The Calcium Myth
The Martial Art of Wellness
Volume 8 – February 2009
Welcome to this month’s BioNews. We must learn to free ourselves from the control that others exert over us. As we learn we become FREE, we become powerful. This pursuit of self defense in wellness, I call “The Martial Art of Wellness.” And as we practice we become Wellness Ninjas.
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
“ Modern man ends up a vitamin-taking, antacid-consuming, barbiturate-sedated, aspirin-alleviated, Benzedrine-stimulated, psychosomatically diseased, surgically despoiled animal. Nature’s highest product turns out to be a fatigued, peptic-ulcerated, tense, headachy, over-stimulated, neurotic, tonsil-less and appendix-less creature. ”
THIS ISSUE’S TESTIMONIALS:
I feel better than I did twenty years ago
“ As a multiple cancer survivor I feel that taking BioSuperfood has improved my general sense of well-being. At my age one does not expect to feel better with the passing years but I feel better than I did twenty years ago. Part of the reason must be that I am taking BioSuperfood although I am sure that Qi Gong and Tai Chi instructions by Sifu George Picard also earn plaudits. ”
~ Charles Bernard, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.
SPECIAL REPORT ( Algae: The Future in Fuel )
Report contributed by Maryse Thomas, finishing high school, planning to study Kinesiology.
The most important organism on Earth is also one of the smallest. “If all six billion [humans] were to suddenly disappear, the Earth would barely notice; life would continue. But if the algae died, the Earth would soon become a barren almost lifeless rock” (Bloch). Algae are vital to life on Earth. They produce more than 71% of the world’s oxygen and simultaneously remove huge amounts of carbon dioxide from the air (Bloch). Humans have utilized algae for centuries as medicine, as a source of nutrition, as thickening agents in ice cream and cosmetics and other uses. Now, in a time of energy and environmental crisis, we are beginning to use algae as a source of fuel. These tiny photosynthetic organisms are rich in oil content, highly adaptable to a wide range of conditions and are beneficial to the environment. With industries and consumers on the lookout for an eco-friendly and economical alternative to oil, algae may be our greatest hope.
In September 2008, Bill Gates invested a considerable amount into Sapphire Energy, a company that has big hopes for a market in algae fuel. The company started with three friends discussing a very interesting question: “Why is the biofuel industry spending so much time and energy to manufacture ethanol – a fundamentally inferior fuel?” (Winter, 2008). Plant-based fuels are inefficient because they do not produce much oil relative to the amount of land and resources that are required to harvest them. With algae, almost the entire organism is dedicated to converting carbon dioxide and sunlight into a hydrocarbon fuel through photosynthesis. Algae are capable of yielding far more of their body weight in oil than any plant-based fuel currently in use. According to researchers at Utah State University, algae yield approximately 10,000 gallons of oil per acre. Cornell (2007) points out that “our most productive feedstock today, the oil palm, doesn’t even come close with yields of 635 gallons/acre, and is followed distantly by the U.S. standard, soy, at 48 gallons of oil/acre”. Their high oil content makes algae more efficient as a fuel than any of our current alternative fuels.
Another advantage of algae as a fuel source is their unique ability to proliferate in harsh growing conditions such as saltwater or wastewater and in extreme temperatures. Algae can be cultivated in locations where it is impossible for corn or other crops to grow. In addition, algae grow continuously, 365 days a year, and at an incredible rate, doubling their mass several times a day. The United States Energy Department estimates that if all the petroleum fuel in the United States were replaced with algae fuel, it would require 15,000 square miles to grow, an area just a few thousand miles larger than the state of Maryland (Hartman, 2008). This is less than 1/7th the area used to harvest corn in the United States in 2000. The unique ability of algae to grow in a wide range of conditions and at breakneck speed makes them the “ultimate in renewable energy” (Walton, 2008).
