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Death by Calcium!

Jan 23rd 2024

Death by Calcium!

359552_l2Calcium, once lauded as a superstar for preventing and curing osteoporosis, now seems to be a nutrient-non-grata among both conventional and alternative “experts.” Vitamin C researcher, Thomas E. Levy, has even entitled a book Death by Calcium! How did an important nutrient, in which most Americans especially the elderly are deficient, come to such a sorry pass?

The calcium saga goes back several years to a time when it was anointed a “magic bullet” to solve the problem of osteoporosis. Need more bone? Just take lots of calcium! When that didn’t work as well as hoped, the experts said well you should probably take your calcium with vitamin D. This worked a little better, but was still less than ideal.

In fact, calcium needs a whole “team” of nutrients for its absorption and proper utilization. Vitamins D and K (especially K2) and the mineral magnesium are star players on the team, but check the label on Beyond Health’s Bone Mineral Formula and you’ll find an array of nutrients; each one has a role in building healthy bone.

If you simply load up on calcium, you will do more harm than good. Without calcium’s team of supporting nutrients, the body doesn’t know what to do with it, especially if the calcium is in an inferior inorganic form (like calcium carbonate) rather than a high-quality organic form. Chances are it will either be excreted or go where you don’t want it—into soft tissues like joints (causing arthritis), blood vessels (causing atherosclerosis) and other calcifications, like bone spurs.

Also, too much calcium relative to magnesium suppresses magnesium absorption, causing magnesium deficiency. Because magnesium is necessary for proper calcium absorption, retention and utilization, magnesium deficiency can paradoxically create calcium deficiency!

But to get back to the story, whenever a nutrient becomes popular, junk science studies start: studies designed to show that 1) the nutrient doesn’t work and 2) it’s even dangerous. Such studies began to demonize calcium, saying that it might not help with osteoporosis, and it caused heart attacks. They even resuscitated the dead myth that calcium causes kidney stones (it actually prevents them).

“Experts” then began to back-pedal. Calcium, especially calcium supplements, might be dangerous, so we should try to get our calcium from food, especially the ever-popular low fat dairy products. (Pardon us, but the calcium in Beyond Health products is identical to calcium found in food!) Even alternative experts got in on the act of demonizing calcium.

The bottom line is this. We need calcium. Most Americans will benefit from getting 500 mg or so from a balanced formula like Beyond Health’s Bone Mineral Formula. With high-quality organic forms of calcium, you don’t have to worry about getting a little too much, but try to take about as much magnesium as calcium. Get your vitamin D levels tested and make sure you’re in the high-normal range. Take at least 200 mcg of vitamin K2 daily, which you will get in our Bone Mineral Formula.

From being lionized to demonized, calcium has been through the mill. In the end, although it’s no magic bullet, calcium is an essential nutrient and beneficial if taken in the right forms and supported by a team of additional nutrients.

References:

  1. Levy, TE. Death by Calcium, 2013.
  2. Kelley’s Textbook of Internal Medicine, Fourth Edition. Edited by H. David Humes, Chapter 470. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2000, p. 3111.
  3. Abraham GE. The calcium controversy. Journal of Applied Nutrition. 1982;34(2):69-73.
  4. Richards, BJ. Biased calcium studies needlessly alarm women. Wellness Resources Health News, June 26, 2012. Accessed online February 5, 2016.
  5. Heaney RP. Calcium scare a false alarm. Dr. Robert P. Heaney’s blog, December 12, 2012. Accessed online February 5, 2016.
  6. Todd Whitthorne interview with Dr. Robert Heaney, Vitamin D Wiki. March 2013. Accessed online February 5, 2016.

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Information contained in NewsClips articles should not be construed as personal medical advice or instruction. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.