Finally – The Truth About Calcium Supplements

Undoubtedly calcium has become a hot topic of controversy. We are bombarded with advertising telling us exactly what will give our body more calcium. Between the “Got Milk?” slogans on one end and the Coral Calcium “cure-all” TV spots on the opposite end it is time that the truth be exposed. Let’s look at why we need calcium and then some signs of calcium deficiency.

How the Body Uses Calcium:

  • Strong bones, teeth and gums
  • Maintaining a regular heartbeat
  • The lowering of cholesterol
  • Helps prevent cardiovascular disease
  • Needed for muscular growth and contraction
  • Prevents muscle cramps
  • Essential in blood clotting
  • Helps prevent cancer
  • May lower blood pressure
  • May prevent bone loss associated with osteoporosis
  • Helps to activate enzymes which breaks down fats
  • Maintains proper cell membrane permeability
  • Helps keep skin healthy
  • Protects against preeclampsia during pregnancy
  • Can help reduce high blood pressure in pregnancy
  • Protects the bones and teeth from lead by inhibiting absorption of this metal

Calcium DeficiencySymptoms:

  • Aching joints
  • Brittle nails
  • Eczema
  • Elevated blood cholesterol
  • Heart palpitations
  • High blood pressure
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Insomnia
  • Nervousness
  • Numbness in arms or legs
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Tooth decay
  • Depression
  • Hyperactivity
  • Hives
  • Psoriasis

“Got Milk?”…Are You Really Getting Calcium?

No way! The damage that this one slogan is doing to the health of Americans, especially children, is tremendous. Consider the following written by Robert Cohen (www.notmilk.com):

A publication in the February, 2003 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Vol. 77, No. 2, 504-511) clearly demonstrates that eighteen years of milk consumption did not prevent hip fractures for post-menopausal women.

How many subjects participated in the study?

A mere 72,337. As part of Walter Willett’s Harvard Nurses Study, investigator Diane Feskanich performed statistical tests of significance for 18 years of data including dietary intake of calcium (dairy and supplements) to determine her findings.

The conclusion reached from this observational analyses, is that dietary calcium plays little or no role in preventing bone loss. Drinking milk does not prevent osteoporosis. A total of 603 hip fractures were analyzed. Scientists determined that milk consumption was in no way associated with hip fracture risk. The same conclusion was reached for total calcium consumption.

The Harvard Nurses study previously determined that there is no positive association between teenaged milk consumption and the risk of adult fractures. (American Journal of Public Health 1997;87). As a matter of fact, just the opposite was found to be true. Women consuming greater amounts of calcium from dairy foods suffered significantly increased risks of hip fractures.

In light of these findings, the dairy industry milk mustache campaign has been proven to be one enormous deception. Bones break because women eating the wrong foods create an acid condition in their own bloodstreams, which must be neutralized by available calcium. The body achieves balance by taking calcium out of its own bones. Ergo, people eating the greatest amount of total animal protein are the ones experiencing accelerated rates of bone loss. The same Journal of Clinical Nutrition, (1995; 61, 4) confirmed this truth:

“Dietary protein increases production of acid in the blood which can be neutralized by calcium mobilized from the skeleton.”

Eighteen years earlier, as the Harvard Nurses study was just beginning, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1979;32,4) reported:

“Even when eating 1,400 mg of calcium daily, one can lose up to 4% of his or her bone mass each year while consuming a high-protein diet.”

Why do you imagine that today’s most recent study will not be publicized on tonight’s 6 PM news, or headlined in your local newspaper? Because it lacks one critical ingredient. Cash. For a story to be released, it must be accompanied by paid dairy industry advertising. In this deceptively dangerous manner, most of us get our biased health information.

Milk? It does not do the body good.

Coral Calcium

How these people have been in business so long just amazes me! I used to get spammed at least ten times per day with advertisements suggesting that Coral Calcium cures just about everything!! I have often wondered just where the FDA police was during all of this hype.

Coral calcium is calcium carbonate and is no better than the calcium that is available in most drug stores or vitamin stores. What is calcium carbonate? Chalk! Put a piece in a glass of water and see how long it takes to dissolve…believe me, you will be there for longer than you care to know. Yes, you may get some benefit from it but it is not the most absorbable form of calcium and therefore not the most beneficial.

Ridiculous Claims:

It’s from the ocean: Not “everything” in the ocean is wonderful. Ever read about how polluted our oceans are? Enough said.

