Calcium is one of the more plentiful elements in the body. Most of it in the bones, teeth and nerves. Most people do not ingest nearly enough bioavailable calcium because there are few excellent sources of available calcium.
Calcium is the primary structural mineral in the body. It allows us to stand upright by giving strength to our bones. However, it has many other functions as well.
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SOURCES OF CALCIUM
Sardines with bones. The bones in sardines are soft enough that you can easily chew them and eat them. However, they contain an excellent source of calcium.
Carrot juice. Another very good source is fresh or even store-bought carrot juice. Adults may drink about 10-12 ounces of this daily for its calcium content. Children need proportionately less. Do not drink more because it is very yin. People who are sensitive to sugar may struggle with this
Kelp. This contains a very usable form of calcium.
Dairy products. An excellent calcium food is raw dairy products. If you tolerate them, you may include up to four ounces total dairy daily of either raw milk, raw cheese, raw yogurt or raw kefir. Pasteurized dairy products are not as good.
Other. Other good sources are egg yolks that are runny, not cooked until hard. Others are toasted almond butter. Cooked dark green vegetables such as collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, comfrey leaves and carrots tops are also decent sources.
We formerly recommended bone broth, which is a good source of calcium. However, it may contain too much lead, so we don’t recommend bone broth at this time except a little beef bone broth.
Corn tortillas or corn chips prepared in the traditional way with lime are other good sources. However, most corn chips do not contain lime and are not a good source of calcium. Neither is corn bread or corn eaten as a vegetable.
Strict vegetarians (no meat bones, dairy or eggs) often develop a calcium deficiency. Although they eat greens, and nuts and seeds, the calcium from these sources is less available than in eggs, kelp and raw dairy products. Their diets are also low in calcium synergists such as vitamins A and D.
The best calcium supplements include kelp and bone broth. These sources, in theory, combine a very usable form of calcium with other vitamins and minerals needed for calcium utilization.
Those with a hyperthyroid condition may have trouble with the iodine in kelp, in which case they should just reduce the amount used daily, or use other sources of calcium.
Other calcium supplements. The best absorbed forms of calcium supplements are calcium citrate, calcium chelate, calcium lactate and MCHC or microcrystalline hydroxyapatite crystals.
Somewhat less well absorbed are calcium gluconate and bone meal. Others forms that are less common are calcium orotate and calcium aspartate.
Calcium carbonate, phosphate, dicalcium phosphate and tricalcium phosphate are as not well absorbed. Phosphorus binds tightly to calcium and interferes with absorption. Calcium carbonate, found in egg shells, coral calcium and some supplements, is extremely alkaline-forming. Some people with excessive stomach acid may benefit from it. Unfortunately, stomach acid is important for digestion and reducing it too much interferes with digestion.
Some commercial calcium preparations in drug stores also contain lots of sugar. Some are even sold like candies. These products will be less effective because sugar upsets calcium metabolism therefore it is best avoided.
While supplements are helpful, in general food sources of calcium are best.
Nutritional balancing supplementation of calcium. We find that every adult and child needs supplementary calcium, even those taking kelp, bone broth and eating some daily product.
On a full program, every adult receives at least 750 mg of supplemental calcium chelate or citrate, along with about 450 mg of supplemental magnesium chelate or citrate. If a hair analysis indicates a four lows pattern, the amount of calcium is greater.
Synergistic nutrients are always needed, as well, to help with calcium absorption and utilization. These include a digestive aid, zinc, vitamin D3 5000 iu daily for adults, and perhaps copper and other nutrients depending upon the hair mineral test results.
THE FUNCTIONS OF CALCIUM
The functions of calcium include:
- Bone strength. Calcium is the main structural mineral in the bones. If it becomes low, one develops osteopenia or osteoporosis. This is very common in women after menopause.
Restoring the calcium in the bones, however, always requires more than taking calcium. A number of trace minerals, along with balancing body chemistry, are also required.
- Calcium helps regulate cell permeability. Calcium in the cell membrane stabilizes the cell membrane and reduces it permeability. This is important in some health conditions, such as thyroid imbalances, in which reduced or increased cell permeability influence how much hormone moves into the cells from the blood.
- Maintenance of acid-base balance. Calcium is extremely alkaline-forming. The body uses calcium to maintain the pH of the cells and elsewhere.
- Muscles and nerve transmission. Calcium is primarily involved in slowing nerve transmission and in muscle relaxation. In other words, it has a sedative effect upon the nervous and muscular systems. This includes both the voluntary and the autonomic nervous systems.