At the same time that algae fuel is solving the energy crisis, it will help us solve the environmental crisis. When petroleum and gasoline are burned, they release carbon dioxide into the air, heating our planet. In contrast, as algae grow, they take carbon dioxide out of the air and recycle it. They are so effective at this that several power plants across the United States are beginning to channel smokestack emissions laden with carbon dioxide through pools of algae. This process cleans the emissions, keeping greenhouse gases out of the air, and in exchange, provides the algae with added nutrients which they can thrive on (Hartman). In addition, algae fuel is biodegradable which means that it is relatively harmless to the environment if it is spilled. “Literally and figuratively, this is green fuel” (Walton).
Algae fuel may be our greatest hope for the future. Because of the high oil content and efficiency in engineering of algae, algae fuel provide a more practical alternative to oil than other plant-based fuels. In addition, algae have the capacity to grow rapidly in a variety of conditions. Algae fuel also recycle carbon dioxide from the air, offering some relief from global warming . These three characteristics make algae a feasible source of fuel in the future as well as a viable solution to the energy and environmental crises. It is time that humans humbled themselves and turned to one of the smallest organisms on earth to answer our generation’s biggest problems.
- Bloch, Len. “Algae: Nature’s Smallest Gift.” Fun-science-project-ideas.com. Accessed 1/29/09.
- Cornell, Clayton B. “Algae Biodiesel May Soon Be Reality.” Green Options. May 24, 2007. Accessed 1/30/09.
- Green, Hank. “Bill Gates Invests in Algae Fuel.” EcoGeek. September 17, 2008. Accessed 1/30/09.
- Hartman, Eviana. “A Promising Oil Alternative: Algae Energy.” The Washington Post. January 6, 2008. Accessed 1/30/09.
- Steinman, Alan D. “Algae,” Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2008. Accessed 1/30/09.
- Walton, Marsha. “Algae: The Ultimate in Renewable Energy.” CNN News. April 1, 2008. Accessed 1/30/09.
- Winter, Jozef. “World’s First Renewable Gasoline.” EcoGeek. May 30, 2008. Accessed 1/30/09.
REALITY CHECK ( Demythifying Calcium )
This month I want to simplify your life, provide solutions to the calcium frenzy and offer rest from the fear that mention of the word brings up. So much has been said and continues to be, and there is much controversy regarding calcium and its supplementation. There are thousands of articles written on the subject, some credible and some incredible. In this article I will talk in non-scientific terms and not provide many references. When adhering to basic principles of natural health, I can easily do away with 97% of the chemical logic that is usually required to explain supplementation with isolates. Those principles are:
- First do no harm
- Let thy food be thy medicine.
I hope that these principles will become clear as you read next.
As people, we never took supplements until a few decades ago when we began as a result of very limited information, fear of scurvy and other disease, and most likely someone saw good business opportunities. For example, the discovery and understanding of vitamin C and its ascorbic acid component compounded by the ancient fear of scurvy has led to a billion dollar industry. In 1934 Hoffmann La Roche became the first pharmaceutical company to mass-produce synthetic vitamin C, under the brand name of Redoxon. While already in 1747 in what was the first recorded controlled experiment, James Lind, a British Royal Navy surgeon, had identified that a quality in fruit prevented the disease of scurvy. Sailors had already discovered how to prevent scurvy with lime (and not ascorbic acid). Why then are we taking vitamin C still today? Vitamin C will be demythified in its own time. Today we are talking about calcium.
First a few facts about calcium and calcium related myths
Calcium; is it important? You bet. Doctors tell us so. The media tells us so. Commercials on TV tell us so. Everyone seems to say you need your calcium. It is a big and popular deal! Mostly people are afraid of osteoporosis, with help from Sally Fields and Boniva, and now that we have successfully tied calcium, vitamin D to cancer, people are panicking and millions are jumping on calcium, vitamin D and many more.
Yet with millions following these recommendations, the epidemic of osteoporosis or cancer is not slowing down an iota.
About 27 million Americans have osteoporosis, 50% of aging population will be affected, and approximately another 54 million people are estimated to have low bone mass, a condition that increases the risk of developing osteoporosis.