The people in Okinawa live longer and look younger: When doing research on this you will find that their longevity is more than likely contributed to their diet and stress-free life. There is no supplement that will ever take the place of good nutritional balancing.

Disease Cure-All: This is the one that makes me cringe. There has not been one study to back up any cure from taking calcium (any kind) alone. Yes, the body needs calcium to function properly, but calcium, by itself, will not cure anything! I do believe in disease elimination using natural methods but there is no magic bullet and no magic supplement. If a company is selling a product claiming a “cure-all” this should raise huge red flags.

Calcium Orotate–The Best From of Calcium Available

According to studies conducted by Dr. Hans Nieper (Germany) only Calcium Orotate penetrates directly through the cell membrane, delivering calcium to the interior of the cell where it is readily utilized.

Orotates are mineral salts of orotic acid — used by plants and animals to make DNA and RNA. Hans Nieper, a physician and dabbler in offbeat theories of gravitation, used orotates clinically prior to 1980. He thought that orotate salts, being neutrally charged, pass easily through cell membranes. In effect, orotate ferries the mineral atoms into cells and tissues, producing higher concentrations.

Nieper promoted orotates as treatments for nearly every ailment imaginable and was consequently ignored; most of his medical claims were never rigorously tested. But in certain applications — such as athletic performance — where his ideas have recently received scientific scrutiny, they have been found to work. Nieper may have been on the right track after all.

Dr. Nieper’s theoretical explanations of the mechanisms behind his stunning success in the clinical application of sophisticated mineral transporters rely heavily on the concept of the fixed pore mechanism of active transport. The theory called fixed pore mechanism suggests that a carrier molecule, in this case Orotic Acid (B-13), is attached to the compound being transported. This research has lead to the creation of mineral chelates called orotic acid chelates, or orotates which offers a 20 fold increase in utilizing minerals.

Calcium orotate was used by Nieper to treat bone loss and pain due to inflammation or osteoporosis, high blood pressure, angina pectoris, multiple sclerosis, encephalitis, retinitis, hepatitis, arthritis, arteriosclerosis, phlebitis and colitis. In addition, it is very effective against psoriasis, a scaling skin disorder. The long-term clinical tolerance and overall value of calcium orotate is far superior to other therapeutic calcium substances and to the so-called immune depressors.

Calcium Orotate is one of the three mineral transporters that is the most active in providing treatment for bone decalcification. Has a pronounced anti-inflammatory effect on arthritis, arteriosclerosis, retinitis, encephalitis and phlebitis, psoriasis, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis and colitis. It can be very effective in re-calcifying the bone tissue following extensive radiation treatment of cancerous bone lesions.

Calcium Orotate tablets have been beneficial in:

  1. Assisting with prevention of osteoporosis.
  2. Helping to avoid muscle cramps.
  3. Relieving the pain associated with disc problems.
  4. Maintaining strong bones & teeth.
  5. Keeping your heart beating regularly
  6. Alleviation of insomnia
  7. Helping the body metabolize iron
  8. Reduced Stress
  9. Increased alertness

We use Calcium Orotate along with the other orotates (magnesium, potassium, zinc and lithium) at Global Healing Center in a whole body, synergistic approach to eliminating disease. The results that we see using calcium orotate conclude that it is absorbed, transported and utilizied in the body better than any other form of calcium. It is time that the public knows the truth about calcium, its many benefits, why it is necessary and the best form available. Remember that he first step in getting healthy is always education and I believe that it is your right to know the truth about every hopeful treatment and prevention option available to you.

The Misunderstood Benefits and Risks of Calcium

Calcium and Osteoporosis – The Misunderstood Benefits and Risks of Calcium Supplementation

There are many interesting facts you may not know about Calcium supplementation and osteoporosis.

FACTS:

  • Calcium supplementation is big business
  • 50% of all women over age 65 and 25% of all men will experience at least one osteoporotic fracture in their life time
  • The governments’ understanding of micronutrient requirements as expressed in the RDI’s is archaic
  • Most if not all RDI’s for vitamins and minerals are woefully low, while the RDI of 1,000-1,500mg per day of calcium could be dangerously high
  • FACT: Bantu women in Africa have lower estrogen levels than U.S. women both before and after menopause. They consume less than 500mg per day of calcium yet osteoporotic fractures are extremely rare.

    FACT: The Japanese dietary calcium intake is 540mg per day yet their hip fracture rate is half of western countries.

