The Worrisome Calcium Lie...
By Alan Graham
with Alfred Lehmberg
Do calcium pills work? Is supplementation useful, effective, or even necessary?
Well, if you believe Christine Gorman's one-sided article in Time Magazine (Feb 22, 06), then the answer is NO! Time and several of the other competing news magazines reported the results of the WHI (Women's Health Initiative) study showing that taking supplemental Calcium & Vitamin D was pretty much a waste of time and the "extra" Calcium (Cal) might even cause an increase in kidney stones.
What a patent crock.
Aren't Christine and her lock-step colleagues over at US News & World Report supposed to be crack "Investigative" reporters? Right...?
It certainly wouldn't take much erstwhile "investigating" to find the ugly truth. Moreover, shouldn't these strange, unexpected, and abundantly inaccurate results prompt ones FIRST question to be, "Are there different forms of Calcium & Vitamin D supplements, and if so, are some absorbed better than others, and if so ... what kind did the women in the *study* take"?
This is first tier, fundamental, and basic stuff in journalism, reader.
All she had to do was ask the first holistic practitioner she ran into... or even the teenage girl at the local health food store could probably give a decent explanation. Seriously? I can only presume that Christine is "in the tank" for "whomever", or that she's hugely inept... ...I'm going with "in the tank" because US News & WR ran pretty much the same article, and Ms. Gorman is supposed to be at the top of her journalistic game...
Have you ever noticed how big corporations will lie for each other... ...much like priests, doctors, lawyers & cops. I digress...
It is conceivable (though doubtful) that Christine did ask something along those lines ... but I'm sure after the medical "doctors" very condescendingly explained how all Calcium & Vit. D supplements are "pretty much the same," she looked no further... ...I think a real investigative reporter would ask for a second opinion from someone with an opposing view, like a Naturopathic Doctor or Holistic Nutritional Consultant, but that's just me...
Why would you exclusively believe that it is these "Naturopathic" Doctors who have the pecuniary ax to grind? Who is making the BIG money with regard to what they would prescribe? Follow the money, reader.
Are the pharmaceutical industries "God-like" pawns and too-willing imps... the MDs... to be trusted to the exclusion of all others? I think not.
Believe me, the Drug Companies and the MDs who receive cleverly concealed kickbacks as "Research Field Associates", for pushing a particular drug, are giddy with the prospect of selling you more Fosamax for your osteoporosis and just maybe by discrediting Calcium / Vit. D supplements it will carry over to all supplementation -- then they own you!
Don't they own you already? I suspect that they do. You see Folks, there are different forms of Calcium & Vit. D, and believe me, the differing forms make all the difference in the world.
Not writing to the appropriate period? Here's what Christine said in the Time piece:
"...They took a standard Calcium & Vitamin D supplement..."
Whoa! Gee Christine... ...what the hell is a "standard" supplement? The truth of the matter is that there's no such thing as a "standard" supplement! Ms. Gorman applied the term "standard" to the forms that "doctors" always recommend... and coincidentally they are the forms that not only don't work very well... they are actually bad for you.
The cheap, inferior mineral forms that virtually all the WHI women took are called 'Inorganic Salts'. They include Calcium CARBONATE, Calcium PHOSPHATE and Magnesium OXIDE, as opposed to a superior 'Organic Chelated' mineral. Also, the Vitamin D was the inferior and less active form, Vit. D-2 ( ergocalciferol ) as opposed to the superior, active form Vit. D-3 (cholecalciferol). It makes a big difference, reader!
Calcium, like all minerals, generally has to "catch a ride" with some other substance like the Inorganic Salts, mentioned above (in capitals), or they can be Organically Chelated (Kee-late-id) with a variety of organic substances. Chelate, figuratively, means "Bound To," but literally means "Claw."
Another way to get trace minerals and trace amounts of macro minerals is as ionic elements in concentrated sea water. Or, they can remove most of the sodium to make Liquid Ionic Trace Mineral Drops that are great for re-mineralization of distilled or reverse osmosis water.
Lets start with the Inorganic Salts. These are the cheapest, least absorbable forms... like carbonate, phosphate, chloride & oxide. Calcium Carbonate & Magnesium Oxide are found in all grocery store Multivitamins like Centrum, Theragram, Flintstones (God bless the children, huh?), etc. Calcium Carbonate is also the main ingredient in most OTC antacids like Tums.
1). Carbonate - Calcium carbonate is particularly unhealthful because it neutralizes valuable stomach acid (that's why it's in Tums). If Christine had paid attention in her High School Biology she might've remembered that minerals (themselves being inorganic) are very difficult to absorb and require copious amounts of stomach acid to be effectively utilized.