- Calcium inhibits thyroid-releasing hormone. There is an inverse relationship between calcium levels and the activity of the thyroid gland. Thyroid activity tends to reduce calcium in the body.
- Promotes insulin secretion. Dr. Paul Eck said that calcium is necessary for proper insulin secretion.
- It is required for phosphorus metabolism and energy production in the krebs cycle.
- Calcium is also important as an antagonist to some toxic metals, especially lead and cadmium. It opposes or helps block the absorption and utilization of these toxic metals.
- Calcium is involved in blood clotting.
- Fat digestion depends upon adequate calcium.
CALCIUM AND THE FIGHT-OR-FLIGHT RESPONSE
When our bodies come under a lot of stress, they move into what is called the fight-or-flight response. When this happens, the body excretes calcium in the urine. This causes the muscles and nervous system to go into a state of heightened alertness to respond to stress. Those who live in a fight-or-flight pattern much of the time are continuously losing calcium in their urine.
A different phenomenon occurs when a body is in slow oxidation, or the exhaustion stage of stress. Low tissue sodium and potassium levels prevent calcium from remaining in an ionized or soluble form in the blood. Instead, it precipitates and deposits in many body tissues including the joints, arteries, kidneys and elsewhere. This is a cardinal sign of aging. It is associated with elevated hair tissue calcium and a calcium shell pattern.
The process is identical to calcium deposition on faucets in hard water areas. ‘Hard’ water does not contain enough sodium to ‘soften’ the calcium. Adding salt or potassium with a water softener prevents calcium deposition.
The same approach can dissolve calcium deposits in the body. Eating salt and potassium are not adequate. One must restore adrenal glandular activity which is responsible for normal retention of sodium and potassium.
THE PERSONALITY OF CALCIUM
Stability, hardness and physicality are qualities of calcium. Calcium personality types tend to be earthy, plodding, steady and blunt. They often move slowly and awkwardly, and are unpolished in their language and mannerisms.
When calcium is deficient, a person tends to become weak and fragile. The dental arch, shoulders and pelvis tend to become narrower. This is very common today.
When calcium is in excess, one can become somewhat rigid, detached, suppressed emotionally, and out of touch. These are personality characteristics of those with a calcium shell on a hair mineral test.
SYMPTOMS OF CALCIUM IMBALANCE
Deficiency Symptoms. These may include osteoporosis, rickets, non-union of fractures, tooth decay and insomnia. Teeth, fingers and other bones may be misshapen. The posture can be poor and legs bowed.
Other symptoms are muscle cramps, irritability, hyperkinesis, hyperacidity, bruising, high blood pressure, fight-or-flight reactions, fast oxidation, lead and cadmium toxicity, tetany and cancer.
Toxicity Symptoms. Calcium toxicity symptoms may include fatigue, depression, defensiveness, muscle weakness, pain, arteriosclerosis, arthritis, kidney stones and gallstones. Others are bone spurs, rigidity, slow metabolism, constipation, social withdrawal and spondylitis (rigidity and inflammation of the spine).
Biounavailable Calcium. In many instances of calcium toxicity, calcium builds up in the body in a biounavailable form. This means it is present, but cannot be used properly. This condition causes symptoms of both deficiency and excess at the same time because there can be a deficiency of available calcium, and an excess of biounavailable calcium at the same time.
The biounavailable form can be an oxide.
TESTING FOR CALCIUM IMBALANCE
Serum Calcium. Calcium tests in the blood are generally of little value. The body robs the bones to keep the blood level in a narrow range.
Urine tests can measure how much calcium one is excreting. However, they are subject to daily variations due to stress, hormonal factors, diet and other things such as the state of the autonomic nervous system.
X-rays. X-rays are helpful to assess bone density. However, they have several weaknesses.
– Osteoporotic changes are a late indicator of calcium imbalance.
– Osteopenia and osteoporosis can be due to other imbalances besides calcium. For this reason, low bone density does not necessarily indicate a greater need for calcium. The bones also require boron, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, phosphorus and vitamin D.
– A normal bone density test does not necessarily mean that one’s bones are healthy. For example, lead deposited in the bones will cause opacity on an x-ray, giving a false reading. Strontium in the bones will do the same. These minerals do not produce the same bone strength as having plenty of calcium in the bones.
– Bone strength is due to more than just the calcium level. It is also due to the integrity of the protein matrix of the bones. This cannot be seen on x-rays or other standard medical tests.
