Surprisingly, Research Points to Yes
It’s a common practice for health care practitioners to suggest a calcium supplement for various reasons. Women going through menopause, for example, are almost always suggested to begin a calcium regimen “to prevent osteoporosis.” But this suggestion may actually be flat out wrong.
In fact, research is now showing that this over use of calcium supplementation may be contributing to some shocking health problems. Among the most concerning parallels seen between calcium supplementation and disease is research showing a dramatic rise in heart attacks in women supplementing with calcium.
Read the Science Daily article, Calcium Supplements Linked to Significantly Increased Heart Attack Risk, Study Suggests.
How can this be? As Patrick Bailey, founder of Harmonic Innerprizes, points out, most manufacturers of supplemental calcium ignore the important fact that if calcium is consumed without significant amounts of magnesium, it will most likely be deposited in the soft tissues of the body and not into the bone matrix, where it was intended to go. Clearly this is a problem for several reasons. The first being that if there is not adequate magnesium present to “aide” the calcium into the bone matrix, your bones are not receiving the benefit of taking the calcium! Further, when calcium is not absorbed in the bone, thereby being absorbed in the soft tissue, it calcifies the soft tissue, contributing to problems like hardened arteries.
It’s true: The wrong calcium supplements can actually contribute to a heart attack.*
Dr. Guy E. Abraham M.D., groundbreaking researcher on the subject says:
“Osteoporosis is not more common in those parts of Asia and Africa where diets are relatively low in calcium (300-500 mg/day) than in Europe and North America where consumption of dairy products contributes to more than 1000 mg of calcium/day. When patients with severe osteoporosis were given massive doses of calcium they went into positive calcium balance, but radiographic studies revealed no changes in the osteoporotic process. Where did that calcium go? Obviously into the soft tissues where it does not belong.”
Read Dr. Abraham’s full article, The Calcium Controversy, from the Journal of Applied Nutrition.
Don’t We Need a Calcium Supplement?
But in the correct ratio with abundant other minerals like magnesium.
Dr. Abraham gives a breakdown on how important magnesium is to our cellular function (and therefore tissue and bone health):
“In order for the cell to maintain the proper magnesium/calcium ratio, several levels of regulation are available, acting on the removal of calcium from the cytoplasm. One such mechanism is the ATP-dependant calcium pump in the cell membrane. The other important mechanism is the transport of calcium inside the mitochondria. The mitochondria uptake of calcium is reversible if calcium concentrations in the microenvironment are kept below certain limits. Above these limits, calcification of mitochondria occurs with subsequent cellular death. In the presence of magnesium, the uptake of calcium by mitochondria can be slowed down. Since ATP utilization is magnesium-dependent, it becomes obvious that the calcium pump at the cell membrane is also magnesium-dependent. The generation of ATP itself through the glycolytic pathway is in part magnesium-dependent and inhibited by calcium.”
In fact, some of the healthiest populations of people have a diet relatively low in calcium. Bailey points out that back in the late 1970s, researchers noted that cultures without a history of skeletal diseases and very low occurrences of cardiovascular diseases ate diets where the amount of dietary magnesium always exceeded calcium.
In our culture, the opposite is true. We eat diets where calcium dominates magnesium by at least 2:1 and hence degenerative skeletal disease affects 80% of all Americans over 65 and cardiovascular disease is our #1 killer.*
The facts and statistics from the International Osteoporosis Foundation are staggering:
- An osteoporosis fracture every 3 seconds.
- Osteoporosis affects 200 million people worldwide; 75 million in Europe, USA & Japan.
- 1 out of 3 women will experience an osteoporosis fracture as well as one in five men.
- Just a 10% loss in bone density doubles the risk of a fracture.
- It is estimated by 2050 the rate of an osteoporosis related fracture will increase 310% for men and 240% for women.
- Women over 45 spend more days in the hospital for osteoporosis related complications than many other diseases including diabetes, heart attacks, or breast cancer.
