Doctors and patients alike still cling to the myth that you need to take calcium supplements to build strong bones. Even the government RDA committee guidelines lead many to recommend it.
But as I often warn, the science shows taking calcium supplements is dangerous. You should always get your calcium only from food sources. To make matters worse, doctors and patients alike seem to ignore the one key mineral supplement you should consider taking for strong bones, as I’ll explain in a moment.
One reason I’m against calcium supplementation has to do with basic biology. Your body actually reuses the existing calcium in your body as it replaces old, worn-out bone cells with new, healthy bone cells.
Of course, big pharma’s osteoporosis drugs poison your body’s ability to remove old, unhealthy bone cells. So — when you take these drugs, new bone cells have to be laid down on top of old, dead bone cells. That’s like trying to build a new structure on top of a rotten foundation — a common problem with so much in our healthcare system and society today.
The body also recycles iron. So — most people never need to take iron supplements either.
It’s a bit ironic, isn’t it?
Basic biology shows you should never supplement with calcium or iron (unless diagnosed with clinical iron deficiency). Yet they’re the only two dietary supplements that doctors routinely recommend!
Plus, the science on calcium supplementation continues to turn up dangers…
Back in 2004, research showed that people with excess calcium in their blood (including coronary arteries), who took statin drugs, had a 17-times higher risk of suffering heart attacks compared to people with lower blood calcium levels. And in 2007, research in postmenopausal women showed that higher dietary intake of calcium is better for bones compared to intake from calcium supplements.
Then in 2008, research in postmenopausal women linked calcium supplements with a higher risk of heart attack. A 2010 review of all research studies showed that people who take calcium supplements (without taking vitamin D) have a higher risk of heart attacks.
Research shows calcium supplements also increase the risk of kidney stones and other health problems.
Taking a basic calcium carbonate supplement is like trying to eat rocks. So manufacturers add a chelating agent, like citrus extract, to make it more bioavailable (absorbable in the GI tract). However, the final product is poor and even dangerous.
Your body does absorb other kinds of calcium supplements better, such as calcium orotate. But then the body tries to buffer or cushion this unnatural, artificial calcium in the blood by drawing natural calcium compounds away from the bones.
The forgotten mineral you need more of
As I always advise, strive to get your calcium from food sources only. Most people take this advice to mean they should eat more dairy and meat.
But there is more to the story.
In fact, people in China eat no dairy at all and very little meat, yet they have few problems with osteoporosis.
Turns out, calcium is only one of the minerals your body requires for strong, healthy bones.
In fact, according to new research presented at the U.S. Pediatric Academic Society’s annual meeting, dietary intake of magnesium is more important than calcium for creating solid bones. Especially during the skeletal growth period. This new research shows that magnesium intake is the real indicator of bone mineral aggregation and bone thickness in men, women and children. Not calcium.
There is a two percent increase in bone mineral density for every 100 mg per day increment in magnesium intake.
For most of human history, there was a 1:1 proportion of dietary calcium intake to magnesium intake. A proportion of 2:1 — such as 800 mg of calcium to 400 mg of magnesium — is still satisfactory.
But today, people typically consume 10 times more calcium than magnesium, due to recent dietary changes, specifically the addition of processed dairy products with “added calcium.”
You can counter this trend by eating more seafood and meat, as well as green, leafy vegetables, cacao, seeds, and nuts.
I also recommend supplementing your diet with 400 mg per day of magnesium. Although, for ideal levels of magnesium, you may require double that amount. You can also absorb magnesium through the skin. So — swim in seawater or add Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) to your bathwater.
As I reported in the December 2016 issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter, the body also needs vitamin C and vitamin D for bone health. So make sure to take 250 mg of vitamin C twice a day and up to 10,000 IU of vitamin D to help support healthy bones.