Under ideal conditions, with Carbonate, you will likely absorb less than 10% of the Calcium (many say less than 5%), but if you consume sodas, tums, tap water, sugar & Cheezy Poofs? Then "Forget about it"...you won't absorb ANY Calcium from Calcium carbonate.
So, lets connect a few more dots... As we get older we produce LESS stomach acid, not MORE. TOO LITTLE stomach acid (believe it or NOT!) is the cause of heartburn & "acid" reflux, in most cases because when you have a normal, healthful, stomach pH of less than 3 (VERY ACIDIC), your LES ( Lower Esophageal Sphincter ) will naturally try to stay tightly closed... protecting the esophagus. The LES will open (sort of magically) to swallow and to burp, but it can open when it shouldn't because your stomach is too alkaline and too full for that degree of alkalinity (it should be very acidic if full). This, then, allows stomach contents to splash up into the esophagus... ...causing heartburn. This seems counterintuitive, I know, because even though there's too little acid to keep the LES slammed shut... there is still enough acid to cause terrible heartburn.
So, taking Calcium Carbonate with your meal will exacerbate the unhealthful alkaline condition. That's the science.
Remember, when your stomach is as acidic as battery acid (pH of 1) it will not only encourage the LES to stay closed, precluding esophageal burning (heartburn), but will also insure good digestion & protection from harmful microbes! Most importantly, it will properly "soften up" protein so the undigested protein will not cause an autoimmune response when it makes its way further down the gut... ...and is then perceived by the body to be a "foreign invader." This can prompt your immune system to attack YOU, reader, resulting in anything from nagging joint pain to life destroying MS.
I know when you have "heartburn" it's easy to assume you have too much acid... because it burns! Moreover, this is especially true when your smilingly sociopathic Medical "Doctor" strolls in and proclaims his pompous pontification that you have "reflux," caused by too much stomach acid... ...then prescribes pricey pharmaceuticals like Prevacid or Nexium (...the key!)... telling you authoritatively that, "Tums is a good source of Calcium." Later you are sure he's a beneficent genius because... the pain goes... ...away!
Actually, all you did was destroy the little bit of acid that was left, which then leads to more undigested food in your gut, inadequate critter & yeast protection, Leaky Gut Syndrome, diminished toxin protection, mineral & trace mineral deficiency... ultimately chronic disease and early death. I'm not overselling this...
Please read our paper "The Antacid Myth":
2). Phosphate - Calcium Phosphate is also an inferior form because in order to absorb Calcium you need a Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio of about 1 to 1 (2 to 1 in the bones). Unfortunately, even the poorest diet already has too much phosphorus because of colas, beer, dairy, bran cereal & processed meats. Excessive Phosphorus inhibits Calcium absorption ... So taking Calcium Phosphate supplements can exacerbate a mineral / trace mineral deficiency! It especially likes to inhibit Iron.
3). Oxide - Magnesium Oxide is the "standard" form that the WHI women took... ...which is the kind found in ALL grocery store Multivitamins. Fairly large amounts of Magnesium need to be soluble & absorbable in order to utilize the Calcium you take. Humm...so how can I put this? Magnesium Oxide is "Crap".
Look at what the mainstream website PubMed (www.pubmed.gov) had to say when comparing Mag. Citrate (organic) & Mag. Oxide (inorganic):
"Magnesium OXIDE was virtually insoluble in water and only 43% soluble in simulated peak acid secretion (24.2 mEq hydrochloric acid/300 ml). Magnesium CITRATE had high solubility even in water (55%) and was substantially more soluble than magnesium oxide in all states of acid secretion. Re-precipitation of magnesium citrate and magnesium oxide did not occur when the filtrates from the solubility studies were titrated to pH 6 and 7 to stimulate pancreatic bicarbonate secretion. Approximately 65% of magnesium citrate was complexed as soluble magnesium citrate, whereas magnesium complexation was not present in the magnesium oxide system. Magnesium absorption from the two magnesium salts was measured in vivo in normal volunteers by assessing the rise in urinary magnesium following oral magnesium load. The increment in urinary magnesium following magnesium citrate load (25 mmol) was significantly higher than that obtained from magnesium oxide load. Thus, magnesium CITRATE was more soluble and bio-available than magnesium OXIDE."
Even though most doctors will tell you that the Calcium Carbonate in Oscal & Caltrate is the superior form, some "conscientious" MD or dietician might recommend Citracal (which is Calcium Citrate, that we'll discuss in a moment). Even though there are no grocery store Multivitamin/Minerals that have Organic Chelated Minerals, Citracal is the one grocery store Calcium Supplement that is Organically Chelated. Here's the problem... Even though it uses Calcium CITRATE, it then negates this positive by using Magnesium OXIDE! This will compromise the absorption of the Cal. Citrate.
Consequently? I personally wouldn't take it ... not just because of the Magnesium Oxide, but as Frank Zappa was fond of saying, "It's Strickly Commercial..." meaning that it is in a cheap tablet form that uses numerous artificial binders, and other unnecessary "stuff".
