Is the Calcium in Raw Vegetables Absorbable? : Exclusive Renegade Health Q & A

Friday Dec 9, 2011 | BY |
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Could egg shells be a good source of calcium?

Like I said yesterday, today, I’m going to be focusing on answering your personal questions about bone health…

Answering questions is one of my favorite things to do because I know that many of you spend a lot of time online researching and reading and sometimes it’s just nice to get a solid answer back from someone.

For me, it makes me feel like I’m supported and not alone.

I hope it does the same for you!

In this Q & A, I’m going to answer questions about calcium and raw vegetables, using egg shells as calcium supplements, and when to take HCL.

Let’s get rolling…

Can you absorb calcium from raw vegetables?

Nabilla asks…

“I’ve read so much literature about our body not being able to absorb the type of calcium found in most raw vegetables. Is this true? If now, how much of the calcium in raw veggies is our body able to absorb?”

Thanks for your question, Nabilla! There is conflicting information about whether or not plants are good sources of calcium. In order to figure out who’s right or not here, we need to step back from the back and forth and actually get real tangible data.

There are two types of information that you can learn from health experts or sources. One is theory. The other is clinical data.

Theory comes from people reading studies and coming to conclusions that may or may not work in the human body.

Clinical data comes from those who are working with patients and actually observing theory in practice.

Dr. Williams, a clinician, speaks about oxalic acid – which can bind with calcium to inhibit some of its absorption – as being a possible issue for those who are already depleted in calcium. He’s seen this happen with his patients.

This is from his clinical data. This may or may not deplete calcium in any individual, but for those with bone loss, they must be aware that just eating plants to restore calcium levels may not be enough.

On the other hand, in an interview with Vesanto Melina another dietitian and clinician, she explained that she reversed her bone loss using a plant based diet. (Here’s her story)

So armed with these two (yes, they’re only two) instances, we have to understand that both may be right. I know it’s a brain teaser, but it is possible for both answers to hold truth.

This is why the approach I recommend is not one that gives blanket answers any more. I’ve eaten my words too many times doing so.

The best way to determine if something is working for you is to work with a practitioner and test your theories with medical and diagnostic testing.

If you don’t, you’ll just continue to be confused. I know, because I was there before. After my candida issue, I was convinced that I still had an overgrowth, because I was weak and tired all the time.

When I tested my hormones, I realized that it wasn’t the candida that was making me this way, it was my very low pregnenolone. This saved me a significant amount of time, money and stress – since I was able to pinpoint the cause of the issue and address it specifically.

Also, for those who feel that this is too expensive, I understand and at the same time, I urge you to consider how expensive it may be struggling to find a solution when you have no details at all.

Egg shell with lemon juice?

Anna asks…

“Hi Kevin, what do u think about taking egg shell with lemon juice in order make it calcium citrate?”

Anna, I’ve never done this before, but I’ve heard of people using their egg shells for this purpose. Mixing the lemon juice with the powdered egg shells does produce calcium citrate, I would just be sure to note that it’s not an exact process – so you will get unconverted calcium along with the calcium citrate. How harmful is this? I really have no idea, though I think it is likely a non-issue.

My only concern about using egg shells is that you want to make sure they are sterile – no matter if they’re organic or not (though I don’t think eating non-organic eggs is good practice anyway.) Non-organic eggs – not only feed a corrupt and cruel system – they also are known to carry salmonella. Organic, farm fresh eggs (you’d get at the farmer’s market or local farm), while it’s less likely they’re carrying anything from a factory farm, could still possibly carry bacteria as well.

So if you’re going to use egg shells, make sure you wash them well and use a little hydrogen peroxide to kill any microbes that may be hanging around on them.

When do you take HCL?

Rocio asks…

“Kevin and Dr. Williams: when to take the HCL? with the meal, after or… thank you.”

For HCL, you want to take this during or right after your meal. The reason why is because you’re adding an acid directly into the stomach. If you haven’t eaten anything, there’s a chance that the HCL could cause some discomfort (and with multiple empty stomach uses maybe even possible damage.)

