In my last two posts, I talked about the relationship among magnesium, calcium, Vitamin D, and Vitamin K and the importance of magnesium. Today, I’m going to share my thoughts on why I think most people over-supplement calcium, what calcium’s role in the synergy is, and when and how to supplement calcium, if needed.
Among the many emails I get, those from women who are 50+ years of age are distressing. They’ve had a bone density test and:
- have been told they either have osteopenia or osteoporosis
- are given prescriptions for high dose calcium
- their bone health doesn’t improve or may steadily decline
- to add insult to injury, all of a sudden, they are having muscle twitches and cramps.
No wonder they feel miserable and wonder what they did wrong. I am glad to say that they didn’t do anything wrong. They followed the advice of a doctor who didn’t consider calcium’s synergy with magnesium, Vitamin D, and Vitamin K. The good news is that I have been writing about this for decades, and the disinformation easily can be corrected.
You Probably Don’t Need More Calcium
Unlike magnesium, calcium is not depleted in the soil. You can find calcium in the following foods: dairy, green vegetables, seeds, nuts, fish, and shellfish. Additionally, calcium is also fortified in many foods (such as orange juice, almond milk, coconut milk, etc.). If you eat food with at least 600 mg a day of calcium in it, regardless of situation or condition, calcium supplementation is inappropriate in my view.
What about My Bone Health?
If you are consuming at least 600 mg per day of calcium-rich foods but have magnesium deficiency symptoms (These are listed here.), then saturating your body with magnesium will increase your bone health.
During my latest show on magnesium and osteoporosis, I share this:
Did you know that there are approximately seventeen nutrients essential for healthy bones, including magnesium, the most important mineral, along with calcium? Susan Brown, Ph.D., director of the Osteoporosis Education Project in Syracuse, New York, warns that “the use of calcium supplementation in the face of magnesium deficiency can lead to a deposition of calcium in the soft tissue such as the joints, promoting arthritis, or in the kidney, contributing to kidney stones.” Dr. Brown recommends a daily dose of 450 mg of magnesium for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.
For a more detailed discussion, listen to the recording here.
Calcium within the Synergy
As I mentioned in my earlier post, calcium is antagonistic with magnesium, and this antagonism drives many functions of the body. For example, calcium contracts muscles; whereas, magnesium relaxes muscles. Calcium helps with blood clotting; whereas, magnesium helps reduce blood clots. Calcium may contribute to inflammation according to several studies; magnesium is a natural anti-inflammatory. This opposition helps the heart to beat, contributes to blood circulation, and allows us to move our bodies.
Here is the FAQ I send people who ask about calcium supplementation, regardless of circumstance or condition:
The platform you need to start with is finding out how much calcium is in the food you eat. We have a chart in the ReMyte book that gives the amount of calcium in specific foods or you can look online. Otherwise, start a food diary where you learn how much calcium you eat on an average day.
Once you know that, you can decide whether calcium supplementation would work for you. Dr. Dean suggests that if you eat 300 mg or more (but less than 600 mg) of calcium-rich foods, you can consider using 1 teaspoon of her ReCalcia Calcium Solution. If you eat 300 mg or less of calcium-rich foods, then you can consider using 2 teaspoons of ReCalcia. You can also use the slow start program with this product, starting with 1/4 teaspoon a day and building up to either 1 or 2 teaspoons per day.
If you consume 600 mg or more of calcium-rich foods, then you don’t need calcium supplementation at all. Dr. Dean follows the EU and WHO guidelines for calcium supplementation which recommend that 600 mg of calcium per day is sufficient calcium for most people.
Next week, I will finish this blog series by discussing Vitamin D in detail (Blog 4) and then talk about Vitamin K and the Vitamin A, D, K supplement I suggest using (Blog 5). In the meantime, if you have any questions, you can write customer support at email@example.com.
Dr. Carolyn Dean