Osteoporosis & Calcium

Osteoporosis means "porous" or brittle bones.

It occurs almost always in elderly, post-menopausal women.

As we know from studies of other phenomena in nature, the cause of something that occurs widely is almost always a change in a fundamental biological process.

OsteoporosisIn Osteoporosis, that change is in the acidity of the blood. If the blood becomes more acid, then more calcium is lost from the bones, as the skeleton tries to reduce acidity and bring the blood back to normal.

In essence, the Skeleton acts as a buffer in the entire metabolic process of creating energy from the nutrients that are ingested by the body.

When the acidity of the body increases, leading to a life threatening condition called Acidosis, the body responds by releasing Calcium Ions which reverse the Acidosis and prevent the death of the body... but weakens one's bones!


 

OSTEOPOROSIS
by Jerry Hoover, N.D.

What is osteoporosis? How do we get it? Can we prevent it through natural means? Are there natural ways to treat and reverse it? Do we need to fear it? Is more calcium the answer?

Our bodies are made up of a number of elements. The two most prevalent minerals in bones are calcium and phosphorus. When calcium is lost from the bones over a period of time, the bones become porous and brittle and can easily break. This is osteoporosis, a loss of weight and density in the bone cells, and the development of a spongy rather than solid texture of the bones.

The disease actually consists of two aspects, the loss of bone material resulting in an enlargement of the spaces in bones. With less material, the appearance of the bones becomes porous. What looked solid like rock now appears as a sponge.

IS MORE CALCIUM THE SOLUTION?

Very often we have been told that increasing the intake of high-calcium sources, such as dairy products, will both prevent and reverse osteoporosis. Is this true? Two investigators, doing independent research, suggested at the meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research in 1986 that dietary calcium bears no relationship to the development of osteoporosis. (1)

Michael Parfltt, osteoporosis researcher at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan, observes that the 1984 National Institutes of Health (NIH) panel report, recommending the use of calcium to prevent osteoporosis, is based on weak evidence. (2)

B. Lawrence Riggs, Mayo Clinic researcher, reported a study of 107 Rochester, Minnesota women, 23 to 88 years old. Dr. Riggs followed them for 4.3 years, with repeated measurement of their bone density. Calcium consumption in the study group ranged from 269 to 2000 milligrams daily, but the researchers could demonstrate no relationship between bone loss and calcium intake, even on the lowest calcium intake. (3)

Dr. C. Christiansen from Gosstrup Hospital in Denmark reported a two-year study in which 43 women were placed on calcium supplements, placebos, or estrogen. Calcium was ineffective in preventing bone loss. (4)

Dr. Mazees states that in population studies adjusted for body size and ethnic origin, individuals with high calcium intakes did not have denser bones than those on low calcium intakes. (5)

Dr. Richard Mazeses of the University of Wisconsin calls calcium "the laetril of osteoporosis", and points out that there are no studies evaluating the safety or efficacy of calcium supplements. It is known that high calcium intakes can interfere with vitamin D utilization (also necessary for bone cell formation), and may cause kidney stones. (6)

Approximately 20 million people in the United States are affected by osteoporosis. Most of them do not understand why they are suffering with this disease. Many of these people are taking calcium supplements, and believe that this should relieve their problems. Calcium supplement sales were estimated to have reached 166 million dollars in 1986. (7)

Tragically, most of these people should not be using this extra calcium, for excess calcium in the body has several adverse side effects. It has been shown that excessive calcium is picked up by the blood and deposited in the soft tissues, the blood vessels, skin, eyes, joints, and internal organs. Little wonder we suffer.

In the blood vessels, calcium combines with fats and cholesterol to cause hardening of the arteries.
In the skin, excessive calcium causes wrinkling.
In the joints it crystallizes and forms very painful arthritic deposits.
In the eyes, it solidifies into cataracts.
In the kidneys, it forms hard deposits known as kidney stones.

Thus it becomes evident that taking extra calcium does much harm, rather than benefit to the body.

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF OSTEOPOROSIS?

The major cause of osteoporosis is eating too much protein, especially in combination with fat, such as is found in meat and animal products. Most Americans, as they enjoy their steaks and hamburgers, are eating far too much protein. At present, the World Health Organization suggests a minimum daily protein requirement of about 40 grams. The RDA recommendation is about 55 grams a day. But the average American is getting over 100 grams a day.

What happens to all this excess protein?

First it is broken down into amino acids, some of which are metabolized in the liver and excreted through the kidneys as urea. Along with the urea and amino acids excreted into the urine go large amounts of minerals. One of the minerals lost is calcium; and studies show that the more protein you use, the more calcium you lose.