I’d also hesitate taking it right before a meal, just in case you have a quick change of plans or get distracted before you actually do eat something.

Your question of the day: Have you ever taken egg shells and lemon juice as your calcium supplement? Have you even heard about it?

Live Awesome!
Kev

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 RenegadeHealth.com — 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.

39 COMMENTS ON THIS POST

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Barbara says:

    I was told to rinse the shells, then boil the eggshells for 15 minutes. Also, to leave the membrane intact.
    AND to be sure they were from organic eggs.

  2. E. Jacoby says:

    I was just learning about making eggshell water from a website. I haven’t been testing it personally but am going to give it a try.
    Here were the steps. It works a little different then just turning the eggshells into powder.

    1. Studies have shown that taking eggshell with vitamin D3 improves bone mineral density. Egg shells have been used for the pain, and treating, of all kinds of arthritis and joint pain.

    2. Pour 2 cups of hot water over 4-5 (free-range or organic is best) crumbled egg shells. Add 1 tsp fresh lemon juice or vinegar. Cover and let sit for 2 hours. Strain the shells out and put liquid in a clean glass jar with a lid. Take a sip of the liquid one or two times a day. Just because it works, does not mean you should take more than you need. So, slowly increase your dosage until pain is the gone. After that do not increase it. Some of us need more calcium than others, but remember our bodies cannot handle too much calcium.

    3. Egg shells are high in Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Glycine, Gelatin, Collagen, and Other trace minerals.

  3. Caryl DeHerrera says:

    Very interesting Kevin,
    I have not taken egg shells myself but when I had Chickens i use to bake the egg shells and feed them back to the chickens. This was for Calcium to make the laying hens shells stronger.
    Thank you
    Caryl

  4. Jean says:

    My reasoning for taking powdered egg shells is they probably have all the essential pluses like magnesium and zinc that help the calcium from the egg shells to be not only be absorbed but assimilated into my body correctly. After reading this article I think I will be more likely to add lemon juice or HCL at about the same time.

  5. The best way to know if something is working is to become aware of your body. That’s right. So few people are actually aware of what is going on in their own systems! They need doctors of every type to test them to “show them what is working and what is not” That is too bad. GET AWARE OF YOUR SELF!!!!!!! The best way to do this is easy, really. But you may need to put forth some EFFORT. Nothing unusual or stressful, but actually something EVERYONE should do .. but then again.. FEW EVER DO, and if they DO, they do it wrong. That is to focus on the most efficient of the three four main components of the most powerful thing you can do other than eat a proper raw diet of fruits and vegetables. And that is EXERCISE. BUT DO IT RIGHT! And QUANTIFY IT- do not just exercise without andy quantification. Once you perform proper efficient 1) Strength, 2) Cardio. 3) Flexibility training over a period of time, I GUARANTEE you that you will see your bones and muscles react!!!! And you will become an expert as to what foods are best for you, and your strength — AND YOUR BONES! Your back and other joints will feel better or worse depending on diet, for example; everything else equal. This subject is too vast for me to cover here but I have extensive experience with the direct reaction of food on applied and highly quantified efficient fitness over the last 30 years with myself and hundreds of clients. I built an entire wellness and fitness center just for the study of this. And I am convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt that the all time BEST WAY to discover EXACTLY what the best diet is, best calcium delivery system is, best protein, calories, etc… is… is to exercise in a MEASURABLE or quantifiable way… for months, years, decades… trust me.. DEFINITE patterns emerge that can be duplicated in only a few short months for others.. with the exact same results.

  6. LynnCS says:

    I was hoping to hear the rest of Melina’s talk. She was just going into the other details of bone health, but the info on the question of plant calcium was a great help. Every little bit helps. I have heard about the oxolic acid in spinach, but a little late for my use. Never too late, I guess. Nice to hear that my heavily green diet is probably helping some along with supplements. When I told the doctor about the raw green smoothies and juicing, he maintained that we get 400mgs of calcium from our diet. (I say more) He said that before he knew abt the green diet. Even so, he felt I was taking too much by supplement, so that agrees with my raw food health help. I take the raw D and still don’t understand where to get the K2 and boron. Silica, I think I have figured out. Thanks so much for putting this information together. It is much appreciated. Lynn

  7. LynnCS says:

    To Chris #2…Even those of us who are aware of our systems and have done what we believed were the right things have found out we have bone density problems. I didn’t know this till I had the bone desity test. It is unfair to tell us that we are not aware.

