Vim & Vitality Blog
Calcium: Not Just For Your Bones & Teeth
"While an average of 10 diseases are linked to any single mineral deficiency, 'there are over 275 diseases caused by calcium deficiency.' " -- Dr. Peter Glidden
Most often we think of calcium as being the essential mineral for healthy bones and teeth, and while that is true, did you know that a calcium deficiency can lead any number of other serious health issues. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. Three factors related to calcium are necessary for optimal health:
1. Location-- blood or tissues
Ninety-nine percent of calcium is found in the bones, and the rest is in the blood. Amazingly that small one percent is the highest predictor for survival through an infection-- blood calcium is the most important calcium in body! You see, ionized calcium, or calcium that carries an electrical charge and is unbound to proteins or anions such as phosphate or citrate in the blood, is physiologically active and boosts the immune system! In fact, ionized hypocalcemia, or low unbound blood calcium is associated with the highest mortality factor for those who are critically ill. (1), (2), (3)
Febrile seizures occur when blood calcium is below 50% of healthy levels. Interestingly, insufficient tissue calcium correlates to an increase, in tissue-related illnesses. You may also suffer from itchy skin or excessive hair loss (especially after pregnancy) if you are deficient in tissue calcium. Calcium balance between the blood and tissues is critical to health-- both places need calcium in the right concentrations. Too little or too much in one place opens the door to illness and disease!
Vitamin D production in the body increases with sun exposure, and Vitamin D holds calcium, absorbed from the gut, in the blood. This means that prolonged sun exposure and sweating may deplete the tissues of calcium and other vital minerals, leaving a person susceptible to sunstroke, viral outbreaks and infections such as herpes, polio, and HPV (which is incidentally linked to cervical cancer). (4) By contrast, Vitamin F, which is a fat-soluble vitamin manufactured by the liver, transports calcium from the blood into the tissues, making this wondrous vitamin able to reverse or prevent sunstroke, fever, and viral infections involving bodily tissues. By the same token, cold sores, cankers sores, and herpes outbreaks are nothing more than a tissue calcium deficiency. So if you struggle with these issues, be sure to get plenty of calcium, and drive it into your skin by consuming plenty of fish oil or Cataplex F by Standard Process!
Blood calcium levels are also regulated by the parathyroid gland, which secretes PTH (parathyroid hormone) causing calcium to be secreted from the bones into the bloodstream. If there is too much calcium in the blood, the parathyroid reduces PTH which brings the blood calcium levels back down to normal. Incidentally, low Vitamin D may actually be a sign of calcium deficiency. (5)
Related to immune function, ionized calcium regulates apoptosis (programmed cell death) and tumor regression. (6) Apoptosis inhibition is specifically related to a lack of ionized calcium in prostate cancers. Vitamin D induces apoptosis of cancer cells as well, while antioxidants suppress apoptosis. Calcium also brings in highly reactive oxygenated species to destroy cells at the first sign of necrosis. (7)
High or low blood pressure may be related to a tissue calcium deficiency as well. A little calcium lactate plus Vitamin F tones the heart muscle so that it can pump efficiently. Cataplex G may also be helpful for hypertension because Vitamins B3 and B6 are vasodilators which relax blood vessels and allow them to expand, thus lowering blood pressure. In the same way, muscle cramps whether menstrual or Charlie horses may indicate a calcium deficiency (in the tissues), and Cataplex F and/ or Calcium Lactate will assist with resolving these annoying and painful nuisances.
2. Form or type
If you look on the shelves of the supplement section at your local grocery store, you will find a variety of calciums, each having its own benefits (and disadvantages). Bioavailablity is the key to usefulness in the body!
Calcium bicarbonate is the only ionized form of calcium, making it essential to the heart muscle, and it is only available through spring water or when formed in the body by conversion from another form of calcium, such as calcium citrate or calcium lactate. Both of the latter forms of calcium are the most easily converted to calcium bicarbonate through one or two enzymatic reactions. Calcium is alkaline by nature, so an acidic environment is needed to break it down into a form that can be assimilated by the body. As a result, adequate hydrochloric acid in the stomach is required for this to happen. Speaking of digestion, adequate calcium and sodium prevent and reverse ulcers. The lining of the stomach is composed of sodium in fact, and I’m not talking about table salt here but rather unrefined sea salt.
Calcium carbonate, sourced from sea shells or egg shells, and is by far the most inexpensive calcium, with only a 2-6% rate of absorption in the gut, if you are lucky! The body can assimilate this calcium, but the money you save on the supplement is wasted by its bio-unavailability.
Calcium citrate has a higher rate of absorption than calcium carbonate because citrate compound is acidic, making it more easily broken down into a form that is usable by the body. This is why calcium is added to commercial orange juice! Supplementing with Betaine Hydrochloride from Standard Process or Nature’s Sunshine’s Proactazyme or Protease Plus will enhance digestion and hence absorption of calciums in the body, particularly calcium carbonate.
