Chances are, when your doctor discussed osteoporosis or osteopenia with you, he or she said to take calcium. Some doctors will actually prescribe it in large doses, and more often than not, their recommendation is for calcium carbonate (and sometimes calcium citrate).
What the medical community is missing here is that these types of calcium are very poorly absorbed and can even cause health issues, including increased risk of heart attack.
In fact, you could be taking a high dosage of doctor-recommended calcium every day and still be calcium-deficient – especially if your diet is low in calcium-rich foods or if you rely on dairy products for your calcium intake.
So how do you know if you are calcium-deficient?
That’s what we’re going to talk about today. We’ll take a look at three common problems that are caused by calcium deficiency. Sadly, they are usually treated with prescription drugs, drastic changes in diet, or other unnecessary interventions.
We’re also going to explore a revelatory study that clearly demonstrates how poorly several forms of calcium supplements are absorbed.
Confirmed By Canadian Study: Most Common Forms Of Calcium Are Barely Absorbed!
Savers already know that there is a distinct difference between organic and inorganic calcium, but this is so crucial, that it bears repeating. Inorganic calcium, which is generally in the form of calcium carbonate, coral, oyster shell, citrate, dolomite, and so forth, is not easily absorbed by the body. In large amounts, this inorganic calcium acts like the “rock” that it is – it accumulates in soft tissues and internal organs, including the arteries, where it can set off a heart attack.
On the other hand, organic calcium – that is, calcium sourced directly from plants – is readily taken up by the body so massive doses are not necessary. This is because plants take up inorganic calcium from the soil and change it via photosynthesis into an organic form. The presence of chlorophyll enables the plant to use the inorganic calcium to produce its food, starch and sugar.
It’s true that, chemically speaking, the isolated calcium found in rocks is the same as the calcium found in bone. But here’s the kicker: calcium does not work in isolation. It works in synergy with other nutrients (also found in plants) to be absorbed and used by the body.
For this study, researchers divided 60 people into four groups of 15 each. Each group was given either two forms of calcium amino acid chelate, dicalcium malate, or calcium carbonate for five weeks.
The study reports that,
“It was observed that supplementation with different calcium preparations led to different serum concentrations suggesting a difference in absorption” 1
While “all the Supplements had a poor bioavailability” 1 according to the study, the researchers noted that dicalcium malate had a better absorption than the other three types of calcium, and calcium carbonate was hardly absorbed at all.
In other words, what kind of calcium you ingest really matters!
What About Milk?
You may be wondering – if getting calcium from food is optimal, what’s wrong with milk and dairy products? In fact, your doctor may have told you to “drink plenty of milk,” like mine did.
Here’s the problem with dairy products: they are so highly acidifying that they actually result in a net loss of calcium. In addition, cow’s milk contains somatic cells, antibiotic residue, pesticides, and growth hormone even if it’s not added by the dairy farmer (it is naturally present in milk to aid in the growth of calves).
The exception to this is calcium-rich, plain, organic yogurt, which is actually alkalizing due to the fermentation process and the presence of healthful bacteria.
So given all this information about types of calcium and so forth, how can you know if you’re getting enough? Let’s take a look at some of the health issues associated with calcium deficiency.
3 Significant Health Issues Caused By A Calcium Deficiency
Most of the following health issues are treated with drugs of some nature. Yet a lack of calcium may in fact be the culprit.
1. Sleep Problems
If you’ve ever suffered from insomnia, you know how unpleasant it can be. And all that tossing and turning is made even worse when you consider how vital sleep is for your bone health. In fact, animal studies have shown that a lack of sleep actually prevents the formation of new bone. Of course, without sufficient calcium, this problem would be compounded.
Calcium is, in fact, directly related to your sleep cycle. Calcium levels rise and fall as you sleep, with higher levels occurring during deep sleep. The inability to achieve deep sleep is related to calcium deficiency, a study concluded. They found that normal sleep cycles were restored when calcium levels were increased to normal. 2
This is probably due in part to calcium’s role in the manufacture of the sleep hormone, melatonin. In fact, calcium uses tryptophan, an amino acid found in foods like turkey and cheese to manufacture this hormone.