Other conditions where calcium is associated
What people or practitioners don’t know, is that calcium imbalance is not only related to osteoporosis, but is always partner in other imbalances or conditions such as; cardiovascular plaque, magnesium imbalance, vitamin D imbalance, Para-thyroid, thyroid and other hormone imbalances, arthritis, cancers, and actually many more.
And the biggest problem with all of this is that people don’t realize that calcium along with other imbalances is directly related to the number one killer in America. Estimates for the year 2005 are that 80,700,000 people in the United States have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
As early as 1991, in the International Journal of Cardiology, cardiologist Dr. Stephen Seely raised the question, “Is calcium excess in western diet a major cause of arterial disease?” The study reveals that in countries where it is around 800Mg daily such as USA, New Zealand, Scandinavia and Ireland, it’s the leading cause of mortality from cardiovascular disease.
A study in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2006 says :
- coronary calcification predicts future heart attacks and coronary death. It challenges the long held belief that High Cholesterol leads to cardiovascular disease
- cholesterol not found to be a significant factor
- cholesterol only represent 3% of the arterial plaque while calcium up to 45%
- that 8% of people with a 300 coronary calcium score suffered and adverse event. That is an increase of 1800% over those with a score of ZERO.
- that accumulation of plaque calcium in arteries continues despite aggressive cholesterol reduction of average -53% with statin drugs like Lipitor
A study in the British Journal of Medicine in 2008 shows that post menopausal women who take calcium supplement increase their risk of heart attack by 45%.
Disease of Abundance
What the above referenced studies do not reveal is that in several countries like China and India where there is no intake of calcium as supplement, and/or where consumption of meats and dairy is less or nil, that there is dramatically less instances of osteoporosis, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
It has also been undeniably demonstrated, proven and established with no bias in both conventional and alternative sciences that nearly all of the above conditions are “disease of abundance”, conditions that are self imposed, acquired gradually over time with over eating, eating too much meats and dairy products compounded with lack of exercise, and not eating enough greens and fruits.
Now to think that you can resolve these conditions with calcium supplementation without changing the original causes is not only mythical, but it is pure idiocy.
Calcium assimilation or not
First, let’s review the official FDA statistics and RDA supplementation recommendations: The current FDA labeling requirement for calcium uses the 1973 U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) amount of 1000mg per day for ages 4 to adult. In 1980 the RDA was increased to 1200mg but it was not adopted for nutritional supplement labeling.
The average daily intake for adults not taking nutritional supplements is 600mg per day.
- The absorption factor for adults is 10% – 30% of that amount for between 60mg – 180mg uptake.
- Calcium is excreted daily through feces (250mg), in sweat (20 -350mg up to 1000mg in hot climates under heavy labor), and in urine (80-250mg). TOTAL = 180 -350mg = -170
So rather than taking more calcium to lose even more, the question should be “is calcium getting assimilated at cellular level so it can be utilized in the many metabolisms that require it?”
For calcium to be assimilated there are many physiological conditions that must be met. Let me provide you next with an academic impartial and likely incomplete description of assimilation and calcium borrowed from the Illinois University of Medicine. I hope to shed light on this vastly complex topic that we have not or never will completely explain and that likely we will never be able to support better then with real whole food as opposed to separate and isolate nutrients that can only create further imbalances.
Southern Illinois University of Medicine Medical Resource Center / Department of Information and Communication
Calcium is absorbed as the divalent cation. Most dietary calcium is not ionic, and is insoluble at a neutral pH. Gastric acid solubilizes Ca++ salts and allows their absorption from the intestine.
In contrast to the complete and largely unregulated absorption of the common monovalent electrolytes, the divalent cations calcium and iron are incompletely absorbed, and this absorption is regulated, depending on body stores of these ions. If there is a positive balance of calcium or iron, intestinal absorption is reduced; increased absorption results in the case of a negative balance.
Site: Calcium is absorbed from the duodenum and upper jejunum primarily by an active vitamin D-dependent transcellular process; in the ileum, the predominant process is passive vitamin D-independent, paracellular diffusion. Absorption of Ca++ in the ileum is about one-third as rapid in the upper small intestine. Although the duodenum is the region of most efficient calcium absorption, the greatest proportion of calcium is probably absorbed in the ileum, especially under conditions when transcellular transport is decreased, as in old age.
