Calcium in our diets?
In this final post on calcium, I’ll let you know about the surprising health conditions that I use calcium for in my practice. We’ll also look at why NZ is so fixated on calcium & ‘dairy’ for bone & teeth health. In fact, they might not be good for these things at all. I’ll also share how to make ‘Dynamite Powder’ (calcium powder) with you.
In my last post, I may have upset a few folks when I made Daisy + Betsy redundant from their high-profile contract-work as Calcium Cash Cows. I said that you didn’t need dairy products in your diet to get calcium.
Note: I didn’t say that you shouldn’t have dairy products at all – I simply suggested that you enjoy them in moderation (I even recommended a number of consumer-conscious brands as alternatives to Fonterra products.)
In Do we really need dairy to get calcium in our diet?, I said calcium doesn’t just come in ‘white things’ (dairy products + calcium tablets). And, I showed you a number of different foods that could provide you with your calcium requirements more effectively than dairy. This is because many people can’t tolerant ‘bovine secretion’, and for good reason — cows milk is obviously meant for calves.
Oh! And, I also said the dairy industry was ultimately exploitative: cows get milked for all their worth; unwanted calves + cows get slaughtered; and rainforests die (at the hands of Fonterra).
Note: Let’s keep things in perspective shall we? It’s the ‘dairy industry’ not the ‘cow sanctuary’! It’s a money-making business.
This post all started in part-one: Weighing up the evidence on our most abundant mineral. Here, I cleared up your concerns about supplementing with calcium.
While most of your body’s calcium is stored in your bones, there is a small amount available in the blood and cells. Calcium is vital to every system in the body. It is involved with enzyme activation, and also facilitates the release of hormones and neurotransmitters. Some specific conditions this mineral can help are:
Insomnia, depression, anxiety, and nerve pain.
Blood pressure issues, heart arrhythmias, menstrual cramping, and migraines.
Fibromyalgia, muscle cramping (& spasms), and headaches.
You can see how calcium supplementation would be particularly useful in women who suffer from PMS, as this mineral can be used for: anxiety, depression, menstrual cramping, headaches, and general pain. This can help to improve overall mood, concentration, and behaviour. (Calcium may even help alleviate fluid retention.)
Note: Therapeutic levels of calcium may also prove helpful for elite female athletes. Calcium can help them to hormonally regulate their menstrual cycles, and help with the other serious concerns associated with intense, prolonged athletic training.
If you have any of the above health concerns, then please consult your Naturopath or make an appointment to see me.
Calcium is more than a bone and teeth strengthener (As we’ve seen above)
However, calcium is by no means a solo artist – nor would you want it to be! Without its essential co-factors (Vitamin D, Vitamin K, Boron, and Magnesium), best case —it would not do what you wanted it to do, and worse case — it could prove detrimental to your health.
Nature always uses highly absorbable forms of calcium, and provides the necessary co-factors to help this mineral do what it needs to do in the body. (Natural health formulas aim to replicate this synergistic combination.)
Check out part-one of my blog-post to see what happens when Calcium supplementation ‘goes bad‘.
Dairy has not been proven to reduce fractures or to prevent osteoporosis.
In fact, according to the famous Nurses’ Health Study, dairy products may actually increase the risk of fractures. It is believed that the more dairy you consume, the more calcium you need to consume from other sources. The animal protein can cause your body to leech calcium from its bone to buffer the blood1. Please see my blog-post on: The whole acid + alkaline thing.
And while there are no recognised studies (as far as I’m aware) that show that drinking milk reduces your risk of osteoporosis, it has been shown that the countries with the lowest rates of dairy and calcium consumption have the lowest rates of osteoporosis (Africa and Asia)2.
Is dairy guilty?
Dairy is under investigation for its potential implication in a number of serious health concerns: ovarian + prostate + bowel cancers and Diabetes1.
This form of calcium was removed from the market due to lead contamination.
Lead is a toxic metal that negatively affects the brain, kidney, and also the manufacture of red blood cells.
You can easily make your own whole-food, egg-shell calcium supplement! I googled (as you do) a couple of different how-to’s, and they all had various ways to go about this. However, I’ve outlined what I would do.
