Calcium is one of the most talked about minerals and for good reason. It supports strong bone structure, teeth, and muscle tissue, aids in blood clotting function, supports cardiovascular and nerve functions, and helps in normal functioning of many enzymes. We often hear about it in conjunction with osteoporosis. Everyone needs more calcium to build their bones, so everyone is throwing down a whole bunch of calcium supplements. Well, there's a couple of problems.
First off - is the biggest one. While it is true that we need calcium to build our bones, it is one of 18 nutrients that are required. And let's get a little better understanding of how our bones work. They are constantly breaking down and rebuilding. What happens in osteopenia and osteoporosis? The breakdown process continues, but the bone does not rebuild. Why? One reason is the lack of the other nutrients required to build bone. What happens when we take certain medications for this? The breakdown is slowed down, so the bone density scan will show more bone, however, it is weak bone and still likely to fracture. There are many other resources you can go to read more on this.
Second - most of the calcium in supplements is not very absorbable for our bodies. We need to be able to utilize the calcium we take in. One of the more absorbable forms of calcium is Calcium Lactate.
What else contributes to our calcium shortages? Soft drink (soda) consumption. What makes soft drinks bubble? Phosphorus. And, phosphorus and calcium need to be in a specific relationship in our body. So, when we take in excessive phosphorus and don't have sufficient calcium intakes, our body must take it from a storage location. You guessed it - the bones!
The best sources of calcium are of course from food. It is also a misconception that this has to come from milk. Leafy green vegetables are a great source of calcium. For calcium choose: bone meal, cheese (best are Cheddar, mozzarella, and Swiss), collard greens, flaxseed, liver, milk, molasses, mustard greens, sesame seeds, spinach, turnip greens, wheat germ and yogurt.
Calcium benefits many systems of the body: blood, circulatory, digestive, enzymatic, immune, musculoskeletal, and nervous systems.
Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. His office is in Thiensville, WI. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call (262) 389-9907 or go to www.brwellness.com.