Calcium supplements? Not for me.
- Created on Friday, 21 June 2019 20:02
I don’t take any calcium supplements, and I don’t eat dairy either I’m content to get the calcium in green vegetables, nuts, and beans and leave it at that. I don’t want any more than they contain, and I’ll tell you why.
First, one of the universal processes of aging involves pathological calcification, where soft tissues become calcified. You know what it does to your arteries; it hardens them. The most definitive test for arteriosclerosis is the coronary calcium test. I believe it’s accurate, but I don’t recommend it because it involves a large amount of radiation.
But, it’s not just your arteries that get calcified. Calcium deposits in the skin cause wrinkles. Calcium deposits in the joints cause arthritis. Calcium deposits at the end of the tendons cause rotator cuff and frozen shoulder. The pineal gland becomes calcified in just about everybody. And the list goes on and on.
So, every time you put calcium in your body, you have to wonder: is it going to go someplace good or someplace bad?
But, there’s another reason I don’t want to take calcium. You know that Vitamin D helps with the absorption of calcium, and when there is a lot of calcium coming in, the body gets lazy about activating Vitamin D. But, it’s the activated Vitamin D that has the potent anti-cancer effect, for instance, to deter prostate cancer in men. So, since I think prostate cancer poses a bigger threat than osteoporosis, I’d rather err on the side of less calcium.
I have been avoiding calcium supplements forever. I never got into it. So, what are the results? Have I suffered? I don’t think, and I’ll tell you why. First, I haven’t lost height, and for being 68, that’s amazing. Well, maybe I have lost a small fraction of an inch, but that’s it. I’m short, 5’6”, but I’ve always been this height. And I meet people my age all the time who have lost 2 or more inches of height. Second, I’m doing well with my teeth, and my dentist says I’ve got good mineral density in my teeth, and remember that teeth are just specialized bones. And three, I’m doing well holding on to muscle. I’m not experiencing sarcopenia, which is age-related muscle loss. And know that sarcopenia and osteopenia go together. Bones and muscles tend to deteriorate simultaneously. So, if my muscles are strong, and they are, then my bones are probably strong too.
So, I am very content not to take calcium supplements, and I am not losing any sleep worrying about my bones. But, am I saying that nobody should take calcium supplements? Well, if a slender, light-weight, small-boned woman asked me if she should take calcium supplements, I would feel compelled to tell her to take some, since she is at high risk for osteoporosis. But, I wouldn’t recommend 1000 mgs or even 800, as you commonly hear. I’m thinking more like 200 to 300 mgs a day.
But, even though I don’t take calcium, I do take some magnesium, which is the second most abundant mineral in bone and in the body. There is no disease comparable to pathologic calcinosis relating to magnesium. And magnesium does a lot of good things, including help prevent diabetes, which, as you know, is extremely common. Magnesium also helps keep your blood pressure low because it has a relaxing effect on the arteries. And it actually helps you relax overall and may help you sleep better at night, and without any adverse effects. Magnesium is involved in hundreds of biochemical reactions in your body, and although it is widely distributed in foods, it is actually a bit challenging to reach an optimal level from diet alone. You can easily do it if you eat a lot of kale and collards, but you really have to load up. I eat those foods and I recommend them, but I also take some magnesium, just for insurance, because there is no harm in doing it, and it’s not expensive.
So, the bottom line for me is that I don’t think I need to take calcium supplements. If my condition changes, I am open to changing my mind, but at this point in time, I have no qualms about avoiding calcium in pill form.