The Establishment never misses a chance to denigrate natural, nutritional health solutions and promote pharmaceuticals. The controversial new study on calcium intake and fractures, just published in the prestigious BMJ, is another classic example.
The results of this meta-analysis declare calcium supplementation and dietary intake to be ineffective at preventing fractures, setting the osteoporosis community all abuzz. But as you’ll see in today’s post, there is no reason to throw out natural solutions, as the Establishment hopes you will.
So today, we’ll take a look at this controversial study and I’lI share my take on it… Let’s get started!
A Closer Look At The New Zealand Calcium Study
A team of researchers reviewed approximately 100 studies of calcium intake in people over the age of 50 who sustained a fracture.
There were only two randomized, controlled trials of how dietary calcium influences fracture risk, and of those two, the calcium source was milk powder. The researchers did find 26 cohort studies (observational studies) that looked at dietary calcium (in the form of dairy products) and fracture risk, and concluded that dietary calcium does not prevent fractures.
They also reviewed calcium supplements and fracture outcome, and found that calcium supplements reduced the risk of vertebral fractures and fractures overall, but not hip or forearm fractures. They concluded as follows:
“Evidence that calcium supplements prevent fractures is weak and inconsistent.” 1
Some of the supplement studies included co-administered Vitamin D, but the researchers reported that:
“Results were similar for trials of calcium monotherapy and co-administered calcium and vitamin D.” 1
In short, this meta-analysis found no positive correlation between dietary or supplemental calcium intake and fracture risk. They even went so far as to say that:
“Increasing calcium intake, through calcium supplements or dietary sources, should not be recommended for fracture prevention.” 1
So what are we to make of all this? Should you throw out your calcium supplements and give up a nutritional approach to preserving and building bone health?
Not so fast. This meta-analysis is narrow, flawed, and little more than an advertisement for prescription drugs. Here’s why.
Flaw Number One: Using Dairy Products As A Source Of Dietary Calcium
It should come as no surprise to Savers that dietary calcium from acidifying milk, milk powder, and dairy products did not prevent fractures. This serves to underscore an important point in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program: dairy products are not bone-healthy.
The exception to this rule is fermented dairy, such as yogurt and kefir. Because of the fermentation process and probiotic content, these dairy products are alkalizing and good for bones…but relying on even these products as a primary source of calcium is not a good idea. Large amounts of any one food, like large doses of any one supplement (as we will see in a moment) is not a nutritionally sound approach.
Additionally, the acidifying animal protein present in dairy products prohibits calcium absorption. It’s so acidifying that the calcium in the milk or dairy product gets used to buffer the effects, and the calcium never makes it to your bones anyway.
Instead, the calcium found in plants is far superior from a bioavailable and nutritional point of view. As part of their own food-making process, plants convert the calcium into a form that is highly absorbable by the human body, making plants an excellent source of this important mineral.
Flaw Number Two: No Distinction Made As To The Type Of Calcium
When calcium supplements are prescribed or recommended by doctors, they are nearly always an inorganic form of calcium, such as calcium carbonate, citrate, and the like. Even calcium supplements touted as “natural,” such as oyster shell, are still inorganic. Taking large doses of these forms of calcium can cause a host of health problems, including heart attack. It’s obvious that such calcium supplements cannot be expected to build healthy bones.
But in this meta-analysis, no notation is made as to the type of calcium, leaving a void where there should be data about the effect of organic vs. inorganic calcium supplements on fracture risk, especially since it’s known that inorganic calcium is not recognized as a nutrient by the body as plant-based organic calcium is.
Flaw Number Three: Exclusion Of Individuals Who Did Not Sustain A Fracture
The meta-analysis looked only at those individuals who had both significant calcium intake and sustained a fracture. What about the enormous numbers of people whose calcium intake was comparable, but who did not sustain a fracture?
More importantly, what about the data on the thousands of individuals who ingested comparable amounts of bioavailable calcium, such as calcium supplements derived from algae or in the form of plant foods, and did or did not sustain a fracture? By hand-picking studies that involved only those who ingested unspecified calcium and who’d broken bones, the researchers produced a very narrow and biased collection of data.
Flaw Number Four: Confining The Study To Calcium Alone
Savers are well aware of the synergistic nature of nutrients. When we isolate one vitamin or mineral – no matter how healthful that vitamin or mineral may be – we set the stage for imbalance. This is because no nutrient works in isolation, and in fact, some nutrients are so interdependent that certain metabolic processes can’t happen unless all nutrients are present.
This meta-analysis does not account for the other vitamins (except for Vitamin D, as noted earlier), minerals, and supplements the participants were taking in the time period leading up to their fracture, nor does it take their overall diets into account.
And exercise, which is essential for preserving and building bone density, is not even mentioned. Did the participants lead a sedentary lifestyle? Did they exercise daily? Did they take multivitamins? Did they eat a lot of acidifying foods? We’re simply not told.
There isn’t nearly as much information in this meta-analysis as The Establishment would have you believe, and it’s certainly not a ground-breaking, life-altering revelation.
In fact, it’s just another biased study that The Establishment can use to push osteoporosis drugs, because this meta-analysis appears to “prove” that non-pharmaceutical methods do not work. But clearly, it proves no such thing. And ample evidence proves the opposite!
So What Does This Study Prove?
What it does prove is The Establishment’s agenda, which is completely opposite to the Osteoporosis Reversal Program’s approach. The Program is entirely non-pharmaceutical and emphasizes nutrient-rich, non-dairy Foundation foods full of calcium and other nutrients that work synergistically to build bone. And it works.
So there’s no need to be alarmed at this latest information about calcium. It’s not necessary to discard factual, time-tested, scientifically-backed natural approaches to rejuvenating and preserving bone. The Osteoporosis Reversal Program has shown itself to be well ahead of the curve time and again, because it gives reliable, factual information from the get-go. It always has.
So don’t worry! The non-pharmaceutical approach, which includes healthful organic calcium intake along with the rest of the Foundation Supplements, is valid, solid, and here to stay.
Till next time,
1 Bolland, Mark J, et al. “Calcium intake and risk of fracture: systematic review.” BMJ. August 2015. 351:h4580. Web: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h4580.