Zero tolerance: no safe level of alcohol
- Created on Monday, 27 August 2018 12:21
This article by Marlowe Hood appeared on August 23, 2018. It's great that a study has confirmed that the effects of alcohol are linear, just as are the effects of most things. It has been known for many decades, and nearly a century, that alcohol is a carcinogen, a mutagen, a universal toxin, and a "protoplasmic poison" as Herbert Shelton used to call it. The idea that a little bit of alcohol is good for you was never a reasonable claim or expectation. It was really just wishful thinking. And, it was politically motivated. You see, we live in an insane world where if one person wants to come home from work and relax by drinking a glass of wine, he or she can, but if another person prefers to smoke a marijuana cigarette, he or she is subject to arrest, prosecution, incarceration, forfeiture of their assets, etc. How do you justify that? You justify it by claiming that, unlike marijuana and other illicit drugs, a little bit of alcohol is good for you. And that's why most of the studies purporting that alcohol is a health boon were sponsored, directly or indirectly, by the U.S. government.
In the insane "War on Drugs" alcohol had to become a health food.
Most people drink, at least a little. So, what should they do? They should start by casting aside the delusion that a little bit of alcohol is good for you. The less alcohol you drink, the better. The ideal amount is zero, and if you can't get to zero, then get as close to zero as you possibly can. Keep striving to get lower and lower and lower in your consumption of alcohol, until you are at zero. That is the intelligent thing to do in light of what we know.
In Nature, alcohol is produced by bacteria, but ultimately, it kills them too. Why do you think alcohol can be used as an antiseptic? Alcohol is toxic to all living things, and it certainly does not belong in anyone's health program. Alcohol is anti-life.
Dr. Ralph Cinque
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Even an occasional glass of wine or beer increases the risk of health problems and dying, according to a major study on drinking in 195 nations that attributes 2.8 million premature deaths worldwide each year to booze.
"There is no safe level of alcohol," said Max Griswold, a researcher at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle, Washington and lead author for a consortium of more than 500 experts.
Despite recent research showing that light-to-moderate drinking reduces heart disease, the new study found that alcohol use is more likely than not to do harm.
"The protective effect of alcohol was offset by the risks," Griswold told AFP in summarising the results, published in medical journal The Lancet on Friday.
"Overall, the health risks associated with alcohol rose in line with the amount consumed each day."
Compared to abstinence, imbibing one "standard drink" -- 10 grammes of alcohol, equivalent to a small beer, glass of wine or shot of spirits -- per day, for example, ups the odds of developing at least one of two dozen health problems by about half-a-percent, the researchers reported.
Looked at one way, that seems like a small increment: 914 out of 100,000 teetotallers will encounter those problems, compared to 918 people who imbibe seven times per week.
"But at the global level, that additional risk of 0.5 percent among (once-a-day) drinkers corresponds to about 100,000 additional deaths each year," said senior author Emmanuela Gakidou, a professor at the University of Washington and a director at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
- 'Less is better, none is best' -
"Those are excess deaths, in other words, that could be avoided," she told AFP.
The risk climbs in a steep "J-curve", the study found.
An average of two drinks per day, for example, translated into a 7.0 percent hike in disease and injury compared to those who opt for abstinence.
With five "units" of alcohol per day, the likelihood of serious consequences jumps by 37 percent.
The "less is better, none is best" finding jibes with the World Health Organization's long-standing position, but is at odds with many national guidelines, especially in the developed world.
Caloric Restriction for Life Extension
- Created on Saturday, 23 June 2018 05:57
It is widely recognized in medical science that caloric restriction is the most proven technique of life extension. Under experimental conditions, it has worked in species large and small, including mammals. I don’t think it has ever been tested experimentally in humans, but there isn’t much doubt that it works.
And many people are acting on it, either through caloric restriction on a daily basis or intermittent fasting. I am seeing a lot about this online, including on Youtube.
But, I actually have an uneasy feeling about it- even though I doubt that it works. What I question is: is it worth it restrict your calories to the point of becoming underweight, where you actually scrawny-icize yourself in the hope that you will live longer?
Realize that if an overweight person, that is, a fat person, was to restrict calories and thereby reduce their excessive body fat, that obviously is an unmitigated, unqualified good. So, if you want to use caloric restriction to get to a healthy level of leanness, that’s fine. But, what if you’re already sufficiently lean? Would it pay to restrict calories and get leaner in the hope of living longer?
