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Calcium Supplements?

posted Apr 10, 2013, 2:16 PM by Susan Bernhardt   [ updated Apr 10, 2013, 2:16 PM ]
Jane Brody wrote a column about recent, and conflicting, studies looking at whether calcium supplements do more harm than good. Some studies have found little evidence that calcium supplements reduce bone fractures in postmenopausal women, and several studies have found that calcium supplements may increase heart attacks and death from cardiovascular disease. I posted the following comment on the NY Times web site, http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/08/thinking-twice-about-calcium-supplements-2/:

Ms. Brody failed to mention a column she wrote in 2009: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/24/health/24brod.html?_r=0. In that column, she cited studies finding that a low-acid diet, rather than calcium supplementation, is the key to preventing osteoporosis. As Ms. Brody said then, and as others who have commented have mentioned, a high acid level can cause the body to pull calcium from the bones to restore the correct pH balance.

Others who have commented have noted that intestinal issues can affect the body's ability to absorb calcium. I know someone who appeared to have calcium issues -- high blood pressure (even when on meds) and muscle cramps -- despite taking calcium supplements. Once he went on a gluten-free diet and worked on repairing his digestive system, his blood pressure became normal (without any meds), the cramps went away, and a number of other issues cleared up as well. I am NOT saying that gluten is the answer for everyone. As an Ayurveda practitioner, I do think that digestion is at the root of health. An Ayurveda saying makes sense here: when diet is proper, medicine is of no need; when diet is not proper, medicine is of no use. Proper diet involves not just what you put in your mouth, but what your body can actually digest. Mark Twain also had it right: to eat is human, to digest, divine.


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