higher risk of death among women with high calcium intakes.

3.      Extra calcium is not absorbed by the bones, but rather excreted in the urine, which increases the risk of calcium kidney stones.

4.      A Consumer Lab analysis found lead contamination and mislabeled supplement bottles.


Calcium Supplements: Hiding in Conventional Food

 

Just because you aren’t popping calcium supplement in pill form does not mean you are not at risk of over-exposure. Calcium supplements can be found in

 

1.      Orange juice

2.      breakfast cereals

3.      non-dairy milk

4.      bread

5.      instant oatmeal

6.      graham crackers

7.      multivitamins


3 Ways to Maintain Healthy Bones without Supplements

1. Get calcium from foods like:

 

- dairy products

 

- sardines

- salmon

- dark leafy greens

- bone broth


2. Get enough Vitamin D and Vitamin K2:

 

Both vitamins are necessary for the regulation of calcium metabolism.


3.Get enough Silica and Magnesium.

4. Weight-bearing exercise:

 

 helps strengthen bones.


Digestive Health Ann Arbor: We can help

 

Sufficient calcium intake is actually a question of absorption, not consumption.  Often we eat enough calcium-rich foods or take enough calcium supplements, but because of a digestive disorder or food allergy the calcium does not absorb properly. Crucial to bone health maintenance is digestive health maintenance. If you struggle with osteoporosis or general concerns about bone strength, Digestive Health Ann Arbor can build a strategic plan to getting your health back on track.


Please call 734-726-0153 to schedule a free consultation and evaluation. At Digestive Health Ann Arbor we are known for providing professional and compassionate care. We strive to guide people towards a comprehensive and holistic healing strategy. Restoring your body to health will restore the quality of your life.

 

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References: 

[i] http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-HealthProfessional/

[ii] http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f228

[iii] http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/94/1/5.full

[iv] [iv] https://www.consumerlab.com/results/print.asp?reviewid=calcium