Cal­cium's Best Friends

Natural Solutions - - Food Matters | -

That’s a fairly omi­nous find­ing, but does it mean you should stop tak­ing cal­cium sup­ple­ments? Not nec­es­sar­ily. The study’s au­thors even warned peo­ple not to jump to con­clu­sions. As is of­ten the case, more re­search needs to be done, and we have to weigh all the facts. For ex­am­ple, to make mat­ters even more com­pli­cated, cal­cium is also an im­por­tant con­trib­u­tor to car­dio­vas­cu­lar health, help­ing gov­ern a steady heart rhythm.

Cal­cium sup­ple­men­ta­tion is an is­sue for men as well, as there may be a link be­tween cal­cium con­sump­tion and prostate can­cer. How­ever, this re­la­tion­ship is some­what fuzzy, as some stud­ies show cal­cium in­creases the risk of prostate can­cer, while oth­ers find it does noth­ing to in­crease risk when com­pared to a placebo. In other words, the ver­dict is still out—but it’s some­thing to watch.

This gray area be­tween proven safe and proven un­safe can be very con­fus­ing. How should peo­ple who need ex­tra cal­cium re­act? For­tu­nately, there are a va­ri­ety of ap­proaches that can pro­vide the cal­cium that is so nec­es­sary for good health while mit­i­gat­ing po­ten­tial risk. We’ve been in­doc­tri­nated from youth that cal­cium is an im­por­tant nu­tri­ent— and it is. How­ever, we re­ally want to con­trol where the cal­cium is go­ing. Cal­cium in the bones is crit­i­cal, but too much in blood ves­sels and tis­sues can be bad, cal­ci­fy­ing tis­sues and de­stroy­ing vas­cu­lar elas­tic­ity, lead­ing to blockages, high blood pres­sure, angina, heart at­tack, and stroke.

Part of this is­sue has to do with the right kind of cal­cium. Many in­or­ganic cal­cium sup­ple­ments are not bioavail­able for the body to uti­lize, such as cal­cium car­bon­ate which can be de­rived from lime­stone. Ox­ide forms are also poorly ab­sorbed. Th­ese in­fe­rior cal­cium sup­ple­ments can be some of the main cul­prits con­tribut­ing to cal­cium de­posits and cal­ci­fi­ca­tion in the body. Choose cit­rate, malate, or che­late forms for bet­ter bioavail­abil­ity. Th­ese forms are also bet­ter ab­sorbed if Seafood can be an­other good source; sar­dines have 325 mg of cal­cium for one 3-ounce serv­ing.

there is ad­e­quate stom­ach acid, lev­els of which of­ten de­cline as we age. The most sig­nif­i­cant caveat to the study is that the peo­ple who were at the high­est risk for heart at­tacks were only tak­ing cal­cium. We now know that for op­ti­mal uti­liza­tion, we need to take cal­cium sup­ple­ments with mag­ne­sium and other nu­tri­ents, which can work to bal­ance cal­cium’s po­ten­tially neg­a­tive ef­fects. This is par­tic­u­larly true in re­gard to car­dio­vas­cu­lar health. In fact, mag­ne­sium is just as im­por­tant as cal­cium—if not more so—for main­tain­ing bone, heart, neu­ro­log­i­cal, and other ar­eas of health.

An­other im­por­tant nu­tri­ent to bal­ance cal­cium is vi­ta­min K . This vi­ta­min ac­tu­ally serves dou­ble duty, act­ing as a kind of su­per­vi­sor for cal­cium dis­tri­bu­tion. It not only keeps cal­cium from en­ter­ing blood ves­sel walls, but it also helps bones re­tain cal­cium, in­creas­ing bone den­sity.

Vi­ta­min D is an­other im­por­tant nu­tri­ent that aids the ab­sorp­tion and

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