Well, in my opinion, there is a healthy weight for everybody, where you look the best and feel the best and have the best proportions and the most energy, etc. So, to get below your healthy weight, especially significantly below it, makes no sense to me, and it is an extreme thing to do.
And, it doesn’t come without risks of its own. You have less reserves in the event that you had a terrible trauma and couldn’t eat normally. If you are already bone-thin, what’s going to happen to you then? Your bones may get weaker from being so light. And if you get below your ideal weight, its very likely that you will lose muscle as well. And the truth is that Nature is working against us that way. There is a natural tendency to lose muscle mass just from getting older. And if you want to prevent it, you really have to work at it. The vast majority of people do experience sarcopenia- the age-related loss of muscle. It’s a cousin to osteoporosis- and you know how common and widespread that is.
So, in my opinion, the only practical and sensible thing is to restrict calories to the extent that it helps you maintain your best and ideal weight. And even if you got slightly thinner than that, you could get away with it and still have a high quality of life. But, if you deliberately make yourself thinner than that through eating restriction, you are doing something very extreme which may backfire.
Life isn’t just about quantity; it’s about quality. And it’s a higher quality of life in many ways if you maintain your best weight, where you look your best, feel your best, and act your best. You are not going to live forever no matter what you do, so you have to keep your priorities straight. To cause yourself actual wasting in the hope of living longer is, again, a very extreme and radical thing to do.
So, I never think in terms of restricting calories as an objective. I think in terms of maintaining my ideal weight and proportions, and strength and energy. And for me, it comes in right around 135 pounds at my height of 5’6”.
Would I prolong my life if I maintained my weight at, say, 125 pounds? I very well might, but I’m not interested. And that’s because I wouldn’t look as good (and of course, I look great) I wouldn’t be as strong, I wouldn’t feel as good about my masculinity from being so scrawny, and when I looked in the mirror I wouldn’t be seeing myself. I’d be seeing this very skinny guy. I would almost feel foreign to myself. So, why would I want to live like that? I wouldn’t want to even if I could be guaranteed to live longer, and of course, there are no such guarantees.
But, I would like to add that the awareness of the effectiveness of caloric restriction is something that we should at least use to keep ourselves from eating junk. For instance, if you are tempted to eat ice cream before going to bed, that’s surely extra calories that you don’t need, and restricting them can only do you good and not harm.
But, even though I don’t practice it as taught, I still enjoy reading about caloric restriction experiments, and I am they will continue. One amusing perspective is that if you restrict calories on a daily basis, you won’t enjoy as much food on a daily basis, but because you will live longer, you will consume and enjoy more food over the course of your lifetime than you otherwise would have. Is that true mathematically? I don’t know, but it is amusing to ponder.
The latest from Dr. Uffe Ravnskov
- Created on Monday, 30 April 2018 05:38
I am sharing this latest communication from Dr. Uffe Ravnskov, with permission. Dr. Ravnskov is a Danish physician, a nephrologist, or kidney specialist. But, many years ago, he took a keen interest in the pushing of statin drugs for high cholesterol. And, as he explains better than anyone else, it really is crazy. Cholesterol is a vital substance found in every cell of the body. Cells couldn't exist without it because cholesterol is what enables cells to maintain an internal environment that is distinct from the surrounding medium. And that's just one thing that cholesterol does. Cholesterol is a precursor to many hormones. Cholesterol is extremely abundant in the brain. In fact, cholesterol is so vital to the brain, that the brain makes its own cholesterol. And the harms that come from taking statin drugs result from both the direct toxic effects of the drugs, and the very fact that they cripple cholesterol production. The idea that we should be taking substances that sabotage the body's ability to make cholesterol is to make war on one of the most vital and essential biological productions that occurs within the body. It is crazy. But, it's a case of widespread stupidity. President Trump takes a statin drug. That's what his doctor recommended. And I dare say he can afford good health care. But, with all his billions, he is not getting good health care because stupidity reigns. Anyway, read this by Dr. Ravnskov, who has a brilliant mind. The man knows how to think.
When do the criminal statin advocates become punished?
You need not be a medical expert to understand that the cholesterol campaign is led by fraudulent researchers and business people. A few weeks ago I received for instance You must be nuts! - the business of dementia, a humorous but also serious movie made by the photographer Obhi Chatterejee, where he in a simple way explains the truth about fat and cholesterol and also how he tried to treat his father, who had become dement due to statin treatment.
