Calcium in the crosshairs again
- Created on Monday, 10 January 2022 05:43
A new study has found a correlation between high calcium intake and increased risk of arteriosclerosis. And I am not surprised. The most accurate test for arteriosclerosis is the coronary calcium test. The amount of calcium that should be in your heart muscle is zero. It’s a muscle; not a bone. So, when they find calcium in there, it’s a sure sign of heart disease.
I have no interest in taking calcium supplements, and it doesn’t worry me. I think it’s wrong to think that osteoporosis is caused by too little calcium. Osteoporosis starts with a loss, not of calcium, but of the protein-matrix of the bone. After that goes, the calcium goes too. But, it starts with losing the protein. That should tell us that osteoporosis is the equivalent of sarcopenia, which is the age-related loss of muscle protein. They are essentially the same pathological process and provoked by the same conditions.
So, what conditions am I talking about? Well, it comes down to anabolism and catabolism. Anabolism is the building up process, and catabolism is the breaking down process. As we get older, anabolism suffers. We just don’t build-up and repair as we did when we were young. But, there is still plenty of catabolism going on, and maybe more than ever.
Anabolism suffers in part due to the reduction in anabolic hormones, principally testosterone in men and estrogen in women. And the reduced physical activity of old age also hurts.
The amount of calcium in the diet is not that big a deal because if the diet is lower in calcium, the body will try harder to absorb what calcium is there. The best dietary sources of calcium are greens like kale and broccoli and bok choy, nuts like almonds, fruits like figs and oranges, and beans and soy are also good sources. That’s what I rely on, and I consider them all preferable to milk and milk products.
But, is it working for me? Am I getting enough calcium to maintain my bones? I think I am, and here’s why. One, I have lost very little height. Maybe a small fraction of an inch, but that’s it. And that’s fantastic for someone who is almost 71. Two, I’m doing well with my teeth, and teeth are just specialized bones. And three, I’m retaining my muscles and my strength. I don’t seem to have sarcopenia. And as I said at the beginning: sarcopenia and osteoporosis go together. So, if I don’t have sarcopenia, I probably don’t have osteoporosis either.
So, what am I doing besides eating those plant foods I mentioned? One, I do exercise regularly. I’m not a fanatic about it. I don’t go to extremes. But, I hike, bike, and swim, and I also do some light weight training. But, nothing heroic. Nothing that is going to cause injury.
Then, I take 5000 IUs of Vitamin D3 every day, which helps to maximize calcium nutriture. I also take Vitamin K2, which helps to keep calcium in the bones and out of the arteries. And, I also take 25 mg of DHEA every day, which helps keep my testosterone level high, which supports my anabolism, including my bone anabolism.
And from doing all that, I feel that I am keeping my bones in good shape and without having to take calcium supplements.
To be fair, I will tell you that I have never had a bone density scan done. But, based on the things I am doing, I am confident that if I did one, it would show a good result.
And this wary attitude I have about calcium, I have had for a long time: decades. It’s nothing new.
Finally, do people need 1500 mgs of calcium every day, as they claim? I doubt it. I probably get about 500 mgs, and I think it’s enough. I am not losing any sleep over my calcium intake and my bones.