What’s the best way to get a safe, healthy amount of calcium in my diet?
Simply put: In moderate amounts through food and food based supplements that are well balanced with other essential minerals like magnesium and silica.
Science Daily states, “It is now becoming clear that taking calcium in one or two large daily [doses] is not natural, in that it does not reproduce the same metabolic effects as calcium in food.” This is why it is so critical to use plant based supplements, so that your body can identify and absorb them. Further, Dr. Abraham reminds us that calcium requirements are increased by acidic diets high in protein and sulfur. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans today have a disproportionate amount of acid-ash foods in their diet. The more acidic a person’s diet is, the more minerals their body will require. If adequate calcium is not supplied via diet, the body will actually begin taking calcium from bone tissue. Over time, this can lead to osteoporosis, and as we know now, simply supplementing with a basic calcium supplement is not enough to amend the situation.
Dr. Abraham suggests that, “in order to increase the efficiency of the adaptation mechanism to low calcium intake, every attempt should be made to ingest foods containing a magnesium/calcium ratio of two or more, with neutral or alkaline ash, not excessive in phosphate, sulfur, proteins, refined sugar, fats and other substances that drain the body of both calcium and magnesium.”
Here’s a list of ingredients that must be present in any calcium formula for calcium to be delivered into the bone matrix.
- Magnesium must dominate calcium, even if it is as little as 10% – 20%.
- Vitamin D3 is important because it helps regulate calcium serum levels in the body. Must have at least 1,000 IUs.
- Vitamin K2 (menaquinone) provides additional assurances that calcium is not deposited on soft tissue.
- Organic silica is the most important trace element to build strong bones. It also strengthens all connective tissue and promotes healthy skin.
If any of these nutritional components are missing from your calcium supplement, you are significantly compromising your health.
Suggested Calcium and Magnesium Supplements
We offer magnesium in powder, liquid, and combined with calcium in the proper ratios in capsules or tablets. Here are just a few to get you started.
Stress-X Magnesium Powder in the form of magnesium citrate in two great tasting flavors that make it easy to get the extra magnesium needed for proper calcium absorption, or to support other health needs.
Ionic Magnesium Liquid Drops contain high quality magnesium with over 72 trace minerals and elements from ConcenTrace in a unique new proprietary process. This unique blend gives the body the type of minerals that it readily recognizes and absorbs fast because of its liquid Ionic state.*
Vitalzym + Professional Strength contains the same quality-blend formula of the original powder-based Vitälzȳm hybrid product, with the added health benefits of Magnesium. Magnesium has been known to help support healthy toxicity and energy levels, the absorption of calcium into the body and muscle relaxation.
Calcium from the Sea may very well be the best support your skeletal system has ever received! This dietary supplement is well suited for most vegetarians since all the mineral elements are plant based seaweeds and algae, or processed from the minerals of the sea. It’s carefully balanced with the proper amount of magnesium so that calcium is deposited into the bone matrix rather than the soft tissues of the body. All of the calcium in Calcium From the Sea is naturally occurring from select seaweeds and therefore it is in an easy to digest and easy to absorb, organic state.*
Cal/Mag Skeletal Rejuvenator is formulated for those at higher risk of degenerative skeletal diseases; either through genetic predisposition, postmenopausal women with hormonal imbalances, or those with the early symptoms of arthritis or osteoporosis. This superior formula is especially useful for people whose ancestry has a history of osteoporosis and/or bone fractures.*
Bone Health Advanced supports strong bone tissue, bone mineralization, and reduces the risk of bone tissue loss by providing a food-source calcium, along with Vitamin D, Vitamin K2, magnesium, and boron to support absorption and delivery into your bone tissue.*
Osteo Bone Health contains therapeutic dosages of essential nutrients, vitamins K1, K2, D3 and an alkalizing blend of potassium, spirulina, chlorella and alfalfa which may help support optimal bone density and maintain “calcium-favorable” pH levels.*