Here are the ingredients: Yikes!!
"Calcium Citrate, Polyethylene Glycol, MAGNESIUM OXIDE, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Povidone, Croscarmellose Sodium, Color Added, HPMC, Zinc Oxide, Sodium Borate, Manganese Gluconate, Magnesium Stearate, Carnauba Wax, Vitamin D3."
Kidney Stones (KS):
The consumption of Supplemental INORGANIC Salts will increase the formation of kidney stones, reader, exacerbated by carbonated drinks, tap water, sugar, Tums, and high phytate & oxalate foods, like grains & Soy. This is because these things in concert can cause a mineral deficiency and contrary to what many MDs tell you... Kidney Stones are more apt to form when we are calcium deficient. Remember, even if you've swallowed massive amounts of Calcium Carbonate, you can still be calcium deficient. People who take Organically Chelated minerals and who have NOT neutralized their stomach acids with sodas & Tums, rarely have kidney stones.
Additionally, with older people, avoiding things that neutralize acid may not be enough, they very likely might need to take additional "Stomach Acid in a capsule"...supplemental Betaine HCL with Pepsin.
I get e-mail all the time from people around the world that, after reading "The Antacid myth" NewsLetter, have stopped taking expensive Nexium and did the opposite by taking more stomach acid in supplement form...Betaine HCL w. Pepsin. Not only did the heartburn stop but they were surprised when so did the gas & bloating! They were surprised because they didn't know the Antacid was the cause of their discomfort. In many, the lower bowel distress had been around for so long they thought it was normal.
Ask the medical "doctor" with a new heartburn patient if they EVER check acid levels and if then found to be low? Do they then recommend HCL w. pepsin for low stomach acidity? He will likely either cover his ears and chant LA-LA, LA-LA, LA-LA, LA -- or his head will implode! You see, there is no pricey pharmaceutical available, so it's better to pretend there is no such thing as low acid (so they don't check) rather than recommend a health food store item they won't be getting a kick-back on! Especially when doing the wrong thing (taking antacids) appears to work... This is so sad, not to mention morally repugnant.
...Here's what you SHOULD use, reader:
Organic Chelated Minerals -- these minerals are "bound" to an organic substance which INCREASES absorption and reduces bowel discomfort (unlike the inorganic Oxide). The examples in (1). below are a sub-category that many, exclusively, refer to as "Organic Chelation"...but technically all 3 examples below are "Organic".
(1). Citrate - Calcium Citrate is one of the most bio-available, plus it has the advantage of being "pre-acidified" so it can be taken with or without food. Unlike Calcium Carbonate which must be taken with food to remotely have enough stomach acid to absorb... ...even a very small amount!
There are 3 more Chelators (along the lines of Citrate) that I also like ASPARTATE, LACTATE & a combo CITRATE/MALATE. These have a little less "Elemental Calcium" but , like the LACTATE for example, is about 3 times more soluble than Citrate.
There are many other Chelators like GLUCONATE, ASCORBATE, SUCCINATE,
etc. that are fine... ...but Citrate (and the other 3 above) are probably the BEST in this smaller sub-category. This is particularly true for Calcium/Magnesium, but for other minerals a different chelator might be better. For example - polynicotinate works well with the mineral Chromium, of course, so does Chromium that's Amino Acid Chelated. (described in 3. below)
(2). Krebs Cycle Chelation - The "Krebs Cyclers" (I just, now, made up that term) claim this is the superior form because it uses, as chelators, all or most of the substances associated with the 8 energy producing positions along the Krebs Cycle. Seems like science to me! Actually, some of the Chelators above are some of the "stops" along the Krebs Cycle pathway...ie, Citrate, Succinate, etc, but I digress.
(3). Amino Acid Chelation (Albion Process)... This is my personal favorite and with time I suspect more & more brands will offer Amino Acid (AA) chelated minerals! Right now there are only a handful available. Some brands use their own Amino Acid Chelation process (which is fine). However, a few brands use the patented Albion Process that I think is likely the best... but maybe not. AA chelated minerals are surrounded by various Amino Acids that hide the "charged mineral" so it can sneak past the oppositely charged Intestinal Villi on the surface of the gut.
Something to consider -- As a bare minimum, the Calcium / Magnesium ratio should be 2 to 1 (2 Cal to 1 Mag). However, many holistic types, my-self included, feel that a 1 to 1 (or even higher at 1 to 2) is closer to actual human physiology... making it FAR superior.
If a person tried to take a large dose of Cal / Mag at a 1 to 1 ratio ( lets say 1500mg Cal / 1500mg Mag ) using the inferior Oxide? They would likely have massive diarrhea. On the other hand, large doses of Amino Acid Chelated Magnesium are very well tolerated.