Calcium lactate sounds like it comes from milk, but it does not. In fact, “it contains NO dairy, whey or lactose and is safe for people allergic to milk products.” (Source: Standard Process Clinical Reference Guide) Rather it is calcium bound to lactic acid, which is a salt of lactic acid yeast, which produced by lactic acid producing bacteria (LAB) in the gut. This lactic acid is not the same as the lactic acid produced in muscles after a hard workout-- this is related to a B1 or B12 deficiency, but alas, that is a story for another time!
Tricalcium phosphate is from bone meal and is excellent for building healthy bones and teeth. Calcifood from Standard Process uses a form of bone meal that is biologically active through cold processing vs. steamed bone which is devoid of beneficial enzymes. Important to bone formation is bone matrix for the calcium to build upon. This foundational bone matrix is formed through glucosamine & chondroitin. This is critical to understand so that you select the correct product for building bone AND for preventing some serious problems. For instance, bones contain two different types of cells: osteoblasts and osteoclasts. The first BUILDS bone, and the second CLEARS out dead bone cells. Pharmaceuticals such as Fosamax work at building the bone WITHOUT clearing out the dead cells, making the bones like fragile shells that easily break. (8) This is a crime, in my opinion, because,
“75% of Americans over 65 who fracture a hip don’t live more than 90 days due complications such as pneumonia or embolism.” --Dr. Joel Wallach, Dead Doctors Don’t Lie
What is the natural solution for osteoporosis? Calcium in the form of colloidal, plant-derived minerals, plus a bone matrix builder! Bones are composed of both hard and soft tissues (bone matrix), and should contain glucosamine, chondroitin, and collagen which contribute not only to healthy bones but also regenerate and repair soft tissues in the joints (ligaments, cartilage, muscles, and tendons). And contrary to traditional medical wisdom, bone spurs are a calcium deficiency as well vs. an excess of calcium. With the proper bone matrix, bones will reform and redistribute across the bone instead of on the ends. Got joint pain? What about lower back pain? Growing pains? Teething pain? You aren’t deficient in prescription or over-the-counter drugs. You need An Ancient Treasure Chest of Nutrition!
3. Ratio to other minerals in the body
Last but not least, the proper ratio of calcium to other minerals in the body is crucial for health. Calcium combined with magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium ions maintains muscle tone and controls irritability. Almost more important than actual amounts of minerals in the body is the ratio of these minerals to one another. For instance:
Calcium: Magnesium (Ca:Mg)-- referred to as “The Blood Sugar Ratio,” this ratio is highly affected by stress of any kind due to its impact on the ADRENAL GLANDS (cortisol) and GLUCOSE METABOLISM. Insulin resistance can be caused by nutritional depletion from chronic stress and resultant excess cortisol and insulin secretion. Calcium can be depleted from the bones as a result of cortisol increasing which in turn may increase tissue calcium levels. Excessive calcium channel activity from stress can cause catabolism (breakdown of muscles), diminished cellular longevity, and release of magnesium from the cells.
Ca:Mg may be artificially high due to copper toxicity which is common with excess stress. A low ratio may result in fear, indecision, edgy nerves, ADHD, fatigue, excess scar tissue and sleep disorders, including night time cramping or restless legs.
Calcium: Potassium (Ca:K)-- this ratio is sometimes termed “The Thyroid Ratio,” and relates to metabolism. An excess of potassium will skew the ratio with calcium, and may indicate low bioavailability of potassium resulting in digestive and elimination issues, loss of equilibrium, fear and defensiveness.
“High blood pressure most often is a simple calcium and magnesium deficiency.” --Dr. Peter Glidden
Calcium: Phosphorus (Ca:P)-- high phosphorus relative to calcium may result in tissue degeneration and progressive emaciation. Again an excess of phosphorus may indicate low bioavailability resulting in emotional volatility, fatty liver disease, and even sleepwalking. A proper balance is necessary for healthy bones and teeth, and phosphorus will put calcium back into solution and relieve aching joints. This is because phosphorus is acidic in pH, and alkaline synovial fluid allows calcium deposits to form in the joints particularly at night, hence joint stiffness in the morning. Muscle movement releases lactic acid which in turn works like phosphorus by putting calcium back into solution.
As you can see, calcium is vital to overall health and wellness. It is required for more than healthy bones and teeth, but also contributes to immune function, emotions, endocrine function, blood sugar balance, heart health, etc. Calcium is vital, and it is one of 60 essential minerals, meaning that we need to replenish every day.
Do you have calcium in the right place, form, and ratio to other minerals? Contact me for a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) that I can use to determine where the imbalances are and how to correct them in order to restore your health. For even more studies on the role calcium in the body, check out this link.
L'chaim-- To Life!
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