    Some of the information in your rant is good but saying it in such an inflamatory way isn’t helpful or kind. Saying that we just have to put forth some effort and get aware of ourselves…in all caps and lots of angry exclamation points is just too hostile to be attractive. Letting you know in a nice way so maybe you can come here with a little nicer tone.

  8. I’ve used eggshells but wasn’t able to find any extended info regarding the number of times you need to do this. I remember reading something about taking them for a certain number of weeks and then stopping but it didn’t go into detail of how many times to repeat this in a year. I felt fine while using ground eggshell and was surprised because I had some negative reactions while taking a standard calcium citrate so wondered if this issue would be repeated with eggshell. If anyone has more info on using eggshell, let me know!

  9. I have heard of using egg shells and lemon juice as a calcium supplement but have never used it.

    I don’t know if you have ever discussed Metabolic Typing but according to their research certain metabolic types already have enough or excess calcium in their bodies but lack the nutrients that are needed to utilize it.

    No vitamin or mineral functions on its own. They all require other nutrients to be used in the body.

    This may be why different people have different results with calcium supplementation or trying to improve bone density with raw foods.

  10. Erik Schou says:

    Hello Kev.
    To answer your question about whether it is good or possibly to eat chicken shells as a source to calcium my answer is NO !
    I have just asked the pendel and it answers all questions asked in a way only to say No or
    YES !
    To answer the question whether you can absorb Calcium from raw food or vegetables you have to ask on each specific ” type ” !
    Best regards
    Erik

  11. Qman says:

    Why would we need lemon juice with the egg shells? Egg shells dissolve completely in a mixture of vinegar and water so it makes sense that the shells would dissolve in the stomach acids.

    I saved a pile of egg shells and the plan is to put them in a coffee grinder and pulverize them and then to put them in gelatin capsules …and to take 6 capsules once or twice a day. Is there anything wrong with that?

  12. sue says:

    Eating eggshells for calcium should only be considered when you know that the chickens (hens) are getting enough calcium! If the chicken eggs have a thin shell, they probably aren’t getting enough calcium! I once worked on a chicken farm where we fed the chickens ground sea shells to increase their calcium content!

  13. Josephine says:

    Califano, I think you add a great dimension. As we challenge ourselves, we start getting feedback that helps us a lot!

    I thought that covering eggshells with FRESH lemon juice was a good way to sterilize them. Just make sure that the lemon juice covers all of the shell areas at the start; once it starts combining with the calcium, it’s antibiotic action is diluted.

    Commercially, many eggs are washed and then coated with a thin moisture-retaining film of some sort so they will store longer. I wouldn’t eat those.

    And, I was taught that heated calcium is not as absorb-able as is the raw. This chiropractor said to dry the egg shells, crush them–a blender works, and add the lemon juice–stirring every day, or twice. I don’t remember how long to stir, but probably a couple of days–then add fresh lemon juice to keep the shells covered.

    One lady, whose testimonial I read somewhere, wrote about getting rid of a bunch of bone spurs. She would soak the shells for 2 weeks before she drank the juice. She soaked them in the fridge and never heated the shells.

  14. My understanding is that Dr. J. E. Williams does not recommend 100% raw food diet.

    1) Please, comment on this.

    2) Is your diet 100% raw? And if not, can you provide details about how your diet differs from 100% raw and your specific reasons for this?

    Thank you!
    mark.