And many more have understood that. If you search Youtube with the words “cholesterol myth” you will get access to hundreds of videos where researchers, doctors, journalists and wise lay people present various types of revealing facts.
But nothing happens. Although the cholesterol campaign is one of the greatest mistakes in the medical world; although it has caused serious side effects in millions of healthy people; and although billions if not trillions of dollars have been spent in vain, politicians prefer to listen to professors when it comes to medical problems, and most of the professors in this area are unwilling to admit that what they have taught during many years is wrong. If the truth becomes known for the world, most of them may even loose large amounts of money from the drug companies.
Hopefully the well-known British cardiologist Aseem Malhotra may be able to stop the cholesterol madness. A few weeks ago he gave a long lecture in the European Parliament about the cholesterol and dietary madness assisted by Sir Richard Thompson, President of the Royal College of Physicians; the Dutch Professor Hanno Pijl and the progressive nutritionist Sarah Macklin.
We, members of THINCS, have published a book named Fat and Cholesterol don't cause heart attacks and Statins Are Not The Solution. Here you will find many chapters where some of us have documented the many frauds delivered by the food and the drug industry. You can buy the book directly from the publisher and on Amazon you can read comments about our book from 36 readers, 29 of whom haven given it 5 stars.
If you understand Hebrew, please listen to a discussion about the book on Israel Television between a journalist and Dr. Dan Keret, an Israeli researcher, who presents our book as “The Cholesterol Bible”. Even if you do not understand Hebrew, please listen to the two first minutes! It is a brilliant presentation.
An ER doctor who refuses to get a flu shot
- Created on Sunday, 28 January 2018 13:36
You should definitely watch this: an ER doctor being interviewed on the street, talking about what he has seen from vaccinations, and why he doesn't get any, including the flu shot. He talks about the ridiculousness of all the tetanus shots that are given for all kinds of things for which there hasn't been an outbreak of tetanus in over 100 years. Yet, they are still giving the shots.
I am reminded of the old joke about the guy who was on a London train, crumpling up pieces of paper and throwing them out the window. The bloke next to him asked "What are you doing that for?" and he said, "to keep the elephants away." "But, there are no elephants" responded the other bloke. Said the first guy, "I know. Works like a charm, doesn't it?"
And after you’ve watched the video, do a Youtube search for VaXxed, and you’ll find plenty more, including doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals who don’t vaccinate themselves or their kids, including the famous Dr. Oz, who doesn't get the flu shot.
Right now, in the winter of 2018, there is reportedly a terrible flu epidemic going on. They are reporting a lot of deaths, including the deaths of many children and young adults. But, when somebody seeks medical attention for the flu, don’t you think they must ask them if they received a flu shot? It would be crazy if they didn’t, right? So, why aren’t they telling us what percentage of those stricken got the flu shot? I am thinking that many of them did because if few did, or if none did, they would surely be telling us that.
And, they keep urging people to get the flu shot, that it’s not too late, even though they admit that they predicted and selected the wrong strains, that the predominant virus that is behind the current outbreak was NOT included in the current vaccine.
But, I wouldn’t get the flu vaccine or recommend it even if it supposedly had the right strain. The effectiveness of the flu shot has NEVER been tested- in all these years. They have NEVER done a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of the flu vaccine- or any other vaccine. They say it would be unethical to do it. That’s because some people would be denied the vaccine. But, plenty of people aren’t going to get the vaccine anyway- by choice. So, why not compare their incidence of infection and health outcomes to vaccine takers? That, they say, would be like comparing apples to oranges.
Vaccination is a cult. It is a pseudo-scientific cult. Really, it is a religion; a part of the religion of Modern Medicine.
I do NOT get vaccinated- for anything- and I would sooner leave the country, permanently, rather than submit to vaccination. And if it comes to it, I will. I’m not kidding. And if I were traveling, and the country I was going to required vaccinations, I just wouldn’t go to that country. Hey, there is no place I have to visit. Most places I’m not going to visit before I die anyway, so what does it matter?
Vaccination is an archaic superstition that has been turned into a racket, and I shall fight it to my last breath.
My Take on Thyroid Replacement
- Created on Sunday, 31 December 2017 18:37
Millions of people reach the point in life in which they need thyroid replacement. Some develop Hashimoto's thyroiditis, the auto-immune form of thyroid deficiency. But, many become hypothyroid without developing the antibodies for Hashimoto's. It's like their thyroid gland just conks out, perhaps from aging, but also, perhaps, because of anti-thyroid substances that occur widely in foods. Thyroid hormone is the most prescribed drug in America.