Mechanism: Not much is known about the mechanism of, or factors influencing, the paracellular transport of calcium. The active (transcellular) transport of calcium is a three-step process: first Ca++ is absorbed from the lumen (probably via facilitated diffusion), then moved through the cytosol from the apical to basolateral surface, and finally extruded across the basolateral membrane into the interstitial fluid. Vitamin D apparently influences each of the three steps. Since the first step is more rapid than the latter steps, intracellular Ca++ concentration rises during absorption. Because of the potential toxicity of calcium to the cell, little calcium entering from the lumen is permitted to diffuse freely across the cell to the basolateral membrane. Mitochondria, with an impressive capacity to accumulate calcium, may facilitate the movement of calcium across the cell. Other organelles (such as lysosomes and smooth endoplasmic reticulum) may also be involved. Such cellular structures, as well as other mechanisms which keep intracellular Ca++ concentration in the micromolar range, are usually referred to as calcium buffers. Calcium buffers in the intestinal epithelial cell include a specific calcium-binding protein (CaBP or calbindin). The active transport mechanism is probably located on or near the basal and/or lateral surfaces of the mucosal cell. Mg++ and Co++ appear to compete with calcium by consistently causing a decrease in the mucosal-to-serosal flux of Ca++.
Controlling factors: It has been postulated that the active metabolite of Vitamin D–1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol–acting on intestinal cells like a steroid hormone, causes increased Ca++ absorption by stimulating the synthesis of calbindin. However, recent studies indicate that Ca++ transport can occur in some species when calbindin is absent, and such transport may decline to very low levels in the presence of abundant calbindin. Although calbindin is certainly involved in the complex process of intestinal calcium transport, it is probably not the only protein induced by Vitamin D. Brush border alkaline phosphatase and a Ca-dependent ATPase have also been found to be stimulated by the vitamin. Other proteins induced by Vitamin D seem to correlate with increased Ca++ absorption, and are currently under investigation.
As with iron, the net amount of Ca++ absorbed is regulated to meet the body’s needs. Factors affecting the rate of intestinal absorption of Ca++ include: plasma Ca++ concentration (i.v. infusion of calcium immediately suppresses duodenal and jejunal Ca++ absorption in normal subjects), parathyroid hormone (promotes absorption, probably indirectly by stimulating production of 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol), reproductive status (absorption more rapid in pregnancy), dietary calcium or phosphorus (low levels of either will stimulate the rate of intestinal Ca++ absorption probably by stimulating parathyroid hormone production), bioavailability, the presence of other dietary factors, age (younger animals absorb more rapidly) and degree of physical activity (calcium is lost from the body, regardless of “adequate” intake, during periods of prolonged immobilization). There is evidence that impaired calcium absorption in the elderly may be due, at least in part, to inadequate production of 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol; other factors may include age-associated structural changes in intestinal mucosa, estrogen withdrawal in post menopausal women, achlorhydria (more common in elderly), low intake of Vitamin D, and the development of a relative resistance to vitamin D in the aging small intestine.
Calcium transport is affected by a number of hormones: it appears to be stimulated by growth hormone, insulin and gastrin, as well as parathyroid hormone, while it is apparently inhibited by cortisol, thyroxine, glucagon and (possibly) somatostatin. Only about 30% of dietary calcium is absorbed; the remaining 70% is excreted in the feces.
The bottom line is that calcium only works when eaten in harmony with its family of co-dependent nutrients!
And know that for each mineral and vitamin there are similar co-dependencies. can you imagine for a moment how you can meet each of their dependency requirements? While you continue reading, think about that.
The following is a partial list of nutrients and the accompanying nutrient(s) necessary for the assimilation of these nutrients into the human body. Without the added “nutrients,” the vitamin or mineral in question cannot be absorbed into the system or will be minimally absorbed, with most being excreted as waste.