  15. a correction to my post: i meant ‘100% raw vegan’ rather than ‘100% raw’ – thanks

  16. Frank says:

    I have never heard about making a calcium citrate from eggshells. I grew up on the farm, I am aware of feeding chickens ground-up oyster shells to make thicker egg shells. It works.
    All of this may not have anything to do with building our bones. We do know that the calcium in milk and any earthbound sources of calcium such as Corral Calcium is a bad way to go. It builds up in our muscle and the growth between muscle tissue rub to make a sore irritation and a painful infection sets in. Growths of calcium in joints and other places give us problems such as Arthritis, kidney stones, gall stones and many other problems. I have had all of these and I went through the medical interventions with no results. How could you get help by treating symptoms? It seems so silly. That is all they were doing. You have to treat the cause. I suffered enough at their hands.
    It was not until I got rid of milk and other calcium supplements in my diet that my body was able to heal itself. It was hard to do because of the inbred indoctrination and bad teaching over may years by those marketing milk and other supplements to us for a wrong purpose. That kind of marketing creates many jobs and provides profits for farmers and others. It is a big business and they do a good job of it.
    I came to realize that calcium does not build bones and teeth. It is true they contain a slight amount of calcium but it is the silica and boron with a few other minerals that build strong bones. I make horsetail tea every morning.
    Just think about it. I think Calcium is too soft a material. It is also too brittle . You could never build a strong yet flexible structure with such material. I had to stop taking into my body that which was causing the problems. Then give my body help to get rid of that which was still left in my body months later. It was still causing problems. I added the juice of two fresh squeezed lemons each day. Lemon dissolves kidney stones and gall stones which is nothing more that bad calcium deposited by my body when it couldn’t get rid of it fast enough. So why should it not dissolve other bad calcium. It leaves the good calcium in its proper places in our body. It works as fast as cleaning the kettle stone in your tea kettle. To help with the pain of infection I took Golden Seal. It is a plant ground-up and put in capsule form. My 70 plus year old body feels and functions like that of a 35 year old.

  17. Nabilla says:

    Thanks for answering my question Kevin! On that note, how often would you recommend for a person to go through health checks to ensure they are on the right diet and that their calcium consumption is sufficient? Once a year? Twice?
    Also, consuming egg shells with lemon juice is definitely a new thing for me, never ever heard of it before.. and I must say it does sound very bizarre!

  18. Barb says:

    If you have ever gathered eggs on a farm, you would never want to eat the shells no matter how much they are sterilized. It would be like eating cereal out of a toilet bowl. Eggs have to be washed because they have hen poop on them.

  19. shelly says:

    I just finished reading 2 books on magnesium. Magnesium is probably more important to bone health than calcium. You need magnesium in order to absorb calcium. The best way to take the magnesium is transdermally.

  20. Rose says:

    Years ago when I was a travelling sales lady for Kenwood Mixer/Blenders. My popular demonstration was gathering the children of the house to watch me make a smoothie..After the water,’powdered’milk and fruit were added I made out like I was forgetting an ingredient.. which just happened to be…..
    Two fresh farm eggs in their cleaned shells.
    Expecting me to crack the shells….Gasps of surprise and delight when I supposedly accidently let the 2 eggs ‘fall’…shell and all into the swirling vortex. !!! After the oh’s and ah’s from the excited children they each had a glass of my super smoothie. When I explained that the shell had calcium in it… which helps make their bones strong.
    Empty glass were held out for….more!
    The parents were pleased and the children loved my demonstration. I enjoyed it too.

    I sold some Kenwoods as well.

  21. HawaiiAna says:

    Barb, hens usually lay clean eggs, I know first-hand. There is absolutely no problem whatsoever with using their egg shells. Just make sure you know where those eggs are from, are they organic, free range? Know your farmer…
    This lemon egg shell recipe sounds interesting, but I’d need more info before trying.

  22. Biodun Bamgboye says:

    Thanks for the xtremely useful information which i’ve forwarded to a friend whos suffered from severe bone loss. I’ve never even heard of egg shells and lemon juice and will certainly seek out more info over it.

  23. Sharon says:

    I did the eggshell calcium recipe with lemon and I was getting plenty of calcium, but I started having bad back aches so I stopped. I feel the combination of plant calcium, kale, broccoli, etc. and I love Franks suggestion of boron and silica as that is the best. I am going back to a cup of nettles, oatstraw, and horsetail tea in the morning along with a good diet and I know it is good for me.
    My plants really do enjoy the water from soaking eggshells so that will be my way of using the eggshells and then composting them.
    Thanks for this forum. I love to hear from like minded people.
    Sharon

  24. I had never heard of us eatting egg shells, although we did feed it to our chickens to help them. Very interesing I will do some more reseach on this, I use the best I can find which is http://jdimlm.com/miracles. I study and do research all the time, since the powers that be wont tell us the truth. Thank you

  25. Gail says:

    Nope, and nope.
    This is starting to sound a bit fanatical.