Thyroid hormone occurs in two forms: T3, which is the active hormone, and T4, which is the storage form of the hormone. The number refer to the number of iodine units it has. So, the body has to split off one of the iodines to make the hormone active.
Most medical doctors prescribe the synthetic form of T4 which is known as Levothyroxine or Synthroid. But, the problem is that many people don't convert it into T3 very well. They don't get any bump in T3 at all. There is a synthetic form of T3, but it's rather dicey; people tend to have reactions to it; it requires closer monitoring. Hence, many doctors just settle for the Synthroid.
However, there is also the natural dessicated thyroid, which is derived from baby pigs, which has both T3 and T4, and it is generally easy to take without difficulty. The ratio of T3 to T4 is weighted slightly higher to T3 in a pig than a human. But, it doesn't seem to matter, clinically, in most people. To my mind, the only thing Synthetic T4 can be counted on to do is push down the TSH. Since T3 is the active hormone, that's what matters most. And for people who don't convert synthetic T4 into T3, they really need a different and better solution. Dessicated thyroid may be that solution. It really may be the best option for a great many people, even though it's animal-derived. I know that many alternative/complementary doctors prefer to prescribe the natural dessicated thyroid, and even many regular doctors do. Hilary Clinton's doctor prescribed dessicated thyroid to her.
I am not a medical doctor, so I don't prescribe thyroid to anyone. However, when it's an issue for someone, I will usually refer that person to a wholistic M.D. who prescribes dessicated thyroid.
As far as trying to rehabilitate the thyroid through nutrition and supplements, such as iodine, tyrosine, etc., in a borderline case, you can try it. But, when a person is clearly and profoundly hypothyroid, I don't think it's wise to delay giving them thyroid replacement. In fact, I think it is very unwise. It is a major strain on the body to not have enough thyroid. It's not something to trifle with.
And again, it affects millions. For millions, hypothryoidism is inevitable. And that's why I think that routine blood testing of people over 50 should always include a thyroid panel.
And that is my take on low thryoid.
Eat Your Beans!
- Created on Thursday, 16 November 2017 19:10
Legumes take a beating on the internet. I see a lot of bean-bashing. And I am going to address the objections that are commonly given to eating beans. But, first note that beans been a staple dietary component in the diets of the world's most long-lived peoples, including the Okinawans, the Sardinians, the Hunzas, and others. Eating beans has been linked to lower risk of: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer (the three major killers of human life).
Everyone knows that beans are high in protein, as high as meats, eggs, etc. For decades, it was claimed that bean proteins are "incomplete" in terms of the essential amino acids. But, it was never claimed that any of the essential amino acids are missing from beans; just that the proportion of one to another wasn't exactly right. But, that is ridiculous because the body can easily juggle that. And that is especially true in regard to bean proteins. The idea that the body can't use them because of the proportion of amino acids is ridiculous. Bean proteins have been shown to be superior because unlike animal proteins, they do not increase the loss of calcium in the urine, hence, they are much healthier for the bones than animal proteins. The quality of the protein in beans is not a shortcoming; it is an advantage.
Then, there is the high fiber in beans; soluble plant fiber. This fiber itself protects against, again, the triad of major human killers, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. The fiber in beans makes them slow to digest and slow to release their carbohydrate into the blood, hence, they are a low-glycemic-index food, well tolerated and handled by diabetics.
Beans are high in minerals, including calcium and iron. Meat is high in iron but practically devoid of calcium. Milk is high in calcium but practically devoid of iron. Beans have both and many more minerals.
Beans are the highest source of antioxidants in the diet. I kid you not. The USDA lists red kidney beans as the highest food in antioxidants, and two other beans make the top 5, the other two foods being berries. So, eating beans and berries is a very good dietary strategy.
Beans are the richest source of "phytochemicals" such as flavonoids, isoflavones, polyphenols, etc. which have been shown to have protective and disease-preventing properties. And again, these compounds have been shown to reduce the risk of the three major killers: cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
And speaking of amino acids, beans are a rich source of the amino acid arginine. And listen up guys: arginine is what puts lead in your pencil. Arginine is a precursor to nitric oxide, the chemical that causes vaso-dilation, as when your penis fills with blood when you are sexually aroused. So yes, eating beans is good for your sex life, notwithstanding the jokes about farting.
