Is Calcium off the hook?
- Created on Sunday, 17 February 2013 21:31
The Life Extension Foundation recently reported on a study that found no increased risk of heart disease in those taking calcium supplements. Some previous studies had claimed to find for that. '
It was a big relief to the LEF people and I suppose to all who take calcium. But, I still think it warrants being cautious with calcium. I take very little in supplement form- just the little bit that is in my multivitamin, and no calcium tablets, per se.
We have known all along that if your Vitamin D and hormone levels are in balance, that your blood calcium is going to be in the normal range no matter how much or how little calcium you consume. If necessary, the body will extract calcium from the bones in order to maintain the blood calcium- it being so crucial to so many vital functions, including the pumping of the heart itself.
But, we also know that from the blood, even with normal saturation, calcium can wind up in lots of other places besides bone. It is a pathological process, and it is also to some extent universal. Do you think there is anyone my age, 62, who doesn't have some pathologic calcinosis? I doubt it. I'm sure there is a wide range of severity, but I'll bet you that everybody has some, at least a little.
Does the amount of calcium coming in feed the process, that is, towards the pathological depositions? That is where the controversy lies, but I have to think that it weighs down on it to some degree. After all, every milligram of calcium you ingest has to go somewhere. Of course, some of it is excreted, since your urine contains calcium. But, whatever tendency you have to lay down calcium in soft tissues could only be increased by taking more calcium. How could it decrease it when it provides more of the substance being deposited?
But, there are several things you can do to inhibit pathological calcifications- besides not going overboard on calcium.
First, go light on sodium. There is a connection. The more salt you use, the more calcium is going to be misdirected.
Two, maintain optimum levels of Vitamin D3 and Vitamin K2. Both help in the proper metabolizing of calcium. Vitamin D3 helps you to absorb calcium effectively from the gut to maintain the blood level, and Vitamin K2 helps to send it to bone and keep it out of arteries and other soft tissues. There are a lot of people who are walking around with deficient levels of Vitamin D3 and Vitamin K2, and I'm sure that includes a lot of vegetarians too.
Three, keep up your magnesium intake. Magnesium seems to inhibit pathologic calcinosis. And there is no pathologic magnesiosis.
But, what about calcium in relation to osteoporosis? You have to realize that osteoporosis is a much bigger problem than just too little calcium. Osteoporosis is the equivalent of sarcopenia, which is age-related muscle wasting.
I recently had a visit from an older man who has been a father figure to me. He's 88 now, and I hadn' t seen him in years. And I noticed right way his significant muscle wasting. Of course, 88 is getting up there. But, I had heard that osteoporosis is one the problems that he has. Well, the thinning of his bones is just an extension of the thinning of his muscles. They go together. It's all one continuous degenerative process- the unity of disease, as Shelton used to say. How much is taking calcium going to slow it down? Not much. You wouldn't expect it do anything for the muscles, although calcium is involved in muscle contraction. And by itself, is it really likely to inhibit the bone wasting? All I can say is: not much.
I believe the current recommendation is for elderly women to take 1500 mgs of calcium a day, and that I oppose. That is more calcium than the human race has gotten throughout its long history on Earth. And remember that there's also calcium in food. Even a crumby diet provides a few hundred milligrams, and if a person makes a point of eating calcium-rich foods in addition, it could put them well over 2000 mgs/ day, and that's just unnessary and wrong.
So, I think that people should eat healthy, and that doesn't mean dairy products. It means lots of calcium-rich plant foods, such as raw salad greens, steamed green vegetables such as broccoli and kale, almonds, figs, and all kinds of beans.
Then, I'm getting 150 mgs calcium from my Extend Core multi, which I feel is plenty for me. But, if it was woman with low weight and slight features- the classic candidate for osteoporosis since her reserves of bone are low to begin with- I would be entirely OK with her doubling that to 300 mgs of supplemental calcium. But, I would not be inclined to go higher.
And make sure you have a fair chance to absorb your calcium. For instance, don't eat an ultra-low fat diet- unless you want to give your minerals to the fish, if you catch my drift. Low-fat/high-fiber = poor mineral absorption.
Of course, getting good hard exercise and regular sun exposure is highly recommended- although the latter depends on where you live and your circumstances. The period of effective sunlight is very short in a lot of places.
And last but not least, and of very great importance to me, consider taking anti-aging hormones. For instance, I take 25 mgs of DHEA every morning and have for years. I usually recommend 10 mgs to women. I use my HGH spray morning and night and have for years. I also take pregnenolone 30 mgs. If you want to do something good for your bones, to prevent osteoporosis and sarcopenia, keep your hormones high. If you are concerned about the safety of it, then have your blood levels checked once a year as I do. I do it every Spring, so I'll be doing it soon. The Life Extension Foundation offers a great sale on blood tests every Spring, and I take advantage of it.