The many studies performed during the past fifty-five years consistently show that if we want to create a positive calcium balance that will keep our bones solid, then the most important dietary change that we can make is to decrease the amount of protein we eat each day.

Some other causes of osteoporosis are smoking, drinking alcohol, coffee, soft drinks, eating too much salt, taking antacid, insufficient exercise, and lack of sunshine. Smoking is an exceedingly acid-producing habit; and one of the major roles of calcium in the body is to maintain a proper acid-alkaline balance. When one smokes, the calcium is actually drained from the bones and teeth to meet this need.
Alcohol impairs calcium absorption by affecting the liver's ability to activate vitamin D, which is important in the metabolism of calcium.

Caffeine, which is found in coffee, tea, soft drinks, hot chocolate, and many over-the-counter drugs, causes more calcium to be excreted from the body than is normal. (8)

The more salt (in particular, the more sodium) you take in, the more calcium you excrete. Some antacids contain aluminum, which causes an increase in calcium excretion. It has been clearly shown that exercise increases bone mass, while lack of exercise causes bone loss. Since Vitamin D plays an important role in bone metabolism and the best source of vitamin D is sunshine, it stands to reason that a lack of sunshine can lead to osteoporosis.

When the problem of osteoporosis is studied world-wide, one is struck with the fact that the highest incidence of osteoporosis is in countries where dairy products and calcium supplements are consumed in the greatest quantities. The incidence of osteoporosis is lowest in the countries where the least amount of dairy products are consumed, such as the African countries. A number of studies have been done among the Bantu women of Africa. They consume less than half the protein of Americans, and have a life-style demanding large amounts of calcium (nursing up to ten children in a lifetime), yet osteoporosis is almost unknown among them.

NATURAL SOLUTIONS

Let us cut down on the amount of protein we eat each day, and eat foods high in natural calcium. For good health we must eat our food in as natural a state as possible without taking man-made supplements.


PLANT FOOD SOURCES OF CALCIUM
(Milk not recommended but listed for comparison)

Note: Calcium in cow's milk is much coarser than in human milk, and is tied up with the casein. This prevents the calcium from being fully absorbed. (9) Cow's milk is for calves, not humans. Cow's milk is designed to turn a 30kg calf into a 275 kg cow in 6 months. The calcium, protein (300% more casein than mother's milk), iron, phosphorous and essential fatty acid content is very different from human milk. It is high in cholesterol, low in carbohydrates and contains no fibre.

FOOD
MEASURE OF FOOD
GRAMS OF FOOD
CALCIUM RATIO PER MG.
CALCIUM RATIO PER 100 GRAMS.
Blackstrap Molasses
2 T.
40
274
685
Carob Flour
ic.
140
390
279
Almonds
I c.
135
359
266
Figs, dried
10 figs
187
269
144
Turnip Greens cooked
I c.
144
197
137
Milk (whole)
1 c.
244
291
119
Tofu
1 piece
120
108
90
Dry Soy beans
1c.
180
131
73
Dry Navy Beans
1 c.
190
95
50
Seedless Raisins
1 c.
145
71
49
Raw Broccoli
1 spear
151
72
48
Orange
ic.
131
52
40
Dry Lima Beans
1 c.
190
55
29

Difficult to digest

Cow's milk curds are dense and difficult to digest. Low-fat and skimmed milk's protein content is even higher, and has been shown to produce a higher calcium loss through the urinary tract. After age 3 (when we are weaned) we do not secrete the enzyme rennin that breaks down milk protein, nor the enzyme lactase to digest lactose (milk sugar) and transform it to sugars that our body can use (glucose and galactose). Mature animals' and humans' bodies are not geared to drink milk.

Processed milk
Calves fed only processed milk, died.

Creates allergies
Cow's milk allergies create problems in the respiratory and/or digestive tracts with symptoms like post-nasal drip, sinusitis, excess secretion of mucous, catarrh, asthma, eczema, hayfever, vomiting, bronchitis, urticaria, sleeplessness, headaches, pimples, oedema (water retention), gas, constipation, diarrhea, spastic colon, abdominal pain, and persistent colic. The allergies are caused by casein and beta lactoglobulin.

When (cow's) diary products are removed from the diet, the problems often clear up completely.

Hormones and antibiotics
Cows get injected and/or fed synthetic hormones to increase milk production. To prevent and treat mastitis, cows are fed antibiotics. Guess where this all lands up in our bodies. It has been linked to increased incidence of cancer, especially breast cancer.