Getting plenty of bioavailable calcium is crucial for reversing and preventing osteoporosis and osteopenia.
But even if you’re taking supplements and eating calcium-rich foods, there are certain substances that can deplete your bones of calcium.
Today we’re going to look at these four common calcium antagonists and how to avoid them.
Cadmium is a naturally-occurring metal that is molecularly similar to zinc and mercury. You’ll find it used industrially to coat metal pipes and in the manufacture of PVC pipes in the US (Europe has banned cadmium from the manufacture of PVC). Painters will recognize its presence in “cadmium red.”
Cadmium is found in the soil, and plants will readily absorb it. This metal is also present in car exhaust, drinking water, and tobacco products. In addition, batteries contain cadmium electrodes.
Ingestion and inhalation both can cause cadmium toxicity, but inhalation (particularly via smoking tobacco) produces the most rapid accumulation of cadmium in the body.
How Cadmium Depletes Calcium
In addition to the many health risks posed by cadmium exposure (such as birth defects, cardiovascular issues, neurotoxicity, and kidney damage), cadmium also acts as a calcium channel blocker. This means that it blocks the absorption of calcium into bones and tissue, and cadmium then finds its way into the kidneys, liver, pancreas, and into your bones.
It’s also noteworthy that cadmium’s similarity to zinc means it displaces this important mineral, a Foundation Supplement, further contributing to mineral bone density loss.
What You Can Do To Avoid Cadmium
Savers already know that avoiding tap water is important both for bone health and overall health, but with the prevalence of PVC-containing cadmium in PVC pipe and coatings in the U.S., it makes even more sense to avoid drinking water from the tap.
In addition, here are some other tips for avoiding cadmium:
- Don’t smoke – tobacco absorbs a large amount of cadmium from the soil. Also, avoid second hand smoke as much as possible. (There are plenty of other reasons not to smoke as well!)
- Make sure you get plenty of zinc and calcium (if you’re on the Program, you already are!).
- If you have well water, have the water tested for cadmium.
Unlike cadmium, phosphorus is not a metal. It’s a mineral that’s almost never found in nature in isolation. Phosphorus compounds are in rocks, industrial fertilizers, and in various foods and beverages.
Foods high in animal protein contain phosphorus, and have been shown to increase fecal excretion of calcium1, a major concern for bone health.
In addition, phosphorus consumption is at an all-time high thanks to the prevalence of phosphate-rich soft drinks and food additives. The skewed ratio that occurs from drinking colas invariably decreases bone density.2
Of particular concern are diets low in calcium and high in phosphorus. This increases the production of parathyroid hormone (PTH), which signals the body to pull calcium from the bones and into the bloodstream to keep crucial calcium levels stable.
A good first step is to replace soft drinks with bone-healthy options like naturally-sweetened lemonade, distilled water with sliced fruit, unflavored sparkling water, or just plain purified water. In addition, here are some other things you can do to avoid phosphorus.
- Get plenty of absorbable calcium – the more phosphorus you ingest, the more your need for calcium increases.
- Follow a diet that is not centered around animal protein, but instead is pH-balanced and rich in Foundation Foods.
- Make sure your kidneys are in top shape by cleansing periodically and drinking plenty of distilled water with lemon juice. Poorly functioning kidneys can cause high phosphorus levels.
This ubiquitous compound is found in fertilizers (and thus makes its way into plant foods), toothpaste, mouthwash, tap water, and in non-stick coating on cookware. Like many of the substances we’re discussing today, fluoride is found in nature, but not in the concentrations found in our modern environment.
Fluoride has also been clearly linked to hypothyroidism. In the Hydration Protocol, the free bonus report on water that’s included as a bonus with your order of the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, you’ll find detailed information on how fluoride interferes with iodine metabolism, destroying the thyroid.
Fluoride Depletes Calcium
Fluoride binds to calcium, preventing it from getting absorbed into your bones. In fact, fluoride ingestion has been directly linked to an increase in hip fractures.3 Many studies have made this connection, and a study found a clear relationship between water fluoridation and hip fracture in women aged 75 to 84, and also above the age of 85.3
The Journal of Biological Chemistry found that vital enzymatic metabolism is inhibited by fluoride, and it also destabilizes calcium binding in the body. In short, calcium is greatly depleted by fluoride ingestion.