And speaking of that, let's talk about the objections to beans. Gas? Yes, it's true that beans can be gas-forming, but so can many foods. If you were going to avoid all foods that can cause gas, you'd have to avoid all fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts and whole grains. What, are you going to live on a diet of meat and white bread just to avoid gas? Getting some gas is normal. The average person has around 14 gas expulsions a day. You have to accept your humanity that you are going to get some gas, especially these natural plant foods. But, there is no reason why it has to be excessive, even if you're eating beans. The way to control it is, first: don't overeat on beans. Don't eat a whole potful. And especially if you are not used to eating them, start off slow. Like others, I get some gas, but I don't think it's excessive. It doesn't pose a problem in my life. But, I don't honestly think I get more gas on the days I eat beans. I am, apparently, quite used to them, and you can get used to them too. If you want to try taking an enzyme product like Beano when you eat beans, you can. I know of no downside. But frankly, I don't. It just hasn't been a major problem.
What about the phytoestrogens in beans? Are they going to turn boys into girls? No, they are not. Phytoestrogens are widely distributed in plants; they're not just in beans. Whole grains are high in phytoestrogens, and so are nuts. Highest of all are oil seeds. The highest food in phytoestrogens that I know of are sesame seeds, which are much higher than soybeans. The effect of phytoestrogens is to bind to estrogen receptors in your body, but they are much, much, much weaker than the body's own estrogen. There is no evidence of any feminizing effect in males from consuming soybeans or any other bean. And remember that soy milk formulas for infants have been in use for decades. I eat beans regularly, which means almost daily, and I also consume tofu quite regularly, and I am not the least bit concerned about losing my abundant manliness.
It is true that beans contain some "anti-nutrients" that interfere with digestion and can also cause red blood cells to stick together (hemaglutins) which can be dangerous and even deadly. However, it's only true of RAW legumes. Once you thoroughly cook them, they break down. They go away. They say that raw red kidney beans contain enough hemagluttins to kill, but once you cook them, they are perfectly safe. I have never cooked red kidney beans from scratch, and I don't know that I ever will. But, every time I go to the salad bar, which is often, I put a scoop of red kidney beans on my salad, and I shall continue doing that. Properly cooked (which commercially prepared red kidney beans are) they are perfectly safe.
What about the phytates in legumes interfering with mineral absorption, etc.? Once again, phytates occur in many foods besides beans, such as nuts and whole grains. "Phytic acid" means literally "plant acid" a name given because so many plants have it. It is a form of phosphoric acid and it can form insoluble bonds with calcium and other minerals. But, you know what counteracts it? Vitamin C. So, if there is a lot of Vitamin C with the meal, say from a large salad, you will be less affected by the phytic acid.
But, let's get something straight here: even under ideal conditions, you only absorb a small percentage of the minerals in your food. For calcium, it's about 20%. For iron, it's about 10% or less. The RDA for iron is 10 mg/day but that's based on the expectation that you'll absorb 1 mg. So, for men, they think that all you have to replace each day is 1 mg of iron. And guess what? Even that is too much for some men with a genetic tendency to hold on to iron. They have to donate blood regularly to reduce their iron levels. So, the fact that the iron in beans is less readily absorbed than the iron in meat is actually an advantage. Iron is an oxidant. It generates free radicals. It is considered pro-aging. Obviously, you need iron and can't live without it. But, you're not going to get anemic from eating beans and using beans as a replacement for meat; at least most people aren't. And keep in mind that most people who become anemic have not been avoiding meat. They become anemic in spite of eating meat. Most of the time, in this country, anemia results from digestive disorders. A diet with beans and green vegetables can easily provide 20 milligrams or more of iron a day, and you only have to absorb 1. So, do the math.
Finally, there is the issue of goitrogens in beans which can interfere with thyroid function by blocking iodine utilization. Many foods contain goitrogens, and some foods, like broccoli, contain more goitrogens than beans. But, you rarely hear anyone urge the avoidance of broccoli. And like phytates, goitrogens are broken down, to a great extent, by cooking. So, does that mean you shouldn't eat raw broccoli? Well, frankly, I don't. I don't consider it to be very digestible. It is gritty, and it remains gritty, no matter how long you chew it. It's just not meant to be eaten raw.
