Like most women, I’m sure you’ve heard the myth — take lots of calcium and you can prevent osteoporosis.
But the truth is that today’s world osteoporosis epidemic isn’t caused by a lack of calcium — in spite of what mainstream medicine and Big Pharma tell you.
The fact is that calcium is added artificially into many packaged products nowadays. It’s in bread, milk, orange juice, pasta, yogurt, toothpaste, even chewing gum and snack crackers. It might even be in your water, depending on where you live.1
Yet with all that calcium in your diet, more than 44 million Americans are affected by osteoporosis and there are still around two million fractures each year among older adults — more than heart attacks, strokes and breast cancer combined.2
And most health advice you’ll read still insists you need to drink plenty of milk and take a calcium supplement to keep your bones strong.
Now the latest studies have confirmed what my own research in my clinic has found — calcium intake does not prevent osteoporosis or bone fractures.
The Harvard Nurses’ Study followed 77,761 nurses for 12 years to examine the association between dietary calcium and bone fractures.
And the results showed there was no protection from fractures with any dose of calcium intake. In fact, those with the highest calcium intake saw an increased risk of bone fracture.3
And now the latest research published in the British Medical Journal has concluded “that increasing calcium intake, either through diet or supplements, does not reduce the risk of broken bones.” 4
The authors of these papers published in the prestigious British Medical Journal carried out two reviews — one of the evidence related to bone fractures, and another to bone density.
- Increasing calcium intake could increase bone density by 2%, but this would likely have no meaningful impact.
- As far as fractures go — there is clinical evidence that calcium intake prevents bone fractures.
- Taking calcium supplements might do you more harm than good.
This idea that calcium supplements help maintain healthy bones and combats osteoporosis has been ingrained in women’s minds for decades.
Yes, calcium is needed for strong bones… but it’s only half the story.
Let me explain…
First of all, calcium from milk is a waste of time. Like all animal proteins, milk acidifies your body’s pH, which then triggers a biological correction. Because calcium is stored in your bones and is a great acid neutralizer, your body takes it to neutralize the acidifying effect of the milk.
But once calcium is removed from bones, it leaves the body via the urine. So the net result is a calcium loss.5
But even if you take a calcium supplement — it’s not enough.
To build and maintain strong bones, and to avoid osteoporosis, you also need vitamin D3. Without this key nutrient, your body can’t absorb the calcium in the first place.
Vitamin D3 (calcifediol) is both a hormone and a vitamin, and it’s your bone-strength director. In fact, it’s your number-one bone nutrient — not calcium — and it tells your body how much calcium to store in your bones.
Too little vitamin D3 can lead to thin, brittle bones and osteoporosis.
I always recommend sunshine as the best source of vitamin D3. But because it’s coming up to winter and you might not be able to get much sun on your skin, you can:
- Eat mushrooms: They’re the only vegetable that has vitamin D.
- Eat seafood: Everyone knows by now that cold-water fish have lots of vitamin D. But did you know that oysters have as much vitamin D as salmon? You get about 350 IU for every 3.5 ounces.
- Eat liver: Pork and beef liver are good sources.
- Supplement: I recommend 3,000-5,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day.
Meanwhile, there are other important nutrients I recommend for building strong bones and avoiding osteoporosis. Vitamin K2 also aids with your bones’ absorption of calcium to help make them stronger.
You can find K2 in a variety of different foods including egg yolks, organ meat, and organic milk. I recommend 90 mcg a day.
And sex hormones are key for strong bones…
- Estrogen and testosterone control the amount of calcium absorbed into your bones. And by maintaining proper levels in your body, the less likely your bones are to weaken and fracture.
- And progesterone plays a role, too. Studies show that the cycle of ovulation is also a cycle of bone formation. Progesterone levels drop after giving birth, and after menopause, so returning your levels to normal can be, according to one study, “extraordinarily effective in reversing osteoporosis.” 6
A simple blood test will reveal your hormone and vitamins D and K levels, and if they are low enough to impact your bone health.
To arrange a blood test, talk to your doctor. Or if you can get to South Florida, call the Sears Institute for Anti-Aging Medicine at 561-784-7852 to arrange an appointment or visit my website at http://www.searsinstitute.com/.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
Burge R, Dawson-Hughes, B, Solomon DH, Wong BJ, King, A, Tosteson, A; Incidence and economic burden of osteoporosis-related fractures in the United States [published online ahead of print]. J Bone Mineral Res.; 2006; (doi: 10.1359/JBMR.061113). National Osteoporosis Foundation. Bone Basics: Fast Facts. Freskanich D, et al., Milk, dietary calcium, and bone fractures in women: a 12-year prospective study American Journal of Public Health 1997 Jun; 87(6): 992-997 Ben Spencer, B. (2015, September 30). How calcium tablets can do more harm than good: Pills can increase risk of stomach upsets and heart problems while not cutting the risk of broken bones. Retrieved November 2, 2015. Kerstetter, Jane, E., O’Brien, Kimberly, O., Insogna, Karl, L., “Supplements Dietary Protein, Calcium Metabolism, and Skeletol Homeostasis Revisited,”American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Sept. 2003;78(3):584S-592S Lee, J.R., “Is natural progesterone the missing link in osteoporosis prevention and treatment?” Med. Hypotheses. Aug 1991;35(4):316-8