Keeping Your Bones Healthy Isn’t All About Calcium… : Exclusive Renegade Health Article

Tuesday Dec 6 | BY |
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calcium osteoporosis strong walls bones
To build bones as strong as these Incan walls, you need more than a calcium pill. (Outside of Urubamba, Peru)

Ask any doctor or old-school nutritionist about what you should do to strengthen your bones and they’ll tell you two things. First, they’ll tell you to exercise. Second, they’ll tell you to take X milligrams of calcium daily.

The good news is that they’re kind of right. Exercise will strengthen bones and calcium does play a role in building healthy bones, but it’s only part of a much more complex system.

Just because bone is made with calcium doesn’t mean calcium can fix it.

Over 90% of the calcium in your body is found in bone (which is about 70% calcium.) When bones start to deteriorate, the old way of thinking is that they need more calcium, so doctors have recommended a calcium supplement and washed their hands clean. But this method isn’t precise, nor all that effective. Getting this method to work is similar to attempting to fix a broken glass by adding more broken glass pieces to it. It won’t work. The addition of more glass into the equation just makes a bigger mess and doesn’t address what it takes to actually make a solid piece of glass. When you have bad bones, you can’t just add calcium to them and hope they work. You have to understand the function of bone, how it’s formed and what other nutrients are essential in it’s formation.

So bones, yes, are made with calcium, but – no – calcium isn’t the only answer to making them stronger. It’s much more complex than that.

A more complete recipe for bone health.

So, you need calcium, but where do you get it from?

It depends.

You have to hone in on what is causing the bone loss in the first place. Low hormone levels? Acidic diet? Coffee and other caffeinated drinks? Excessive alcohol? Too much sugar?

All of these can contribute to your bone loss, so just taking a supplement or two isn’t always the best recommendation – particularly if you’re a diet soda slugging, cake eating, menopausal mess. (I say that lovingly!) In this case, looking to get your nutrients by adding some whole foods to your diet – while changing nothing else – may not be the best solution either.

The place to start is with a bone scan. Any doctor can get set you up with one and your results will give you a baseline as to what approach you need to take.

If you’re bones are relatively healthy, then you can take a whole foods nutrient approach. This pretty much means you can add foods that contain certain bone promoting nutrients and then monitor your progress. You can also eliminate some of the more well known bone destroying culprits and get – likely – even better results.

If you’re bones are not so healthy, then you may need more than just whole foods – this doesn’t mean that whole foods aren’t part of the equation… they are. Whole foods in this case will accompany a supplement regimen that is more than a little walking and taking calcium supplements.

In some extreme cases, Dr. J. E. Williams has explained to me that he will use bone drugs temporarily to halt any further deterioration. You may find this strange, but he’s found they can help for the short term, while he implements a solid long term plan with a patient.

But back to calcium…

Most calcium supplements are not usable and actually may cause harm.

Calcium carbonate, the most common form of calcium you’ll find in supplements, is not easily used by the body. In fact, some have linked taking too much calcium carbonate with kidney stones. Clearly, this is a medical model of health – you take a supplement that isn’t necessarily intended for the body, your body kind of uses it – kind of doesn’t, and then you get some unintended side-effect.

A more readily absorbable form of calcium is calcium citrate. You can find high quality supplements at the health food store that have this form of calcium – not calcium carbonate.

So now that you have your calcium covered, what else?

Calcium is just one part of the equation…

In “The Complete Bone Health Program” Dr. Williams outlines a list of other nutrients that are essential for bone health.

Here’s what he says…

“The foundational supplements include calcium, magnesium, potassium and in some cases phosphorus, if you’re a long-term vegetarian, trace elements like manganese and boron, and vitamin D3, a critical nutrient for bone, and vitamin K1. The form, in terms of expense and absorption, the citrate form for calcium, magnesium as well as potassium, are the ones I typically will choose in the clinic. There are more absorbable forms but the price goes up accordingly and they’re not all that necessary.”

He also mentions this other essential bone building nutrient found in plants…

“Nettles and horsetail that contain silicon. Silicon is an important trace element for bone health, also for nails, skin and hair. For vegans and vegetarians as well as healthy eclectic eaters, the addition of herbal teas, the addition of these herbal substances in your supplement, your broad-based bone health supplement, as well as taking them by themselves or in a special formula for skin, bones and hair, is very useful.”

So your bone health equation gets more complicated as you understand the details and realize that it takes more than calcium to build bone.

Dairy is not the best option.

While some may argue that dairy is a good source of calcium, they may not be correct. Here’s why.

It has nothing to do with animals being treated poorly or drinking a substance from some other animals nipples for me.

It’s a basic understanding of the phosphorus content of milk. Too much phosphorus can strike the acid / alkaline balance of your body out of whack causing you to leach calcium from your bones to balance your blood and body pH.

So while there is calcium in your milk, your best bet to get it naturally is by eating plant foods (particularly greens, seeds and nuts.)

If you choose to drink milk or cheese, just be aware that you may be doing harm while you think you’re doing good. The best way to keep track of what is happening with your bones, no matter what you eat, is to do a bone scan on a somewhat regular basis.

Alkalinity seems to be the way to strong bones.

Feeding off of the challenges with diary as related to bone loss, a diet rich in alkaline foods like plants and greens seems to be the most effective to prevent deteriorating bone. (Though this isn’t always the case.)

Supplements and herbs taking smartly can assist where your great diet leaves off and – please note – regardless of what any “expert” says, bone loss can be reversed. Dr. Williams says that at least 80% of his patients have improved bone scans after using his protocols (and I’m guessing the reason it’s not closer to 100% is compliance, not effectiveness!)

Stay tuned tomorrow, when I give you more ideas to protect yourself from bone loss as you age!

Your question of the day: Do you do anything naturally to prevent bone loss? What is it?

Also, we’re running a week long special on Dr. Williams’ “The Complete Bone Health Solution” program! This is over 2 hours of audio and transcripts that will give you his complete bone health supplement and food recommendations.

Here’s where you can get that now…

Live Awesome!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.

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