    FACT: A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that post-menopausal women who took 2,000mg of calcium per day had the same rate of bone loss as those on placebo.

    FACT: A study done by the Mayo Clinic on 106 women of various ages demonstrated that over a 2.6 to 6.6 year observation period there was no correlation between calcium supplementation and the rate of bone loss.

    FACT: Calcium by itself doesn’t work very well. A study of 26 post-menopausal women who were placed on HRT and a “bone healthy” diet demonstrated a meager increase of BMD (Bone Mineral Density) of .7%. The group that was given a mixture of calcium and other supportive and synergistic micronutrients demonstrated an increase in BMD 16 times greater than the control.

    FACT: A 1981 study of calcium versus calcium and supportive co-factors demonstrated that the mixture increased BMD 200-300% greater than calcium alone.

    DANGER: Arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) is caused by calcification of these and other soft tissues throughout the body.

    DANGER: When calcium is supplemented by itself and is not being incorporated into the bone matrix, the difference between what is consumed and excreted contributes not only to arteriosclerosis but accelerated aging of soft tissues throughout the body.

    FACT: Two forms of a lesser known vitamin have been shown to be 56-74% deficient in people with osteoporosis.

    FACT: This same vitamin has been shown to increase the absorption of calcium into the osteocalcin matrix by 50% in just 14 days.

    FACT: This same vitamin has been shown in vitro and in animals to draw calcium out of soft tissues and reverse calcification.

    FACT: Several studies have shown that absorption of calcium by humans decreases with age. Calcium absorption can be enhanced by a particular kind of health promoting fiber.

    FACT: Deposition of calcium into the bone matrix is only half of the BMD equation. Bone Resorption (the loss of bone) must also be addressed!

    FACT: Two herbs with substantial health promoting benefits in areas other than BMD have been shown in vitro and in animals to decrease osteoclast (cells that consume bone) activity and decrease bone resorption. This is a mechanism similar to the bisphosponate drugs like Fosamax. But these drugs have side effects like esophageal irritation and are also expensive.

    FACT: Slowing down calcification and glycation (the aging effects of sugar on the organs of our body) is a major anti-aging benefit.

    FACT: Homocysteine which is a marker or indicator of many chronic degenerative diseases, including cardiovascular disease, and diabetes , is also higher in patients with osteoporosis. A combination of three common vitamins has been clinically shown to reduce homocysteine.

    FACT: In addition to the role it plays in bones, Calcium is essential to over-all health and longevity. But calcium must be taken correctly and with the proper supporting co-factors, biochemically, synergistic ingredients.

    JUST TAKE SOME CALCIUM AND CALL ME IN THE MORNING?
    It perplexes me as to why some physicians and even dieticians and nutritionists aren’t a bit more careful when they tell patients or customers to take 1000-1500mg of calcium per day because it’s “healthy for their bones”?

    The assumption being made is that all or most of this large amount of calcium being recommended is actually getting into the bones. Many healthcare professionals will also recommend that the calcium be coupled with a Vitamin D, because it helps to increase the absorption of calcium into the blood (which is true).

    The question not being asked or answered is where is this calcium going once its in the blood and available systemically? Is it possible that some of this calcium is NOT winding up in the bones but in the lining of the arteries instead? This is a process known as arterial calcification which can cause arterial dysfunction. The answer is a resounding YES! Let’s take a look at what needs to happen for calcium to deposit into the bones and alternatively, not into the lining of the arteries!

    Calcium is a positively charged atom called a cation. It’s charge is +2 (divalent). In order for calcium to be absorbed into the bone matrix, a protein named osteocalcin has to undergo a process called carboxylation to be able to bind with the calcium. When osteocalcin is “under” carboxylated, the calcium will not be absorbed well or at all. Another protein called Matrix Gla Protein is found in the arterial cell wall, MGP maintains healthy soft tissue calcium metabolism protecting against arterial calcification.

    So what do the bones and the arteries have in common regarding calcium??? Vitamin K! Via the process of carboxylation, Vitamin K assures that both osteocalcin is carboxylated so that calcium can be deposited into the bone matrix, and matrix Gla via carboxylation is synthesized to prevent the deposition of calcium into the arteries.

