There have been news reports linking calcium supplementation with increased risk for heart disease or atherosclerosis. However, it’s not that simple, and these reports could cause such fear of calcium supplementation that people who desperately need more calcium may stop supplementing. This will lead to many more problems for people.
So what do we need to know about calcium and calcium supplements?
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and essential for every function in it. Most of the calcium is bound up in the bones providing bone mass and bone rigidity. The rest (about 1 percent) is distributed throughout the rest of the body in an ionic form.
Common problems associated with low ionized calcium in the body are:
- a low or non functioning immune system, increased risk of cancer, increased risk of bacterial infections, muscle cramps, restless legs, problems with blood clotting, skin problems, increased risk of sunstroke, viral infections (particularly warts, herpes, and shingles), low cardiac output (weak heart), osteoporosis and bone fractures, osteomalacia and bone fractures, cavities, nervous system imbalances, unexplained fevers, uncontrolled fevers, fatigue and much more.
Bottom line - We don’t want to be deficient in calcium.
So what is the link between calcification of the arteries and calcium?
Calcification of the arteries occurs as a protective mechanism after there has been damage and prolonged inflammation in the arteries. The degeneration and weakening of the artery can continue through all the layers of the artery possibly leading to an aneurysm or bursting of the artery. The body calcifies areas of the inflamed artery along the way, strengthening it, protecting you from bleeding out internally.
Good or not, the calcification is a necessary thing in this situation, and this calcification occurs whether or not there is calcium in the diet. That is because the body just takes the calcium from the bones if it needs it.
I’ve seen many x-rays of patients with severe calcification of their arteries who also had osteoporosis or osteopenia. The calcium in the arteries obviously came from their bones because they sure were not getting it from their diet.
There are a couple things to consider with calcium supplements:
1 - the type that you take
2 - the amounts that people take
Most people have been taking calcium carbonate which is extremely insoluble. Taking excessive amounts of calcium carbonate can reduce or neutralize the hydrochloric acid in the stomach. This disturbs the digestive system and particularly inhibits protein digestion.
Also, excessive calcium intake combined with certain nutrition deficiencies can cause the calcium to build up in the blood to too-high levels. One can see how that can contribute to artery calcification if there is inflammation in the arteries.
As I mentioned before, maintaining enough ionized calcium in the body is essential. Ionized calcium is needed for your cells to function, nerves to work, muscles to work, immune system to work – everything to work, and the body will do whatever it takes to get it. If it has to take all the calcium mineral out of the bones, it will.
The RDA for calcium is about a 1,000 mg per day depending on size, age, activity level and various other factors.
In certain health conditions or situations, a person may need more than the RDA. I find that the great majority of people are not getting enough calcium from their diet.
This is what I recommend: Check where you are at with your calcium intake from your diet alone. Find out what your average daily intake is.If your average intake is less than the RDA, then supplementing with calcium supplements to make up the difference is valid.
For instance, if you average 500 mg of calcium a day, then take 500 mg of calcium in a supplemental form. I recommend taking calcium in the form of calcium citrate or calcium lactate. These forms of calcium are far more soluble (about 3,000 times more soluble) than calcium carbonate.They have already been combined with an acid (citric acid or lactic acid) so they don’t disturb the hydrochloric acid in the stomach.
I also recommend taking magnesium in a 5:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium. In this example taking 100 mg of magnesium with the 500 mg of calcium.
There’s more to this story. I just hope for now you don’t forget to get your calcium.
Your in Health,