Beans are a very good food, a great food, and I eat them almost every day, at least 5 days a week. And I intend to continue doing that for the rest of my life. And if you don't want to eat beans, then all i can say is: fine. It means more beans for me.
To Breakfast, or not to Breakfast?
- Created on Sunday, 29 October 2017 17:05
There is an old adage that a hearty breakfast is a must to start the day right, but the fact is that there are a lot of people who really aren't hungry in the morning. Should they make themselves eat anyway? That is seldom a good idea. The fact is that there is nothing about sleeping at night that should generate a big appetite. Many people have to move around some and be active before they are inclined to eat. Not only is it OK to skip breakfast, but there are distinct benefits to doing to.
First, it extends the evening fast. After all, that's how the word originated, that you are breaking a fast. And it's good to think about it in connection with sleep. We all know how refreshing and restorative sleep is, although the mystery of how sleep recharges our batteries is not completely resolved. But, that it does is understood by all. But, part of the process is that fact that you are not putting anything into your body during that length of time. Not food, and not even water most of the time. How often do you wake up thirsty at night? I never do. You are leaving your body alone. And the fasting is part of the restorative process. Imagine if every night you got up in the middle of the night and ate a hearty meal and then went back to bed? How would you likely feel in the morning? Not nearly as well as if you had just slept all night.
So, we all benefit from our evening fast. But, what if you were to extend it to mid-day? Then, assuming you ate at 6 PM the night before, and say finished eating at 7, and say you didn't eat until Noon the next day, that would amount to 17 hours of abstinence from food. 17 hours in which you weren't challenging your blood sugar. 17 hours in which you weren't diverting blood and energy to your gut to process food. 17 hours in which you were not burdening your body with the work of handling food. Research has proven that intermittent fasting is beneficial and life-extending in all kinds of animal species. So, why not humans? Indeed, why not.
And we are talking here about a painless fast. You don't suffer from hunger pangs while you're sleeping, do you? And, if you aren't hungry first thing in the morning and wait some hours to eat, you haven't missed anything. You haven't felt deprived. In fact, by waiting, you are more likely to enjoy your lunch with great gusto. So, we are talking about more food enjoyment, not less.
There is a medical doctor in Canada named Jason Fung who is an obesity and diabetes specialist, and he is a great believer in fasting. He puts his patients on long and short fasts. And he especially raves about the idea of a daily fast that is achieved by skipping breakfast. He raves about the long span in which insulin levels are kept down. That, he feels, is the key, as he believes that high insulin levels are the cause of obesity, and fasting lowers blood insulin. He urges all his patients not to eat before Noon, and he says he never does so himself. The title of his book is: The Obesity Code.
My attitude is that if you feel genuinely hungry in the morning, it's entirely OK to eat. But, make sure you aren't doing it just out of habit and routine or the mistaken belief that you have to in order to have energy to get through the day. That is ridiculous. I know people who wake up in the morning and without eating anything go for long runs or bike rides. Where are they getting the energy? From their stored reserves. They're in good shape, so their liver and muscles have stored plenty of glycogen. The body isn't THAT dependent on food. In Nature, wild animals often go long periods without eating, and the function just fine. They go about their business. So much of it is psychological. People think they are going to faint if they don't eat.
So, my advice to you is to be flexible. If you do wake up with a roaring appetite, then by all means, eat a healthy breakfast. But, if you, like a lot of people, have little or no appetite in the morning, then by all means, wait until later in the day to eat. You will be doing yourself a favor in so many ways.
Calcium: Both Friend and Foe
- Created on Monday, 02 October 2017 02:22
I am not interested in taking calcium supplements. There is a little calcium in the multi that I take but very little. They can’t put much calcium in a multi because it would fill up the multi with calcium and leave little room for anything else. So, most multis have little or none. And that’s fine with me because I am not interested in consuming a lot of calcium. I don’t think I need to.
When the government recommends that you get 1000 mgs of calcium every day, they do so on the expectation that you will absorb about 20% of it. The rest passes right through your system. But when you consume less calcium and particularly a low amount of calcium, your body cranks up all the mechanisms by which you absorb and retain calcium. So, you might actually wind up absorbing just as much. But, even if you don’t, you might be better off because calcium is involved with a lot of pathologies. For instance, when they speak of “hardening of the arteries” it’s calcium that they are talking about. It's calcium that makes your arteries hard. Doctors consider the most reliable indicator of clogged coronary arteries to be the coronary calcium CT scan. I don’t recommend it because it involves a lot of ionizing radiation. But still, it is measuring calcium in the heart and it is telling doctors that your arteries are clogged.
