Osteoporosis, calcium and exercise
Ryan Summerlin August 14, 2014
This is a follow-up to the article about osteoarthritis. These “conditions” are different but related because the ways to reduce and prevent osteoarthritis and osteoporosis are the same, as are the causes.
Osteoporosis is another Greek word meaning porous bone. Osteoporosis occurs when BMD (bone mineral density) diminishes. If you’re 30-plus, you’re most likely losing bone and a bunch of other things. Both men and women will begin to lose 0.5-1 percent of their bone density or degree of bone mineralization per year starting around age 30. In women, the rate of loss will spike to 2-3 percent per year for the first 3-15 years following menopause.
Calcium is a critical mineral that is important not only for bone health, but one that also aids muscle and nerve function, blood pressure regulation, blood clotting, cellular health, and the release of certain hormones. Calcium is even required for a normal heartbeat.
The most easily absorbable calcium is from the vegetable kingdom, like green leafy vegetables, seeds (sesame, soybean...) and dry fruits and nuts. Calcium from fresh fruits and raw vegetables is the best calcium, and it is fully and immediately absorbed by the human body.
The body maintains a constant level of calcium in the bloodstream. To support this constant level, our bones also act as a storage bank for calcium. If blood calcium levels are low due to dietary intake, calcium is taken from our bones and used by the body — which over time can affect bone density.
The body also loses calcium through sweat, urine, and cut hair and nails, so replacing this lost calcium on a daily basis is essential to prevent further removal of calcium from the bones.
So, we know that we need calcium, but how should we get it?
Get ready, because the facts below contradict the part-truths of contemporary FDA approved nutrition. Food and exercise are always the preventative cures. The circle of vitamin D, calcium, sun exposure, and exercise are crucial to counteracting the effects of our lifestyles, the drugs we take and the chemicals we absorb.
Calcium from the novegetable kingdom (like oyster, coral, chemicals, inorganic salts (calcium carbonate, calcium citrate), dairy and meat is not absorbed by the human G.I. tract and ultimately toxifies our blood and tissues. Billions of bucks are spent on awesome marketing to get you and me to consume calcium carbonate and calcium citrate via milk products and junk calcium dosed “franken-products.” Yet it seems that people who consume the most calcium carbonate and calcium citrate in an effort to improve bone density suffer the most bone disorders. A slightly better version of organic and absorbable calcium is calcium ascorbate, calcium orotate and calcium aspartate. The retention of organic calcium in the body is higher than Inorganic calcium carbonate, which the body tends to excrete rapidly through urine.
The most easily absorbable calcium is from the vegetable kingdom, like green leafy vegetables, seeds (sesame, soybean…) and dry fruits and nuts. Calcium from fresh fruits and raw vegetables is the best calcium, and it is fully and immediately absorbed by the human body.
You just can’t get away from those green veggies!
Drinking hard water (open/bore well) can provide 200 mg/per liter of calcium daily, which is 100 percent absorbable. Eighty percent of Earth’s population drinks that type of hard water and enjoys absolutely good bone health.
Where do we experience the highest rate of bone density problems? You guessed it, in western cultures and especially in the U.S.
The drinking of chlorine-treated water will start truncating out calcium from blood, which in turn leeches out the calcium from the skeleton bones.
Poor function of the liver and kidneys will also cause excessive loss of calcium, as will excess phosphorous in the system. How do we take in too much phosphorous? Too much junk meat, chicken and dairy.
High acidic blood will also cause loss of calcium (anything below pH. 6.5; normal is alkaline pH of 7.4).
Other factors in calcium deficiency are smoking, alcohol consumption, drugs, high protein diets, consuming iodized salt, lack of sunshine, and of course, the sedentary lifestyle.
Drinking bottled mineral water contains non-organic calcium, which under no circumstances is absorbable by the human body but tastes better and may be worth it to avoid chlorine saturated water that we drink every day.
The absorption of calcium by the human body is dependent on the amount of vitamin D that can be available in the blood. You now know that the best way vitamin D is made is to get appropriate sun exposure.
How much of osteoporosis is caused by steroid use? I don’t know. But I bet that over half of the people you know have taken or are currently taking some type of steroid. Prednisone is doled out like candy for every problem under the sun, including rheumatoid arthritis, which we’ll get to in an article devoted to that topic.
Whole food sources of calcium: your best defense
The amount of calcium and percentages of Daily Values are all variable because when we cook and preserve food the properties of it inevitably change. Always choose the most untouched-by-human foods possible. Notice, these are all nondairy sources.
1. White Beans: 191 mg (19 percent DV) in 1 cup
2. Salmon: 232 mg (23 percent DV) in ½ can with bones
3. Sardines: 321 mg (32 percent DV) in about 7 sardines
4. Dried Figs: 107 mg (10 percent DV) in 8 whole dried figs
5. Bok Choy: 74 mg (7 percent DV) in 1 cup
6. Blackstrap Molasses: 172 mg (17 percent DV) in 1 tablespoon
7. Kale: 188 mg (19 percent DV) in 2 cups
8. Black-eyed Peas: 185 mg (18 percent DV) in 1/2 cup
9. Almonds: 72 mg (7 percent DV) in ¼ cup dry roasted (about 20 nuts)
10. Oranges: 65 mg (6 percent DV) in 1 medium fruit
11. Turnip Greens: 197 mg (20 percent DV) in 1 cup
12. Sesame Seeds: 88 mg (9 percent DV) in 1 tablespoon
14. Seaweed: 126 mg (13 percent DV) in about 1 cup raw
So everything boils down to eating your greens, getting a little sunshine and some exercise. Not doing those things makes a few of us very wealthy and a lot of us very sick. The more we demand better quality whole food, the more available and less expensive it will become.
Disclaimer: Steve Wells is neither a doctor nor a nutritionist but merely an athletic trainer and co-owner of Midland Fitness.