  26. Robin says:

    I know using caps is assumed to be shouting in texts & messages which are one-dimensional but maybe Chris Califano was using them to emphasise some words and phrases. Let’s not be hastily judgmental and self-righteous because someone may not understand the etiquette. Don’t assume the worst.

  27. Mary Kay says:

    Yes, I’ve done it, but with my own homemade apple-cider vinegar and my own homegrown eggs. I also have my own chickens, and although the eggs are only occasionally dirty, for the eggs I used to make this, I chose the cleanest ones. I just used the eggs raw, and just crushed them up a little.

    YUCK. It was horrible. LOL, I did this years ago, but will give it a try again, although I do believe most of us get enough calcium, but just don’t absorb it well due to other things mentioned by others already…Vit D, boron, magnesium….etc.

    I also believe that a little raw milk is good for you, but too much will actually make bone loss worse and notice if I drink too much raw milk/have too much dairy, I’ll occasionally get some muscle twitching, which tells me I’m losing minerals. However, I’ve also gotten this same twitching (mostly in my eye) when I’ve gone on an almond-milk binge. Many don’t know that almonds/almond milk are high in oxalates as well….

    But I use a shotgun approach: eat lots of fresh greens, but try to combine them with Vit C so that the oxalates do not bind to the minerals, use angstrom minerals occasionally, drink fresh or frozen nettle juice, do wheatgrass juice,….LOL, I’m trying!

    I also believe in the ALKALINE THANG….If your body is alkaline, you’ll not lose those minerals…..so I check my pH regularly.

    I’m 56 and do have some bone loss, and will check again soon to see if this is all working. I have a teeny bit of arthritis in my pinky finger, and so far, none of this is helping….sigh.

    HTH, Thanks for asking and for helping others.

  28. Leam says:

    Meine Omi always had canning jars filled with egg shells soaking in water that she used to water her plants. Always thought it was a funny sight as a child. No humans – only plants – benefited from this elixir.

  29. Justin says:

    I’ve been taking my HCL right before my meal. I’ve never taken them on an empty stomach. I don’t know if I’d like to know what that feels like!

  30. Ivy says:

    Listen, 6 capsules twice a day would be bad – too much. Each egg breaks down to about 1 tsp which is about what a standard gel cap holds. Doses over 5,000mg daily are toxic/deadly. Each eggshell could be around 800mg.

    Calcium citrate is used to treat hypocalcemic emergencies, hypocalcemic tetany, adjunct treatment of cardiac arrest, adjunct treatment of magnesium intoxication, hyperphosphatemia, and some other things including supplementation.

    It’s pretty important that you know the dose. I did a quick search and found that 1 eggshell contains 750 – 800mg of calcium.

    The daily dose for Calcium (generally) is listed as 500mg to 2g per day by mouth as a supplement(Lippincotts drug guide). And according to LWW mobile Nursing 2004 Herbal Medicine Handboo by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins the daily dose is: 1,000-1,300mg for women, 1000 to 1,200mg for men (also lists sources from vegis: broccoli, dark leafy greens, hard or mineral water, almonds, and Brazil nuts)… This herbal book also states that high protein intake, sodium, sugar, caffeine, phosphorus causes calcium excretion.

    The adverse reactions are: slows the heart rate, causes arrhythmias, cardiac arrest with rapid IV injections, constipation, hemorrhage, nausea, thirst, abdominal pain, hypercalcemia, mild drop in blood pressure, and cellulitis (Lippincotts drug guide).
    I would monitor my heart rate three times daily and keep a running record of daily blood pressures. Take blood pressure at the same time in the same position each day – best in the morning after sleeping.