So, calcium gets deposited in arteries, and it is no damn good when that happens because it is an end-stage process. The original clog was soft: an atheroma made of cholesterol and other things. Calcium enters the process late in the game. And it is not easy getting it out. Some people undergo intravenous chelation therapy to pull calcium out of arteries, but I really don't know how effective it is. Calcium can also get deposited in organs and tissues. Look what happens to the pineal gland. In my most people, it becomes completely calcified. Calcium can be deposited in the skin causing wrinkles. It can get deposited at the ends of tendons causing calcific tendonitis. Of course, everyone knows of the havoc that calcium can play within the urinary system. Most kidney stones are calcium based.
The truth is that calcium is as much associated with disease as with health. But, don’t you need a lot of calcium for your bones to prevent osteoporosis? First of all, osteoporosis is not fundamentally a disease of calcium deficiency. The loss of bone calcium in osteoporosis is secondary to the loss of bone protein. Osteoporosis is more like sarcopenia, which is age-related muscle loss. Again: the loss of calcium is secondary, and plying the body with calcium to prevent or ameliorate osteoporosis involves a lot of wishful thinking.
If a person wants to, they can get a heck of a lot of calcium from food alone without taking supplements and even without eating dairy. But, it would involve eating voluminous amounts of vegetables like collards, kale, broccoli, bok-choy, etc. I eat those foods, and I make a point of it, but I’m not going to tell you that I eat them in prodigious amounts. I eat them in moderate amounts. It gets rather gassy if you eat a whole pot-ful of kale. And I would not be inclined to do it because I’m just not worried about the calcium.
So, how am I doing on my relatively low calcium intake? I am pretty sure I am doing OK, and here is what I am going by:
1) My height: I never had a whole heck of a lot of it, but neither have I lost very much. I may have lost a small fraction of an inch, but that’s all. I mean no more than half an inch from my top height. And that is fantastic for a man who is 66 years old. I meet people my age all the time who have lost at least one inch, and maybe two inches or even three inches. So, I think I am doing very well that way.
2) My teeth: They’re holding up. I am not getting new cavities. My gums are healthy. I haven’t suffered any tooth fractures. I have do have enamel erosion from acid foods and whatnot. And I have definitely been a tooth grinder in my sleep. I haven’t gotten one of those mouthguards, though I probably should. But overall, I am doing well with my teeth.
My blood level of calcium has always been normal, but that doesn’t mean much because there are hormones and Vitamin D that maintain that regardless of what your level of calcium consumption is. And I do take Vitamin D3 which helps me absorb calcium. I don’t think I am suffering at all from too little calcium, and I think the government’s requirements are too high.Think about it from the standpoint of human history. For most of human history, people ate no dairy. That’s a relatively recent development. And even after dairying started, it only affected a relatively small percentage of people. Asia, for instance, has never had a dairying tradition. So, without dairy, where did they get calcium? There are leafy greens, as I mentioned, but it doesn’t seem likely that primitive people would have eaten voluminous amounts of them. Some amount yes, but it’s low density food; density in terms of calories; and back then, it wasn’t about avoiding and restricting calories but getting them. So, I have no reason to think that primitive people consumed high calcium diets. They certainly didn’t get 1000 mgs a day.
So how much should I and others get? I am inclined to think that 400 mgs would fine if all the other things are positive favorable, such as: getting enough physical activity and sunlight, eating whole natural foods; maintaining optimal Vitamin D levels (which is really only possible with supplements) and maintaining good digestive health so that your absorption is good. If you’ve got all those things going for you, then yes, 400 mgs of calcium a day is plenty sufficient.
But, what about a short, petite, small-boned woman? Shouldn’t she take a lot of calcium? Well even in her case, I wouldn’t recommend going higher than 400 mgs of calcium a day in supplement form. Enough is enough. I know of no evidence that more is better. And again, I repeat: osteoporosis is fundamentally a disease of bone protein wasting; and the loss of calcium from the bone is secondary.
Every time you consume calcium, you need to ask yourself: Where is this calcium going? You can’t just assume it’s going into your bones. Maybe some of it will, but if some is going to go into your arteries and organs and skin, then you need to think about how much you are ingesting, and erring on the side of less may be safer than erring on the side of more.