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Nutritional balancing programs address many of these concerns. The program helps eliminate toxic metals such as lead and strontium. It also helps restore dozens of trace minerals, and it helps strengthen the protein matrix of the bones.
Hair mineral testing. The level of calcium in human hair tissue can vary from about 8 mg% to over 1200 mg%. Hair analysis is not a method to detect osteoporosis. However, if a very low or very high calcium persists in the hair for years, osteoporosis is likely.
Hair mineral testing is very helpful to evaluate other aspects of calcium metabolism. Among these are the degree of biounavailable calcium, calcium buildup in the tissues, and calcium loss through the hair.
Interpretation of hair tests. Tissues such as the hair become depleted of available calcium long before blood tests or x-rays reveal a deficiency. The body shunts calcium out of the tissues, usually early in life, and moves it into the blood to maintain the blood.
However, although available calcium in the tissues is depleted, the reading in the hair may actually increase due to accumulation of biounavailable calcium in the soft tissues.
Fast oxidation. In the state called fast oxidation or an alarm stage of stress, generally the hair tissue calcium is low, and is always low relative to the levels of sodium and potassium. This is due to excessive thyroid and adrenal gland activity that raises sodium and potassium. these minerals tend to dissolve calcium out of the tissues and the blood.
Slow oxidation. In the state called slow oxidation, the hair calcium level is usually elevated, and always elevated in relation to sodium and potassium. A reason for elevated hair calcium is that biounavailable calcium precipitates into the soft tissues of the body because the body cannot keep it in the blood.
The excess calcium in the tissues is a biounavailable form of calcium, often an oxide or carbonate. Calcium becomes essentially a toxic mineral, causing narrowing of the arteries and calcium deposits in the joints, arteries, kidneys, brain and elsewhere.
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CORRECTING CALCIUM IMBALANCES
- Never attempt to correct a calcium imbalance in isolation. This means that one must correct all the macrominerals or electrolytes, not just calcium. The reason is they are all closely tied together. Dr. Paul Eck realized this, but most doctors, even holistic doctors and naturopaths, do not understand how all the electrolytes are closely related.
- Always begin by balancing the oxidation rate on a properly performed hair mineral analysis. This works because it balances the calcium and the other electrolytes at a deep cellular level. Any other type of balancing using blood tests, urine tests or others, so far, I have found to be far less safe, reliable or accurate.
Some people use machines, kinesiological testing or other methods. None appear to be half as good as a properly performed and correctly interpreted hair mineral test when it comes to balancing and replacing calcium in the body.
- In addition to the diet and supplements, the detoxification procedures greatly enhance nutritional balancing programs. In some cases, these are absolutely essential or progress will be minimal.
CALCIUM IN THE LIFE CYCLE
Children and breast milk. Children’s growing bodies need lots of calcium for their bones and for their nervous systems. This is why substituting soda pop, teas, water or even other milks such as soy milk for the more nutritious breast milk is a terrible practice.
Mother’s milk is a rich source of calcium and vitamin D that help create a calcified skeleton. Keep breastfeeding until the child will not accept any more, or about age three. This will give a child the best start in life. However it is important for the mother to be on a good healing program.
Cow’s milk and milk substitutes. Pasteurized and homogenized milk is not as good a source of calcium. In earlier times, well-informed doctors recommended only raw, certified milk for children. This is milk from cows that have been rigorously inspected for disease by government authorities and must meet very high standards of cleanliness.
Pasteurization. Cooking the milk renders its calcium less biologically available to the body. It also damages the protein in the milk. It also allows milk from sick cows to be sold. It also permits lax standards of cleanliness on a few huge dairy farms that supply large areas of America.
Copper and pasteurization. Copper rollers are often used in the pasteurization process. This can add excess copper to the milk products.
Homogenization is another insult to milk. Vigorous shaking breaks up the fat particles so they stay in solution instead of rising to the top. However, the small particles are absorbed directly into the blood stream instead of being digested properly. This also renders the milk less healthful.
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ESOTERIC UNDERSTANDING OF CALCIUM
Calcium may be considered the life element. It is required for all life on earth.
Calcium is a compressive or pressure mineral. It exerts a kind of pressure that allows life to flourish on earth. Without it, life cannot exist. As one’s calcium stores are used up, life ebbs out of the body. As one replaces the body’s calcium properly, life energy returns. In this regard, calcium functions as a kind of valve or receiver of etheric energy that fuels the human, animal and even the plant frame or organism.
Calcium may be said to represent structure, meaning living structure, not just the bones and teeth. Calcium may also be said to represent voltage in an electrical analogy, which is more than an analogy.