How To Minimize Fluoride Exposure
Avoiding fluoride is nothing new to Savers. Here are some tips:
- Don't drink more than one or two cups of green or black tea a day, as the leaves contain fluoride. If you want to drink more than that, replace them with herbal teas.
- Use fluoride-free toothpaste (ever look at the warning on fluoride toothpaste? It says not to ingest!).
- Drink distilled or reverse osmosis water with a few drops of lemon juice, not fluoridated tap water.
- Try to eat organic produce whenever possible, which is grown in healthy soils not saturated with synthetic, fluoride-containing fertilizers.
- Do not use non-stick cookware.Use stainless steel cookware instead.
Refined, white sugar is found in a large number of processed food products, including foods that are not sweet, such as frozen dinners. It’s essentially pure sucrose, isolated from the sugar cane plant, beets, and, in the form of corn syrup.
It’s no secret that sugar is harmful to your health and particularly to your bones. It suppresses your immune system by competing with Vitamin C, and sugar can even affect your brain by bonding with proteins to form AGEs (Advanced Glycation End products).
How Sugar Harms Your Bones
Sugar actually takes crucial minerals like calcium, magnesium, and copper from your bones. You see, sugar creates such a highly acidic environment that your body must take minerals like calcium and magnesium from your bones to balance the pH. And it prevents copper absorption, especially when combined with fat (as so many sugary foods are).
Tips For Decreasing Your Sugar Ingestion
- Substitute your favorite stevia or monk fruit extract or raw honey (in moderation) in baking and in beverages like lemonade.
- Choose alkalizing, bone-healthy fruits like grapes, cherries, or pineapple to get your “sweet snack fix.”
- Stick with whole Foundation Foods as much as possible. Sugar is used as a preservative in prepared, packaged food products.
- Don’t buy it! Having sweets around the house just adds temptation you don’t need. Keep fresh fruits available at home and at work as well as other bone-healthy snacks.
Given all these challenges for keeping calcium levels optimal so your bones can thrive, it makes sense to…
Focus On Taking A Good High-Quality Calcium Supplement
I know what you’re thinking – what about cardiovascular health? While large quantities of inorganic calcium supplements have been linked to cardiovascular problems (including heart attack), it’s the type and quantity of calcium that are the culprits.
You see, when you ingest a plant-based, organic, bioavailable calcium supplement, it’s absorbed into your bones and other tissues where it belongs. It doesn’t end up lodged in tissues where it causes problems because it can’t be absorbed.
The Save Our Bones community often asks about what calcium supplement I recommend, and I can tell you that I prefer TrueOsteo™. It contains organic calcium derived from algae, and it contains other bone-healthy ingredients such as:
- Vitamin D3
- Vitamin K2
- Ashwagandha herb (reduces bone-destroying stress)
I was so impressed by the unique combination of ingredients, that I contacted the manufacturer of TrueOsteo™ and was able to arrange a special 20% off coupon available only to Savers.
Use the coupon code SAVEOURBONES at checkout to get 20% off your first order.
Exclusive 20% OFF TrueOsteo Coupon Code for Save Our Bones Readers!
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A note to the worldwide Save Our Bones community: TrueOsteo™ only ships to the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. Our apologies!
Till next time,
1 Weaver CM, Heaney RP. Calcium. In: Shils M, Olson JA, Shike M, Ross AC, eds. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. 9th ed. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 1999:141-155.
2 Tucker, KL. “Colas, but not other carbonated beverages, are associated with low bone mineral density in older women: The Framingham Osteoporosis Study.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Oct; 84(4):936-42.
3 Hegmann KT, et al. (2000). “The Effects of Fluoridation on Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) and Hip Fractures.” Abstract #71, of the 33rd Annual Meeting of the Society For Epidemiological research, June 15-17, 2000. Published in a Supplement of Am. J. Epid. P. S18.