Here we go again. Recently the San Francisco Chronicle and many other media sources reported on a study linking calcium supplementation and higher rates of heart disease. I have received many emails from my readers asking my thoughts on the topic. So, here goes. EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT! This is where individualized medicine should take a bow. Definitely some people take too much calcium and quite often the worst forms – Tums for instance. It is always best to get nutrients from the food we eat. So who should consider or be evaluated by a nutritionist to determine whether or not to add calcium supplements to their health regimen:
People with osteoporosis are at the top of the list. They might have digestive problems or simple are not taking in enough calcium though their diet.
Those who eat a calcium leaching diet – high in processed food (really nutrient lacking food)
Digestive problems inhibiting absorption of calcium
Decreased hydrochloric (HCL) acid production in the stomach – we need HCL to break down protein and aid calcium to be absorbed into the blood stream.
People who are dairy free.
Keep in mind that calcium needs to be balanced with magnesium and vitamin K. A diet high in dairy foods will not be balanced with magnesium. A calcium rich diet from veggies will have more of a balance with magnesium.
Bottom line – See how much calcium you take in through your diet. You can check here to assess your calcium intake. If you do need to supplement make sure you know if your calcium supplement is elemental calcium. If the bottle doesn’t say, you need to contact the company. What the heck is elemental calcium? I wrote an article; Calcium, the Double Edged Sword that you can read to get you up to speed.
Bottom bottom line: work with a nutritionist who sees you as an individual and if you have health issues including osteoporosis or heart disease risk factors make sure appropriate lab work is ordered.
Regarding vitamin K. Recently I interviewed Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue who wrote, who wrote, Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little Known Vitamin Could Save Your Live. That webinar is not available at this time but it will be posted on my website in the near future.
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