We have been continually told that the consumption of foods rich in calcium will strengthen the bones, but the incidences of osteoporosis kept rising. Now, however, scientists are claiming that excess calcium can, in fact, lea to inflammation in the body!
Studies show that calcium is the main cause of inflammatory diseases. One 12-year study that involved 78,000 nurses found that the more they consumed cow’s milk, the more bone fractures they experienced.
Countries where calcium and dairy are rarely consumed have the lowest rates of bone fractures.
Moreover, it is not just the intake of calcium that matters for the health of the bones, but its absorption in the body is also of high importance. It needs to be properly deposited into the bones, in order not to create calcium deposits throughout the body.
98% of it is found in our bones, 1% in our teeth and 1% in other body tissues, and calcium that is not deposited in the bones can lead to various medical conditions, such as
- Calcification in the brain (intracranial calcification)
- Calcification in the liver and kidneys (liver and kidney stones)
- Calcification in joints (arthritis and gout)
- Brittle and fragile bones (osteoporosis)
- Hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis)
Calcium toxicity is a complex issue, and there are numerous different factors that play a role in the distribution and absorption of calcium in the bones, blood, or elsewhere in the body.
You need to consider the following:
- The calcium absorption is reduced by a very high fat intake and artificial food additives from processed foods
- Long-term medication, excessive sugar, and salt intake, and stress deplete the body of various minerals needed for calcium absorption
- Nutrient cofactors—for a healthy formation of the bones, we need magnesium, copper, boron, manganese, zinc, silicon and phosphorus
- For optimal calcium metabolism, we need vitamins A, C, D and K
- High animal protein and dairy consumption lead to acidic blood and loss of calcium
- A wrong kind of calcium supplements
- Certain health conditions inhibit the proper calcium absorption
- Drinking water fortified with “bad” calcium and fluoride depletes the body of minerals needed for healthy calcium absorption.
Manouchehr Saljoughian, PharmD, Ph.D. adds:
“Many factors can increase blood calcium levels. Although the body has a built-in regulatory process for calcium absorption and maintenance, underlying diseases, medication interactions, or overuse of supplements can cause high calcium levels.
An abnormally high calcium concentration can cause damaging health problems and requires medical treatment. Although dietary calcium is generally safe, excessive calcium does not provide extra bone protection. In fact, if calcium from diet and supplements exceeds the tolerable upper limit, it could also cause kidney stones, prostate cancer, constipation, calcium buildup in blood vessels, and impaired absorption of iron and zinc.
Taking calcium supplements and eating calcium-fortified foods may increase calcium above normal levels. As a result, it is very important to stick to the RDA and not exceed the recommended dosage.”
Yet, the real solution is not to completely avoid calcium-rich foods or supplements, but to lower the excess calcium intake for a short period of time, and supplement with magnesium.
Magnesium is the second most abundant positive-ion-charged element inside human cells and is a key cofactor in over 300 enzyme-driven biochemical reactions in the body.
According to New York Times best-selling author and doctor Joseph Mercola, DO:
“We are all going to die at some point, but if you’re deficient in magnesium you may wind up dying sooner rather than later. As new research in atherosclerosis3found, low serum magnesium levels are associated with higher all-cause mortality and cardiovascular mortality, adding to growing research supporting the importance of adequate magnesium.”
It is essential in too complex processes in the body, and its deficiency can lead to severe health issues. One of its main functions is to help the absorption of calcium in the body and thus support the bone-building process. In the absence of magnesium, calcium can be malabsorbed and deposited in various body parts, instead of the bones, causing calcification.
In her book, “The Magnesium Miracle”, Dr. Carolyn Dean explains:
“With magnesium being actively required by 600–700 enzyme systems in the human body, internal functions that reduce inflammation with the help of magnesium are being newly discovered every year. For example, magnesium has been found to be a natural calcium channel blocker, which is crucial because calcium in excess is one of the most pro-inflammatory substances in the body.
Ideally, the dietary ratio of calcium-magnesium should be 1:1. However, due to magnesium depletion caused by environmental toxins and various other factors, an average diet today has a shocking 10:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium!
The 1:1 ratio should not just be in supplements form, but in the combination of diet, water and supplements. In some cases, people have to take twice the amount of magnesium as calcium to undo the damage from calcium buildup, drug intake, stress and consequent inflammation in the body.
Just as calcium causes inflammation, magnesium is an anti-inflammatory agent that reverses the inflammation.”
Green plant foods are great magnesium sources, as it is a central element of chlorophyll. To optimize its levels in the body, consume green veggies, avocados, seeds, nuts, legumes, and whole grains.