    E. Jacoby you are right about boiling it. I think that the hydrogen peroxide may change the chemistry of the calcium. Boiling for 30 minutes in vinegar or lemon juice would surely do the trick.

    Folk tale from my family: a teaspoon of vinegar in the stock pot gets the calcium to leech from the bones and make the soup a healthy stock.

    Lemon juice and citric acid increases the absorption of Iron as well.

    I ran across a recent study that linked increased calcium supplementation with cancer. Please Google that issue before you decide on a specific supplement.

    Kevin, you are right as well about questions. I love responding as well. It seems pretty important to me as well.

  31. jennifer says:

    I think the comments re silica, boron, mg are spot on. Also Vit D and K. I like the eggshell idea because I would imagine they would have a good balance of every mineral needed to make other rigid tissue such as bone.

  32. Palo0aky says:

    http://community.curetoothdecay.com/cavities/topics/can_egg_shells_benefit_the_teeth?do=reply&utm_content=reply_link&utm_medium=email&utm_source=reply_notification&what=reply_7450968#reply_7450968

    hi kevin there is a whole discussion on the curetoothdecay forum.

    why you never invited ramiel or discussed his book. Im very interested if you would talk to him. Thank you Niko

  33. Rocio says:

    Thank you Kevin, what about Silica from Diatomaceus earth? I just got some and I am going to start taking it 2X/day. Thank you again.

  34. Christine says:

    Kevin
    a couple of weeks ago you had an article about Adya Minerals and a too high aluminum percentage. It was stated that Adya was going to be tested. Did this happen? Has there been any follow up on this? Is there some place I can go to read the results?
    thank You
    Christine

  35. Giuliano says:

    …where do elephants, cows, gorillas and so on get their calcium… eggs? milk? supplements? A plant based diet is the optimal to maintain alkaline the body and avoid osteoporosis. Animal food=loss of calcium. Read “The China Study”!

  36. OK I am really getting started on the marketing deception and misinformation about the mineral Calcium.

    There is 2 kinds of minerals inorganic calcium that comes from rocks that plants can absorb and utilize through photosynthesis. And then we have organic mineral Calcium that is provided directly to us through consuming the plant kingdom. What form of calcium do you think is best for our health and well being?

    Well, it is not the cheap inorganic Calcium that most of the synthetic vitamin and supplement manufacturers are marketing to us.

    Natural Green super foods .And dark leafy greens are loaded with bioavailable organic calcium including foods like strawberries and oranges. Calcium absorption in the body needs help with co factors like vitamin D and the mineral magnesium to work well for assimilation.

    What does a heart surgeon look for when iodine solution is circulating through the the organs champers and blood vessels ?
    Inorganic Calcium mineral deposits of course. Something that should not be there in the first place!

    One more reason for us to get our Calcium and associated co factors directly from natures plant kingdom.

    Barry Gourmet & Raw

  37. I use my left over hen and duck shells for composting for my plants to absorb and utilize later for my safe consumption.

    Barry Gourmet & Raw

  38. Carrie says:

    Actually, there is solid scientific data on the question of the absorption of calcium from dairy versus green leafy vegetables.

    On average, about 1/3 of the calcium from dairy is absorbed, while something like 40-60% of the calcium from greens (even from higher oxalic acid greens) is absorbed.

    THIS MEANS THAT THE CALCIUM FROM GREENS HAS SUPERIOR ABSORPTION THAN THE CALCIUM IN DAIRY.

    Oh, and pound for pound, dairy and greens have roughly the same amount of absorbable calcium.

    For me personally, scientific studies trump both a doctor’s and dietician’s anecdotal experience with patients and/or themselves…as these anecdotal stories are not rigorous and are more hand-wavy.

  39. Good sources of plant based Calcium and Magnesium the two work and support each other for absorption.

    All sea weeds

    Sesame seeds

    Dark Leafy Greens

    Vitamin Citrus fruits are co factors that will help with the absorption of Calcium and Magnesium.

    The hormone Vitamin D from sunshine will help mineralize the bones.

    Resistance weight baring exercises will build bone density and strength . Hope this helps?

    Barry Gourmet & Raw

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