Do calcium supplements really aid to strengthen bones? Fresh research shows otherwise. Worse, they may much cause more harm.
For many years, doctors and healthcare practitioners have been pushing calcium supplements as our primary form of “insurance” against osteoporosis, reiterating that “calcium builds strong bones and teeth”. As a result, we come to believe that more is better.
The belief that calcium is what builds strong bones is not that straight forward. Calcium is only one of the many minerals the body needs for building strong bones. The evidence that calcium supplementation strengthens bones has grown weaker with new research. New studies associated calcium supplements with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and kidney stones!
Calcium supplementation and might even increase the risk of hip fractures.1,000 mg/day Calcium was associated with increased prostate cancer risk and an increase in kidney stone rates.
500 mg or more increased the relative risk of heart attack by 27%. Even used with vitamin D, calcium supplements increased the risk of heart attacks by 24%.
A high calcium supplement intake of elderly women and men did not provide any benefit for hip or lumbar bone mineral density.
Extra calcium intake is excreted in the urine, raising the risk of calcium kidney stones, or circulated in the blood where it might attach to atherosclerotic plaques in arteries or heart valves.
High doses of supplemental calcium was associated with an excess risk of cardiovascular death in men.
Why Calcium Supplements Lead to More Heart AttacksWhen calcium accumulates in the arteries, it makes them stiffer and less responsive to the demands of the body. Rigid arteries contribute to high blood pressure, angina (chest pain with exertion or stress), and heart failure.
Calcium also builds up in plaque. Many believe that arterial plaque is simply a buildup of cholesterol. But in reality, more than 90 percent of plaques are calcified. Cholesterol is soft and waxy and does not impair the elasticity of your arteries. Calcium deposits are like concrete. Plaques narrow arteries and can choke off the supply of blood to heart muscle and other vital tissues. If a plaque breaks loose, it can result in a heart attack, stroke, or sudden cardiac arrest.
How To Build Strong Bones
Bones are not made of calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, silica, iron, zinc, selenium, boron, phosphorus, sulfur, and chromium, and traces of many other minerals. By supplementing only one or two minerals, you can create a grave mineral imbalance in the body.
You can build strong and healthy bones the natural way, without calcium supplementation.
The safest and most effective way to make sure you have adequate calcium is to eat a variety of foods. The body is able to absorb calcium from natural foods much better than calcium from a supplement. Here are examples of some calcium-rich foods:
- sesame seeds
- green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, collard greens, kale, and spinach
- canned salmon and sardines with bones
- bone broth
- dairy products
Ditch the table salt, which has minimal nutrition, and switch to unrefined, unprocessed sea salt or Himalayan salt instead. It contains the whole range of minerals in the exact proportion needed by the body.
Make sure you have enough vitamin D in your body. Vitamin D deficiency can result in lower bone mineral density and altered mineral metabolism in the body. The optimal level is between 50 to 70 ng/ml. This can be determined by a blood test called 25(OH)D.
Since it is virtually impossible to get sufficient amounts from food, you may want to make sure you get adequate daily sun exposure safely. You should know that when you put on sunscreen, your skin will not be able to manufacture vitamin D. As a last resort, you can also take a vitamin D3 supplement. Most people need at least 4,000 IU a day to attain the optimal level, some even up to 8,000 IU. Make sure you retest every 6 months.
Lastly, it is important to note that celiac disease and non-Celiac gluten sensitivity can result in bone loss due to intestinal damage, leading to malabsorption of nutrients, in this case, calcium, and eventually, osteoporosis. If you have chronic digestive issues or any autoimmune disease, you should consider going on a gluten-free diet. You need to work on addressing gut permeability and improving digestion and absorption.