Note: This is a fabulous way to repurpose something that you would otherwise ‘bin’.
Save your free-range, organic eggshells – you’ll need one-dozen of these.
Remove all traces of egg, and rinse the shell in warm water. Make sure you don’t pull the membrane off as it’s full of nutrients.
Note: Eggshell membrane contains naturally occurring collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid which are essential for maintaining healthy joint and connective tissues3.
You’ve got some decisions to make, as people seem to use different methods depending on how ‘germ-phobic’ they are, or perhaps how enthusiastic they are to make Dynamite Powder as soon as they’ve rinsed their egg-shells!
Some people boil them first, then blast them in the oven.
Others just blast them in the oven.
Others still just leave them to air-dry.
The way I see it, if you are choosing not to have ‘bacteria’ you might also be choosing not to have ‘nutrients’.
As long as the eggs are free-range and organic, there is very little chance of them being contaminated with salmonella4. Therefore, I’m okay with good old-fashioned air drying.
Note: None of the sites I looked at, mention that there are two ways to arrive at egg shells – by cracking, or by peeling… I lump mine in all together. How many nutrients are left after boiling your ‘boneless chickens’ – it’s anyones guess?! I soft-boil my eggs, so I’m willing to have some faith!
I think I speak for everyone when I say, ‘No one likes to bite down on bits of eggshell’ — therefore process them into a fine powder using a coffee grinder, or a Vitamix, or smash them with a rolling pin (which I find highly therapeutic)!
Keep this in the cupboard — in a tightly sealed container
One tsp of ‘Dynamite Powder’ will give you around 750—1000mg elemental calcium.
Note: This is a similar amount to Lifestream’s Natural Calcium made from sea-vegetable.
Doses will range from:
1/4 — 1/2 tsp taken one to three times daily.
Simply mix powder with a little water or non-dairy milk and consume after food. Or sprinkle onto food, or pop into an ‘occasional’ smoothie.
Note: start on the smallest dose to begin with – once a day – to ensure you can tolerate it.
You can also make Lemon Egg (liquid calcium) by leaving a whole egg to stand in citrus juice for a few hours. The shell disolves – leaving the whole egg sitting in the liquid calcium; magic! I’ll let you Google that one for yourself!
You’d be on an airliner – in economy class seating. You’d be stuck between two random, cackling, hen-pecking females, who didn’t bathe, and who insisted on swapping seats with each other on a regular basis. It would continually be night-time, but the lights would be left on for the majority of the duration. You’d exist solely on the pilot’s choice of airline food (and sadly, you’d have to compete for it with those other two brazen, ‘fowl-mouthed’ tarts…) You wouldn’t have anything to read, watch, or do. You’d spend your entire life flying non-stop between NZ and the UK; never actually landing at either destination… Oh, and you’d be expected to lay eggs!
!!! PLEASE SUPPORT FREE-RANGE EGG FARMERS. PLEASE !!!
People are so confused when you tell them that there are many foods that provide us with our calcium — not just dairy. Bony fish, shell-fish, and seaweed are fabulous sources of calcium.
Check out: Part Two for more calcium sources.
What is the calcium intake like in your diet? Are you suffering from any symptoms that could suggest you’re deficient in this mineral?
Possible initial SIGNS of deficiency:
Nervousness, anxiety, irritability, muscle spasms and insomnia.
Possible SIGNS of long-term deficiency:
Impaired growth, brittle nails, bone disease, and damaged teeth.
Or, do you suffer from any of the nervous or muscular system issues I outlined earlier such as depression, nerve pain or headaches?
Talk to your Naturopath about your health concerns. He/she will assess if you actually do have a calcium deficiency (as it could be some other health issue). They will ensure you get more ‘bang for your buck’ by covering off:
OPTIMISATION OF SUPPLEMENTATION
The appropriate calcium formulation + the correct daily dosage for you + the correct way to take it.
Lisa Fitzgibbon is a degree qualified (2006), experienced and registered Naturopath & Medical Herbalist. She runs her own private practice – OOMPH in Grey Lynn, Auckland, New Zealand.
Lisa has been involved in the Natural Health industry for 16 years. She draws on her professional training and experience, as well as her own personal experience to bring you realistic, holistic health advice.Book online