The Vitamin D Lie:
There are essentially 2 forms of Vitamin D ...D-2 & D-3 ( let's not waste time even discussing the manmade D-5 ). Vit. D-2 is found in all grocery store Multivitamins and is also used to "fortify" milk (...figures...).
Vitamin D is CRITICAL for Cal/Mag absorption... unfortunately Vit. D-2 is ineffective for this purpose. The more active form that your body likes is Vit. D-3, found in Cod Liver Oil, Eggs and made by the Sun (or in supplemental form).
Also, this fear of Vitamin D toxicity is pretty much confined to Vit. D-2 (...Got Milk?). We can safely utilize very large doses of D-3 ...for example, standing naked in the noon day sun at the equator you will self-manufacture many thousands of IUs of D-3. Of course, there are several reasons why you wouldn't want to take that much D-3 orally in supplemental form. However, most people need 2 or 3 times as much as the recommended dose of 400iu and dark skinned people should get even more... along the lines of 1600 to 2000iu of D3. Never take vitamin D by itself ...ALWAYS take with Cal/Mag.
It is troubling that black leaders and the medical community ignore the growing Vitamin D deficiency ... thanks for your "help" Christine -- now even FEWER people of color will take Vitamin D-3. Good work.
Half truths are the worst kind of lie, especially from those who should know better... ...here's a good example: "Doctors" will tell you Calcium CARBONATE is the superior form because it has the highest percentage of "Elemental Calcium" at 40% (so that's 40% actual Calcium & 60% carbonate) as opposed to "only" 25% Elemental Calcium in Calcium Citrate. Well yeah...that's true, on the surface, but if you only utilize a very small precentage in the Carbonate form but use nearly all the Citrate form -- then "more available" does not equate to "more usable". See how that works?
The MDs and drug companies see this report as a gold mine because now they can sell even more toxic garbage like Fosamax & Boniva. The following is from our paper "Mo' Money, Mo' Money"
"Lucrative Drug Design -- Most pharmaceuticals work, when they work at all, in a negative and unnatural way. These, very unwisely, BLOCK, STOP, MASK, SUPPRESS, INTERFER or INHIBIT normal bodily systems. Let's look at one of the big sellers: Fosamax -- It increases the amount of 'bone' in your bones. Yes... this is true... but this is a bad thing! To insure you have strong bones, mother nature created a dual system by which, as new strong and healthy bone is manufactured, the older and weaker bone is efficiently removed. Fosamax blocks the system removing the old bone... ...Yes, you have more bone... but it's brittle and weaker bone, crap bracing crap... so after 4 or 5 years of Fosamax the incidents of hip fractures increases."
The evil Dairy Lobby is also thrilled with the results of this study because, now more than ever, the universal message is ...drink more milk! Unfortunately milk is a poor source of Calcium because the Cal/Mag ratio is not even close to 1 to 1 or 2 to 1 for that matter -- it is a Magnesium deficient ratio of 10 to 1! Also, absorption is further compromised because the Vitamin D is the nearly worthless D-2 form.
Fruits & veggies are a better source of Calcium & Magnesium. Even though some F&Vs with Calcium have a poor Cal/Mag ratio (like maybe 5 to 1) the vast majority are at least 2 to 1 ratio. Here are a few heavy weights that are almost 1 to 1 or better -- the BEST, are Avocados at 1 to 2. Pineapple & Raspberry are about 1 to 1.5. Cauliflower, Peas & Mangos are almost 1 to 1. Tomato, Asparagus & many green leafy veggies are about 1.5 to 1. Blackberries & Broccoli are about 2 to 1 (some Broccoli is as low as 5 to 1). Folks, milk at a 10 to 1 ratio has a real problem.
Please remember friends - just because you read it in Time or heard it from a handsome, "greying at the temples" George-Clooney-look-alike "doctor"...doesn't make it true.
Consider: When you... caress your mate, cross a leg, or tousle a child's hair. Take a breath, blink an eye, wipe a bitter-sweet tear. Move, run, and jump, and then enjoy a good yawn along with a full-range-of-movement s-t-r-e-t-c-h. When you know healthy satisfaction, convenient painless ease, and feeling good in your own skin...
It's the APPROPRIATE Calcium/Magnesium/Vit. D team of supplements that is key to, and absolutely required, for the enjoyment of the preceding... ...plus much, much more. Why? ...Every time you contract even the tiniest muscle in your body it requires Calcium to contract that muscle & Magnesium to allow the muscle to relax. Every one.
You are likely not getting enough of it. Very likely not...
The "why" should absolutely outrage you.
Until next time? Well BE.
Alan D. Graham
800 Robin Parker Rd.
Ozark, AL 36360
Phone (334) 774-0395
(NEW) Email firstname.lastname@example.org