    While Vitamin D is necessary, plays a role in the carboxylation process and has many other wellness benefits… healthy calcium metabolism both in bones and arteries is very dependent upon Vitamin K. It seems that Vitamin K-2 (menaquinones) may have more cardiovascular benefit while Vitamin K-1 phylloquinone may work better for bones… so a combination of Vitamin K-1* and K-2 * might be advisable to a dosage of at least 1mg of K-1, plus 100mcg (micrograms) of a form of K-2.*

    Taking therapeutic amounts of Vitamin K has been shown to significantly reduce fracture rates at the hip and spine, yet it does not seem to increase Bone Mineral Density (BMD). This does not surprise me because BMD does not accurately measure the architecture of the bones, just the mineral presence. Obviously, the mechanism of Vitamin K is working in a different manner. Additionally, other health benefits for Vitamin K are being written about in the literature. It seems that this vitamin may be involved in prevention of osteoarthritis, has anti-inflammatory mechanisms, may be of real benefit in preventing prostate cancer, and deficiencies may be involved in the progression of Alzheimer’s.

    To sum up, calcium intake of greater than 500-600mg per day is not necessary or useful in preventing bone fractures. Adding at least 5000 IU per day of Vitamin D-3, and at least 1-2 mg of Vitamin K, and 500mg per day of Magnesium to your daily diet will give you the protection against bone fractures that you need.

    For these reasons, and to insure that calcium ends up in your bones and not lining your arteries, it is very important to take a properly formulated supplement. A supplement with the right combination of high quality vitamins and minerals at the proper doses for healthier bones and ultimately to prevent fractures.

    Get the Lead Out! Could There Be Lead in Your Calcium Supplement?

    People who take high doses of natural source calcium could be placing themselves at high risk for cumulative lead toxicity according to research conducted by the University of Arizona. While calcium itself has virtually no toxicity, there is evidence that natural source calcium supplements – those made from bone meal, oyster shell and dolomite may contain heavy metals, including lead. A study conducted by Trent University in Canada where some 70 brands of calcium supplements were tested, found that 25% of the brands exceeded the FDA limit for lead toxicity.

    While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set an upper limit for the amount of lead in a calcium supplement (7.5 micrograms per 1000 milligrams of calcium), calcium supplements are not tested by any regulatory agency for lead content. This is a concern given recent increases in doctor recommendations for calcium supplements to prevent osteoporosis and for those, particularly children, who rely on calcium supplementation as their main source of calcium.

    Since it is not feasible for consumers to test supplements for lead contamination, there is generally rampant disregard for the standardization of manufacturing practices and quality control measures. The result is that inferior and unsafe products make their way into the market. As stated in the Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements by Lyle Mac William MSC, FP, “there are no current US regulations that enforce minimum standards of practice, no requirements for pre-market approval, no post-market surveillance, and no site licensing or product licensing required for the manufacturing of dietary supplement is the United States.”

    So what guidelines should we use when choosing a calcium supplement or any supplement for that matter?

    1. Find a company that owns their own manufacturing facility. Many don’t. Outsourcing often means sacrificing on quality control.
    2. Find a company that manufactures its supplements according to GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice). These standards require that manufacturers take proactive steps to ensure that products are safe, pure and effective.
    3. Find one of the few companies that manufacturer their supplements using Pharmaceutical Grade standards.

    The secret to Pharmaceutical Grade supplements is that they are formulated to exact measurements – just like a prescription that you get from the pharmacy. They yield a higher degree of bio availability which means that your body can absorb them easily. This also guarantees that what is on the label is in the bottle. This in turn can make a huge difference in how supplements improve your health and your quality of life and overall well being.

    Oh, and be on the lookout for the term “Medical Grade supplements” – this is a new term being touted by some in the industry. This is a “made up” category which serves to further confuse the already overwhelmed consumer into thinking that they are purchasing a supplement that is approved by the medical community. Don’t fall for the hype! There are only three categories of supplements:

    o Animal Grade
    o Food Grade
    o Pharmaceutical Grade

    There are no other grades and 99% of the supplements on the market today are made to Food Grade standards. Without getting too technical, pizza, for example is made to Food Grade standards. One pizza may have 20 slices of pepperoni and another may have 10 slices, yet they are both acceptable as pizzas. This standard is OK for a pizza, but not for a supplement that you are trusting to improve your overall well being or to ward off chronic disease.

    So before you plunk down your money for a calcium or any supplement, do some research, wade through the masses of information and misinformation and choose a supplement that is safe, pure and effective. Knowledge after all is power.