Calcium is an element which is essential to life and health.
Like potassium and chloride, too much or too little of this key element can literally kill us! Your body has some aging mechanisms built in to keep calcium levels in our blood nearly constant. So much so that, if we consume too little, our parathyroid glands send hormone messengers that break down bone to release more usable calcium.
Calcium is necessary for proper heartbeat and normal nerve function. A disturbance in blood calcium can cause fatal arrhythmia of our heart, and “tetany”, which is a severe disabling contraction of our muscles!
Now, if you live in the USA, you probably have been lead to believe that dairy consumption is the only way to get adequate calcium. You might even have been told that calcium consumption alone can prevent or treat osteoporosis.
Neither of these assumptions, by themselves, are true.
For example, John Robbins was one of the first to point out in the ’90s that in cultures where daily physical activity and plant-based diets are the norm, osteoporosis was virtually non-existent. These cultures do NOT consume any dairy at all.
Instead, they eat lots of vegetables, nuts, and lean protein like fish, using animal products sparingly. This diet is far healthier than the typical sugar, fat, and soda consumption of the average modern diet!
These cultures also have higher levels of active Vitamin D, secondary to sunlight exposure. Vitamin D helps us absorb calcium in our gut, and among many other things, helps us build stronger bones, ward off infections, and a whole host of diseases.
Calcium is a key player in your health! Unless you have a disease which requires careful monitoring, eating healthy and getting enough vitamin D and exercise are probably all we need.
Most of the time, large amounts of calcium supplementation may actually be dangerous, and could actually contribute to other disease risks.
In nature, calcium often occurs with magnesium. Effective supplementation delivers calcium and magnesium in near-equal concentrations.
Magnesium is another crucial nutrient—in fact, the most commonly deficient in the so-called modern diet. Next, we’ll explore this in detail!
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