The Calcium Conundrum
Conventional wisdom on osteoporosis prevention links bone health with maximum calcium intake. We're told that to build and maintain a healthy skeleton we must consume more dairy products and choose calcium-fortified foods. North Americans, with some of the highest rates of calcium intake in the world, ironically top the global charts with our high rates of osteoporosis. Clearly, something is wrong with the equation. Often neglected is the question of how to make the most of the calcium we do get.
Our diet can have a major impact on the availability of calcium supplies for building bones. By creating an acidic environment in the blood, studies show that animal protein - including meat, eggs, and dairy - salt, refined sugars, and carbonated drinks destabilize the natural pH balance of the blood. In response, calcium is required to re-alkalinize the blood. When supplies of calcium in the blood are inadequate, calcium is drawn from the bones to compensate. The supreme irony is that increased dairy consumption can actually rob the body of calcium; and those calcium-fortified foods, like any processed fare, are also loaded with calcium-depleting sugar and salt.
According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a not-for profit organization focused on prevention, "The most healthful calcium sources are green leafy vegetables and legumes."
Making efficient use of calcium also means paying attention to magnesium intake. This key mineral is one of the hardest working nutrients in the body, aiding over 300 critical biochemical and physical processes. At the cellular level, magnesium is a complement to calcium; without magnesium, calcium can't be fully assimilated, leading not only to symptoms of deficiency, but also to harmful calcium build-up. Emerging wisdom recognizes magnesium may actually be more important than calcium for building and maintaining health bones.
Dr. Carolyn Dean recommends a daily dose of 3 mg per pound of body weight of magnesium. Sources include beans, whole grains, nuts and green leafy vegetables. People can usually get half of what they need in a good diet.
Another thing to consider is that you can get an imbalance of too much calcium to magnesium and end up with what Dr Dean calls calcification of the organs. This can lead to hardening and narrowing of the arteries, kidney stones, gallstones, calcium deposits on the joints leading to arthritis and muscle pain. Calcium tenses muscles and excites nerves while magnesium relaxes muscles and calms nerves. Calcium also builds up in the body while magnesium is constantly depleted by things like sugar, processed foods, stress, mineral imbalance, caffeine and alcohol.
If you choose to take a supplement, it's important to choose an effective delivery system. Magnesium citrate combines a pure mineral with citric acid, a formulation that can be rapidly and efficiently absorbed. Natural Calm's Magnesium Powder formula becomes ionic when dissolved in hot water and helps to increase magnesium levels effectively. Our Natural Calms' powdered Magnesium Plus Calcium contains 2:1 magnesium to calcium as well as potassium, Vitamin D, Vitamin C and Boron and is an excellent bone builder. Natural Calm's Magnesium is a delicious choice that is available in four flavours, raspberry lemon, sweet lemon, orange and natural. It is sweetened with organic stevia and fruit flavours.
Natural Calm Canada's products are available at local health stores and wellness clinics across Canada. For more information about our products go to naturalcalm.com. All proceeds from the sale of Natural Calm Canada products help the extreme poor through Organics 4 Orphans. Our non-profit organization teaches community groups and orphanages how to grow high nutrient foods through bio-intensive gardening methods. We provide training, tools, seeds, water sources and fencing to help facilitate this process. Our goal is to teach food security, nutritional training, disease prevention and income creation through the courses that are taught by organics for orphan trainers.
Written by: Anna O'Bryne, a freelance writer in Toronto.
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