In fact, calcium actually regulates the voltage at which nerve cells fire. Too much biounavailable calcium and too little available calcium will stabilize cell membranes too much and prevent the proper firing of the nerve cells.
This is one of the problems in slow oxidizers, in particular. This causes mental and physical depression, among many other symptoms. It also impairs the passage of nutrients and waste products through the cell membranes, which is deadly if it continues for any length of time.
In contrast, some fast oxidizers have excessive cell membrane permeability. This can cause problems such as too much thyroid hormone passing into the cells too quickly. This leads to a condition in which the serum thyroid hormones are low, yet a person really does not need more thyroid hormones.
The person really needs a lower degree of cell permeability. When doctors give thyroid hormone replacements in these cases, they can cause severe illness or even death by further unbalancing the body and causing an even faster oxidation rate. In this regard, the balance of calcium, and its bioavailability, is really a key to health in all living things.
Magnesium helps keep calcium in solution. [restrict userlevel=”subscriber” message=” “]Good sources are cooked vegetables, almond butter and kelp. We don’t recommend eating nuts and seeds because they are too yin and harder to digest.[/restrict]
Silica is another calcium synergist. It may be transmuted into calcium according to Dr. Louis Kervan, author of Biological Transmutations.
Chlorine, hydrochloric acid in the stomach and adequate protein in the diet are also required for calcium utilization.
Potassium. This is another potent calcium synergist, although in high quantity it can become an antagonist by dissolving calcium from the bones and elsewhere. Potassium is absolutely critical for calcium metabolism in many enzymes. In fact, a recent study found that potassium is required for bone strength or density. (Jehle, S., et al., Partial neutralization of the acidogenic Western diet with potassium citrate increases bone mass in women with osteopenia, J Am SocNephrol. 2006;17:3212.)
Copper is required to fix calcium in the bones and helps raise the hair tissue calcium level. Many people have biologically unavailable copper which causes their calcium problems. In fast oxidizers, copper deficiency contributes to a calcium deficiency.
Iodine is required for thyroid activity. Low thyroid activity is associated with biounavailable calcium and calcium deposition in the soft tissues. [restrict userlevel=”subscriber” message=” “]The best sources of iodine are fish and sea vegetables such as kelp. Iodized salt is not as good a source. Also, I do not recommend Iodoral or Lugol’s solution. Both are toxic and will build up in the liver.[/restrict]
Boron apparently improves adrenal gland activity, which makes copper more available. Boron is found in beans, leafy greens and bone extracts.
Vitamins A and D are important for calcium utilization and are commonly deficient. Vitamin D is only found in enriched milk, fish oils, lanolin and from sun exposure. Vitamin A is only found in fish oils and meats.
Some people substitute beta carotene for vitamin A. However, beta carotene must be converted to vitamin A and deficient thyroid activity – almost universal today – impairs the conversion.[restrict userlevel=”subscriber” message=” “] I always recommend vitamin A, not beta carotene, for this reason.[/restrict]
Adequate adrenal hormones levels are also essential for proper calcium metabolism. Hormone replacement therapy, however, is not the best way to improve adrenal hormone production.
Sugar upsets the calcium/phosphorus ratio in the blood more than any other single factor, according to researcher Dr. Melvin Page, DDS. It also stresses the adrenal glands and upsets the hormone balance which affects calcium metabolism.
Lead and cadmium antagonize and replace calcium in the bones and elsewhere. Hidden lead toxicity, for example, is an important cause of weak bones and osteoporosis. Tests for toxic metals may not reveal it when it is deeply embedded within the bones. However, a hair analysis often reveals it later as it comes out of the body through the hair and other routes.
Excessive fluoride replaces calcium in the bones, causing them to become brittle and weak. Sources are fluoride tablets, fluoridated tap water, some mineral waters, foods contaminated with fluorides from the soil and foods processed with fluoridated water such as reconstituted fruit juices and soda pop. Some foods are naturally high in fluorides like tea. Drinking fluoridated water or consuming products processed with fluoridated water is a cause of osteoporosis.
Excess phosphorus binds calcium and impairs its absorption from the intestines. Sources are soda pop and diets very high in animal protein.
Phytates found in high grain diets, soy and other beans bind calcium preventing its absorption.
Excessive oxalic acid found in spinach, cranberries, rhubarb and tea can interfere with calcium utilization, but only if eaten in large quantities.
Low stomach acid and low protein diets impair calcium utilization.
High tissue sodium and potassium tend to dissolve calcium out the bones.
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