Calcium makes our bones and teeth strong. Because of this many people supplement their diet with this dietary element, but is that the best thing for their health? We’re going to take a look at calcium nutrition facts and whether you should be adding this nutrient to your diet.
What Is Calcium?
You may remember from science class that calcium is an element on the period table. It’s an alkaline earth metal that has a grey/silver colour in its pure form. It is the most present mineral in the body, found mostly in bones and teeth. Calcium is largely responsible for keeping the rigid strength of our bones and teeth. Calcium deficiencies can lead to diseases like osteoporosis. Because weak and brittle bones become increasingly common as we age, especially in women, many individuals increase their calcium intake to combat the breakdown of bones.
How To Get Calcium In Your Diet
Most people know that you can get calcium from milk, but that isn’t the only source of this nutrient. Here are ten easy sources of calcium you can add to your diet.
Raw milk and cheese made from raw milk are less likely to have lactose-based side effects. Unfortunately, it is illegal to sell raw milk in Canada and parts of the United States. Notice that there are also plenty of vegan sources of calcium, making it easy for anyone to get this nutrient in their diet.
According to Dr. Tom Levy’s 2003 book, Death By Calcium, all you need is 400mg of calcium a day (unless you’re pregnant or nursing, in which case you need 800mg).
Here is a great lecture, given by Dr. Tom Levy. The lecture is titled “Proof of the Toxic Effects of Dairy and Calcium Supplements.” It looks at the effects of calcium on the body. We’ve highlighted Dr. Levy’s points below, along with links to the studies he references.
1:20- “While calcium is essential for normal cellular function, elevations of calcium both inside and outside the cells are part of the final common denominator for nearly all chronic degenerative diseases, for the development and aggressiveness of any given cancer, and for premature cell death. The evidence also indicates excess calcium causes many chronic diseases and is not just incidentally associated with them.”
2:20 Calcium is one of the big 3 essential nutrients, along with iron and copper. You can’t live without them, but all are toxic above certain levels.
3:20 Calcium toxicity is an important factor in all chronic degenerate diseases. Increased calcium is directly correlated with increased oxidative stress.
4:30 Yes, osteoporosis patients suffer from a deficiency of calcium in the bones, but that doesn’t mean they are calcium deficient.
Studies have been misleading, implying that calcium supplements helped heal fractured bones, but these studies also had the patient taking vitamin D at the same time. Studies where the patient took only calcium showed no improvement, while studies where patients only took vitamin D showed significant improvement. 2 3 4
8:15 A high calcium intake showed 2.5x more chance of death. 5
10:00 Media has been telling us that it’s hard to get our daily value of calcium but that isn’t true.
12:00 One major study showed that women with low bone density are at a 60% greater risk of death, but not because of bone fractures. It’s because of chronic degenerate diseases like cancer, and heart disease. 6
14:20 All toxins and infections are pro-oxidant in nature. It is the responsibility of vitamin C to deal with this effect.
16:50 Osteoporosis is a focal scurvy of the bones. Therefore it makes sense that vitamin C reduces this damage. 7 8 9
18:05 Vitamin C is pushes to create good new bones. It is essential to create the collagen responsible for bone strength and preventing fractures.
20:00 You can’t get enough vitamin C from diet alone. Vitamin C without calcium results in significantly greater bone mineral density. 10
22:40 Calcium is concentrated up to 10,000x more outside of cells. Only a bit of this mineral is actually in cells. When you increase the amount of calcium in the body, it puts pressure on cells and more calcium will enter them. This increases oxidative stress and increases your risk of cancer.
27:45 Calcium channels bring calcium into the cell but that is why many nutrients work as blockers to protect you from this damage.
29:00 Toxins kill cells by flooding them with calcium. 11 12 13
34:15 We all have body wide calcium excess. Those with osteoporosis have more because their bones have been releasing it into their body for years.
35:00 One-third of people in America, over the age of 45, have arterial calcification. There is no such thing as a “normal” calcium deposit outside of bones.
36:30 One study showed that 22 out of 23 patients with prostate cancer have prostate calcification. 14 Women with the highest bone density have the highest risk of breast cancer (from supplementing). 15
38:15 “Coronary artery calcium scores reliably predict not only death from heart disease, but also death from all causes.” 16
40:00 If you add more calcium to a cancer cell it’ll make it more anaplastic, and more invasive. 17 The removal of calcium from cancerous cells makes them less metastatic. Calcium has a cause and effect relationship with cancer, not a mere association. 18
41:00 You need magnesium in your diet.
- It’s a calcium channel blocker. 19
- It dissolves calcium deposits. 20
- Magnesium deficiency increases intracellular calcium. 21
- Increases bone density. 22
- Decreases all causes of mortality. 23
- Non-toxic at a supplement dosage.
44:50 You need vitamin K2 in your diet.
- Vitamin K2 is an activator of proteins known to inhibit ectopic calcification like osteocalcin and MGP. 24
- Helps dissolve existing calcification. 25
- Neutralizes warfarin. 26
- Decreases your risk of fracture. 27
- Improves bone quality. 28
- Decreases cardiac and all-cause mortality. 29
- No definable toxicity at any dose level. 30
49:00 You also need vitamin D in your diet for healthy bones.
- Normal vitamin D assures adequate calcium intake.
- It regulates up to 2000 genes in the body. 31
- Vitamin D deficiency causes osteoporosis. 32
- Vitamin D is a key determinant of bone mineral density when growing up. 33
- In the therapeutic range, it decreases all-cause mortality. 34
Essential fatty acids are also good for bone health
- Some fatty acids have calcium channel blocking activity. 35
- Highest levels afford protection against loss of bone mineral density. 36 37
- Blood levels inversely related to total mortality. 38
- There are no clear toxic effects.
50:00 Healthy estrogen, testosterone, and thyroid levels are all important for overall health.
59:00 How to reverse osteoporosis:
- Minimize new toxic exposure.
- Eradicate acute and chronic infections.
- Eliminate accumulated toxins.
- Normalize hormones.
- Optimize antioxidant and nutrient levels, especially vitamin C.
- Selectively and appropriately utilize prescription medications.
105:00 Everyone should be having at least 2 bowel movements a day. The longer it stays in the body, the more putrid and toxic it becomes.
Calcium is also one of the leading causes of kidney stones. It builds bones and teeth, so it is no surprise that it becomes hard like a stone. These calcium buildups can become large, sharp and very painful. This is another negative result of this nutrient being where it doesn’t belong.
Just because calcium can be dangerous, doesn’t mean it isn’t good for you. Calcium does strengthen your bones and teeth and is needed in small amounts by the rest of your body. It’s just important to remember not to intoxicate your system with calcium.
As Dr. Levy stresses in his lecture, calcium supplementation is not the best choice for strengthening bones. If you are getting 400mg of calcium in your diet, you have all the calcium you need. Adding more calcium through supplementation is only going to do more harm than good. Make sure that the calcium you have in your diet is from a good whole food source. You need a healthy balance of vitamins in your diet to activate calcium and to tell it where to go. Check out these in-depth articles about vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin K2, and EPA/DHA.
Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals. Please consult with a doctor before adding/changing your dosage of any supplement in your diet. Take any supplements at your own risk.
Scientific evidence is clear that you need 1g (=1000 mg) calcium/day. Especially for young people this is important, since it will reduce the risk of osteoporosis later on.
This report is a really good read: http://share.iofbonehealth.org/WOD/2015/thematic-report/WOD15-Report.pdf