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Why Calcium may be causing more harm than good

Updated: Sep 6, 2023


So what is the deal with calcium? Am I supposed to take calcium am I not supposed to take it? We get this question every single day patients are coming in and their doctors are telling them to take calcium are they're reading on the internet oh my gosh I have osteoporosis, I have osteopenia, I need to take calcium to be healthy, what about the drink milk thing?

These are really great questions but I got to tell you the latest research is showing that calcium is not so good for your bones and it's causing some other problems. So we are not recommending calcium to our patients for these reasons so let's take a deeper dive. If you haven't seen some of our videos before I'm Dr Julie McLaughlin from McLaughlin care and we are happy to share tons of health information with you because our goal is to keep our community as healthy as possible. So wait a minute what about osteoporosis if I have osteoporosis shouldn't I be taking calcium? The answer is no.

So in the latest studies they looked at an association between calcium and vitamin D supplementation and the risk of fracture incidence. And it was in a community of older adults that were Community dwelling and it found out that there was no difference between people taking calcium with Vitamin D not taking calcium or taking a placebo in the fracture incidence. So okay it's not working for fractures but can it hurt me? Yes this is the deal it can hurt you in more ways than one so calcium causes kidney stones. 85 percent of kidney stones are made of calcium and I don't know if you've heard but people say that kidney stones are worse than childbirth. Yeah don't sign me up for that I don't want kidney stones especially something that's self-induced by taking calcium.

Prostate cancer it increased the risk in men for prostate cancer and yes men can get osteopenia and osteoporosis not as severe of a degree as women but they still get it but they get prostate cancer as a result of taking a lot of calcium. What about this, this is my big pet peeve with calcium, it causes hardening of the arteries think about this so as a chiropractor we take X-rays of people and you're not supposed to see people's arteries on the x-rays but if they have calcium lined up on the inside of those blood vessels you can see it and that's hardening of the arteries. That's hard plaque and if you get soft plaque on top of it you're having a heart attack, stroke, you know pulmonary embolism, you're getting all kinds of bad things from having that in your arteries.

Now if you're taking lots of calcium more than 500 milligrams a day you're adding that kind of plaque into your blood vessels and I don't know about you but I don't want to have a heart attack so that's another good reason not to take calcium. In fact there's been multiple, multiple studies showing that calcium supplementation not only increases the risk of a heart attack and stroke but it also increases the risk of overall cardiovascular mortality. So people dying from this and the effects of calcium in heart disease and heart attacks have really really increased. And then the final study I'm going to tell you about is the long-term calcium intake greater than that 500 milligram causes of increased mortality of all disease wait a minute 10 million people over 50 have osteoporosis that's a lot of people and 34 million people are at risk of osteopenia osteopenia is like the thinning of the bones.

What happens to our bones before we get osteoporosis well that's a lot of people and it primarily happens in our hip bones and in our spine and those are the two most dangerous spots in fact fractures in the hip bone can be a cause of death. Well wait a minute now you're telling me that the calcium is not going to help and osteoporosis can be a cause of death but I gotta tell you it's nothing compared to the risk of getting heart disease from building up plaque in your arteries. 50% of our population will die from heart disease right that's a number one cause of death period osteoporosis only 2.8 of the population will die from osteoporosis as a result of a fracture and primarily a fracture that's not been attended to in the hip.

That's equivalent to the number of people who die from breast cancer in a year so when we look at the overall risk and the non-effectiveness calcium has in reversing this osteoporosis is a bad deal all the way around. So what causes osteoporosis in the first place it's actually a natural aging process at the age of 30 we stop building up bone and start breaking down. Now women who are hip menopause when their estrogens and their hormones decrease they have a higher increase of that genetic propensity white thinner frailer women are going to have more tendency to have osteoporosis. Now medications can steal your calcium too like steroids and synthwritis are really common ones that people take for low thyroid that steals calcium and then heavy metal toxicity. If you have heavy metal exposure or toxicity that can also erode away at your calcium so what can we use instead to build up our bones?

We want to do a few things, number one I want you to do weight bearing exercise yes things like walking and running are going to be great. But I want you to use weights I want you to do weight-bearing exercises on all the long bones of your body and for your spine that's going to be the number one thing I want you to do. Number two there are some supplements that are going to help support that bone vitamin D3 vitamin K2 magnesium silica collagen some of the vitamin B's folate and vitamin E. You want to reduce your overall inflammation in your body now you could have inflammation from high cholesterol from diabetes from a sports injury any type of inflammation is going to erode away at our bones and reduce your toxic burden. If you think you've been exposed to some toxins you might want to get tested and check that out and definitely we'll want to do a detox.

So what about dietary calcium, the dietary calcium is a great way to build up your bones some of the things that are going to be the highest are going to be sardines. When you eat the fish with the little bones in it that's going to build up your calcium, broccoli, bok choy, and mustard greens have bioavailable calcium. Some other veggies have calcium but they're not bioavailable so these are going to be the ones with. The highest now what about Dairy right. So the studies do show that Dairy will help increase your bone density but guess what on the downside Dairy also has tons of fat in it lots of allergens and it can cause heart disease and a lot of other problems that people are getting. So I'm going to have a question for you about Dairy and I know a lot of people are real controversial with this but if you looked at all the animals in the world they were adults which one drinks milk and which one drinks milk from another species.

None, only people do right and this is increased over time so we see lots and lots of autoimmune issues with dairy skin issues like I said heart disease and Dairy not necessarily a friend even though the studies do show that it helps with the bone density so I'm going to let that choice be up to you individually. So if you found this information helpful be sure to subscribe or click the Bell so you get the notifications because we do this multiple times a week and we want to make sure we have a healthy happy community. That's it for today Dr. Julie McLaughlin I'll see you soon bye-bye.

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