According to new research presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) on annual meeting in the USA, dietary intake of magnesium, for example, not necessarily calcium may be the key to developing healthy bones during childhood. Calcium is one of the many minerals our body’s needs for building strong bones. The belief that calcium is the Holy Grail of what builds strong bones is absolutely ingrained in our society, has no basis in reality.
Age-old myths that calcium supplementation builds strong bones and teeth are reinforced in almost institution.
How much effective is calcium supplementation?
A 2004 study researchers concluded that the two most definitive indicators of heart attack were calcium build-up and LDL levels. People with excess calcium in their coronary artery and who take statins have a 17-fold higher risk of heart attacks than do those with lower arterial calcium levels.
A 2007 study showed that calcium from dietary sources has more favorable effects on bone health than calcium from supplements in women who are in menopause (Am J Clin Nutr 2007).
A 2008 study found calcium supplements are associated with a greater number of heart attacks in women who are in menopause (BMJ 2008)
A 2010 meta-analysis showed that without co administered vitamin D, calcium supplements are associated with increased risk for heart attack (BMJ 2010)
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), food will always be the best source of calcium. Getting too much calcium from supplements may increase the risk of kidney stones and other health problems. People who get the recommended amount of calcium from foods do not need to take a calcium supplement. But these people may need to take a vitamin D supplement.
Researchers, led by Professor Sabine Rohrmann, from Zurich University’s institute of social and preventative medicine said that Calcium supplements have been widely embraced by doctors and the public, on the grounds that they are a natural and therefore safe way of preventing osteoporotic fractures.
“It is now becoming clear that taking this micronutrient in one or two daily [doses] is not natural, in that it does not reproduce the same metabolic effects as calcium in food,” they added.
Calcium orotate is the only known form of calcium which can effectively penetrate the membranes of cells.
Most supplements on the supplement market today contain calcium carbonate which is an inferior form of calcium. The manufacturers attach a simple chelating agent like citric acid to make it more absorbable. However the end product is inferior to other calcium supplements such as calcium orotate.
Consuming pasteurized dairy products such as milk or cheese increases calcium levels. Totally false. This is another fact most people are unaware of is the myth promoted by the dairy industry. Milk definitively does not do a body good if it’s pasteurized. The pasteurization process only creates calcium carbonate, which has absolutely no way of entering the cells without a chelating agent. So what the body does is pull the calcium from the bones and other tissues in order to buffer the calcium carbonate in the blood. This process actually causes osteoporosis.
Magnesium and Increasing Awareness
According new data from Professor Steven Abrams and his colleagues at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston absorption and intake of magnesium during childhood are key predictors of total bone mineral content and bone density. Dietary calcium intake was not significantly associated with such measures.
“Lots of nutrients are keys for children to have healthy bones. One of these appears to be magnesium,” said Abrams. “Calcium is important, but, except for those children and adolescents with very low intakes, may not be more important than magnesium.”
“Dietary magnesium intake may be an important, relatively unrecognized, factor in bone mineral accretion in children,” the researchers revealed.
The importance of other minerals essential for bone health, such as magnesium, has not been so well promoted. Parents have been long advised to ensure their child has a good intake of calcium in order to help build strong and healthy bones noted researchers. Abrams and his team suggested that it may soon be the case that parents are urged to ensure their children also consumes enough magnesium.
There is an approximate 2 percent increase in whole-body BMD for every 100 milligram per day increase in magnesium.
Dr. Kathryn M. Ryder, of the University of Tennessee, Memphis, and colleagues note in their report that greater magnesium intake is significantly related to higher bone mineral density (BMD) in men and women. Given the high prevalence of low BMD and fracture, small improvements in BMD may have a large public health effect. Osteoporotic fractures are a significant health problem in aging adults.
Magnesium is a “lesser-studied” component of bone that may play a role in calcium metabolism and bone strength, they add.
Supplementing With Magnesium
The best sources of magnesium will always be food. Dietary sources of magnesium include green leafy vegetables. Seeds, cacao and nuts of any kind are among the highest food sources in magnesium.
For the majority of human history, the ratio of calcium to magnesium in the diet was 1:1, a ratio that’s considered optimal. Today’s diets contain an average of 10 times more calcium than magnesium.
A ratio that’s between 1:1 and 2:1 is adequate (for example, 800 mg of calcium to 400 mg of magnesium).
It’s best to take your magnesium in divided doses throughout the day. You can take it either on an empty stomach or with meals. You can also add Epsom salts to your baths–Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate. It’s absorbed through the skin and will help replenish magnesium stores. This “treatment” can easily include a relaxing bath with a good book.
Magnesium comes in many forms. Magnesium oxide or chloride is fine, as is chelated magnesium. Capsules usually contain 250-500 mg of magnesium. You can also use a calcium/magnesium supplement.
Experiment with levels. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for magnesium is 350-400 mg per day, although for optimal levels, you may need as much as twice that amount.
Only one percent of the body’s magnesium is in the blood, and the body will take it from bones and tissues if that level drops. That means that a blood test could easily show a normal reading, even when the rest of the body is very deficient.