Yet if you seek medical advice about your insomnia, you’ll likely walk out of the doctor’s office with a prescription for sleeping pills.
2. Difficulty Losing Weight
The inability to lose weight – another frustrating issue – has been linked to a lack of calcium. According to animal and human studies, the calcium stored in fat cells helps regulate the processing and storage of fat in the body. Fat cells that contain the most calcium actually burn more fat, leading to weight loss. 3
Of course, you can’t simply add calcium on to a high-calorie diet and expect weight loss. But if you have trouble shedding pounds, extra calcium-rich foods in addition to your lower calorie diet could be of great benefit.
Here is a health issue you may not have heard of, but might have experienced.
Paresthesia is considered a symptom of a nervous system that is not functioning properly, and it is also a symptom of calcium deficiency. It manifests as tingling, numbness, muscle tremors, and/or an impaired sense of touch. Low calcium in the blood has been connected to neurological and physical impairment, leading to confusion, poor memory, hallucinations, and muscle tremors and twitches.
In a report by Dr. Aliya Khan, published in the Canadian Family Physician, people with hypocalcemia (or calcium deficiency) present with paresthesia among their symptoms. 4
Choosing The Right Calcium – What About Supplements?
The science is clear: the kind of calcium you ingest is of utmost importance to your bone health.
Obtaining as much calcium as possible from foods is optimal, but it’s understandable that maintaining a high enough daily dose with foods alone is nearly impossible. So turning to supplements makes sense.
However, it’s crucial that the supplement you choose be bioavailable and easily absorbed. It should also be a fairly low dose, so you are not taking in more calcium than you can absorb. After all, high doses are not necessary if the maximum amount of calcium is being taken up by your system.
TrueOsteo Is The Answer To The Calcium Supplement Dilemma
Many in the Saver community are aware that I recommend TrueOsteo, and for many important reasons.
In addition, because no mineral or vitamin works in isolation, a good calcium supplement should contain nutrients besides calcium, including important trace minerals and vitamins D3 and K2.
TrueOsteo meets this criteria and more. It contains organic AlgaeCal, an algae-based form of calcium that is readily used by the body. It also contains food-based extracts and herbs like Amla fruit and Ashwagandha.
And you only have to take 4 capsules a day – 2 in the morning, and 2 in the evening. This leaves lots of “wiggle room” as well, so you can reduce your dosage easily if you so choose.
And there’s a special offer exclusively for Savers: simply enter the coupon code SAVEOURBONES at checkout, and receive 20% off your order.
Exclusive 20% OFF TrueOsteo Coupon Code for Save Our Bones Readers!
Use coupon code: SAVEOURBONES at checkout to get 20% off your order!
**Please note that, according to the manufacturer, TrueOsteo only ships to the U.S., Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.
Till next time,
1 Chaturvehdi P. et al. “Comparison Of Calcium Absorption From Various Calcium-Containing Products In Healthy Human Adults: A Bioavailability Study.” The FASEB Journal. 2006;20:A1063-A1064. Web. Abstract: http://www.fasebj.org/cgi/content/meeting_abstract/20/5/A1063-c . Complete study: http://www.alternative-therapies.com/resources/posters/pdfs/poster_albion.pdf
2 Breakthroughs, Nutrition. “Insomnia: Studies Suggest Calcium And Magnesium Effective.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 8 Sep. 2009. Web. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/163169.php
3 Zemel, Michael B., PhD. “Role of calcium and dairy products in energy partitioning and weight management.” American Society for Clinical Nutrition. May 2004. Vol. 79 no. 5. 9075-9125. Web. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/79/5/907S.full
4 Khan, Aliya, MD. “Hypocalcemia: Updates in diagnosis and management for primary care.” Canadian Family Physician. February 2012. Vol 58 no. 2 pp 158-162. Web. http://www.cfp.ca/content/58/2/158.full