You hear a lot about the importance of calcium for bone health. And it’s true we need a lot of calcium every day. But I’ve warned before that you should always get your calcium from foods–not from calcium supplements.
Of course, in order to get enough calcium from your foods, you must eat a balanced diet–including dairy, fish, meat, fruits, and vegetables. (That’s another reason why vegetarian and vegan diets don’t work well from a health standpoint. In the May 2014 issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter, I went into more detail about the health dangers of following a vegetarian or vegan diet. Newsletter subscribers can download this issue for free on my website)
But calcium supplementation is always a bad idea.
You just can’t get enough of the right kind of calcium for proper digestion, absorption and metabolism in a pill. Of course, irresponsible marketers make all sorts of claims about their magical calcium that is supposedly better absorbed. But it just doesn’t work that way, no matter what the source.
Besides, scientific evidence shows calcium supplements really do harm your health. In fact, in a new analysis, researchers found men and women who took calcium supplements increased their risk of heart attack by 27 to 31 percent and increased their stroke risk by 12 to 20 percent.
Now, let me make one thing clear. Calcium does not cause cardiovascular disease.
High blood pressure, high homocysteine (due to low vitamin B), and chronic inflammation damage your blood vessels. Then, the walls of your damaged blood vessels absorb calcium as part of the healing process. This process causes arteriosclerosis, literally “hardening of the arteries,” which is the pathophysiologic basis of cardiovascular diseases.
It makes sense to me, based on the chemical and physical laws of mass action. In other words, when you have unnatural calcium from supplements floating around in your blood, it will contribute more to this hardening process.
This finding isn’t entirely new. In fact, prior studies linked higher calcium levels in the blood with cardiovascular disease in the general population. In addition, prior studies found that calcium supplements made with bone meal or oyster shells cause cardiovascular toxicity. Unfortunately, these harmful supplements are common and widespread.
Of course, the fatally flawed bone mineral density (BMD) guidelines–set forth by the World Health Organization 20 years ago–don’t help the situation any.
These ridiculous guidelines essentially reclassified the normal bone changes that occur with age as a “disease.” But they use the bone of a 25-year-old healthy adult at peak bone mass as the standard for “normality” among older women at all ages.
As a result, doctors informed millions of healthy women that they suddenly had a new bone disease called osteoporosis. Plus, they informed millions of other healthy women that they had “pre-osteoporosis” or osteopenia based on a completely arbitrary, meaningless disease classification with no basis in biology or pathophysiology.
(I’ll go into more detail about what these bone mineral density numbers should be in an upcoming issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter For now, women should know that it’s more complicated than the current guidelines make it out to be.)
Of course, the creation of these semi-imaginary medical conditions helped to sell all the new bisphosphonate drugs such as Fosamax, Boniva and Actonel. But it turns out these drugs are toxic, since they act by killing the bone cells that remove old bone and replace it with new, healthy bone. Not surprisingly, these drugs don’t lower bone fracture risk–which was the entire purpose of the new BMD guidelines and “bone-building” drugs in the first place.
So now, doctors unnecessarily treat women for a problem they never had with a toxic drug that puts new bone on top of old, unhealthy bone. Plus, some research suggests these drugs and calcium supplements may increase the risk of hip fractures.
Frankly, I’m not surprised.
Anything that interferes with normal calcium metabolism, as carefully regulated by vitamin D, can be expected to cause bone problems–including fractures. To compound the problem, most people in this country are vitamin D deficient. So, when you add calcium supplements and harmful drugs to the mix, it simply overwhelms the body’s ability to maintain healthy bone.
You can learn all the shocking details about these harmful bone drugs in the January 2015 issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter. (As I mentioned above, subscribers to my newsletter can access issues from the archive by logging into my website. And if you’re not yet a subscriber to my newsletter, now is the perfect time to get started so you won’t miss this important report.)
If you want to maintain strong, healthy bones into your 60s, 70s, 80s, and beyond, simply follow these three steps.
- Avoid drugs and calcium supplements.
- Eat a balanced diet that includes dairy, eggs, fish, and meat, as well as healthy fruits and vegetables.
- Take 5,000 IU of vitamin D each day.
These natural foods will provide enough calcium in the diet. And vitamin D will help ensure the body absorbs and balances the calcium you take in. The vitamin D will also help make sure the calcium goes to the sites in the body where it’s needed. And not to the places it’s not needed, or harmful–like your blood vessels.
You can have healthy bones–and a healthy heart–by following these simple natural approaches. To learn more about heart health, specifically, see my new report, Guide to a Healthy-Heart and Statin-Free Life.
P.S. As a side note, I have only ever found good scientific evidence against one other dietary supplement: iron. Never take an iron supplement (or any supplement with iron) unless you have been diagnosed by a physician as having iron deficiency anemia. I conducted iron research with Nobel laureate Baruch Blumberg and others 25 years ago. We found an association between higher iron levels and higher rates of all sites of cancer in men and women. Plus, other research shows that higher iron is associated with more infections, heart disease, liver failure, and other organ failures.
- “Cardiovascular effects of calcium supplements,” Nutrients July 5, 2013;5(7):2522-9