Note: Imagine that for each of the following vitamin or mineral, a description like that of calcium provided above is required.
- Vitamin A: (choline, essential fatty acids, zinc, Vitamins C, D, and E).
- Vitamin C: (bioflavonoids, calcium, and magnesium).
- Vitamin D: (calcium, choline, essential fatty acids, phosphorus, and Vitamins A and C).
- Vitamin E: (essential fatty acids, manganese, selenium, inositol, Vitamins A, B1, and C).
- Vitamin B complex: (calcium, Vitamins C and E).
- B1 (thiamine): (manganese, B complex, Vitamins C and E).
- B2 (riboflavin): (B complex and Vitamin C).
- B3 (niacin): (B complex and Vitamin C).
- B5 (Pantothenic acid): (B complex, Vitamins A, C, and E).
- B6: (potassium, B complex, Vitamin C).
- B12 (cyanocobalamin): (a protein called Intrinsic Factor).
- Biotin: (folic acid, B complex, Vitamins B5, B12, and C).
- Choline: (B complex, B12, folic acid, inositol).
- Inositol: (B complex and Vitamin C).
- PABA: (B complex, folic acid, and Vitamin C).
- Calcium: (boron, essential fatty acids, lysine, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, Vitamins A, C, D, F).
- Copper: (cobalt, folic acid, iron, zinc).
- Iodine: (iron, manganese, phosphorus).
- Magnesium: (calcium, phosphorus, potassium, Vitamins B6, C, and D).
- Manganese: (calcium, iron, B complex, and Vitamin E).
- Phosphorus: (Calcium, iron, manganese, sodium, and B6).
- Silicon: (iron and phosphorus).
- Sodium: (calcium, potassium, sulfur, and Vitamin D).
- Sulfur: (potassium, biotin, and Vitamins B1 and B5).
- Zinc: (calcium, copper, phosphorus, and B6).
- Essential fatty acids: (Vitamins A, C, D, and E).
What I was hoping to achieve with this information is to make you realize that supplementation of isolate and separate is futile. It is a game of mixing and never matching the right dependant combinations at the right time or with the right quantity. As a matter of facts many studies show that supplementation can actually be dangerous and lead to cancers in some cases.
Yet calcium supplementation has never been so high
Even with the above information and facts that clearly demonstrate that calcium supplementation does not work, in some circles, there is a belief that “With the daily losses of calcium in the urine, even in the best circumstances, it appears that 1200 to 5000mg of calcium must be ingested daily to balance everyday losses, and there are calls in nutritional circles to raise the RDA levels for calcium to 1500mg per day.”
And the demand for calcium supplements is reflected by retail sales data. In 1993, calcium supplements accounted for 6.7% of total supplement sales or $245 million a year in the U.S. Between 1991 and 1994, sales for calcium supplements increased 30%.
“A report by market analysts Datamonitor reveals osteoporosis drugs Market sales are forecasted to reach $10.4 billion by 2011, from approx $5.0 billion in 2003.”
But with all these sales going on, remember this:
“In summary it is found that massive amount of calcium supplement will only slightly increase bone density while it will significantly increase calcium deposit elsewhere in the body”.
So why would someone in their right mind would prescribe and/or accept to ingest calcium supplements no matter what their quality or claim is? Let me offer a few answers;
- Ignorance of the afore described causes and effects
- Standard medical or alternative protocol and belief
- The calcium supplementation industry is a multi billion dollar industry
- Ignorance of alternative solutions
So what to do about calcium uptake?
The still popular / superficial question and answer is,
“What is the best form of calcium to take where support of your bones is concerned?”
A more moderate and preventative nutritional recommendation for calcium (at least for the cardiovascular problem part) uptake is for 200 to 300 mg daily which is the case in Europe and in some nutritional circles.
But has the right question been asked? How about:
“What went wrong that we lose more calcium daily then we consume? And what went wrong that this is getting worse with aging and that it has become a problem of epidemic proportion in America?”
For most, with aging comes; loss of energy, loss of endocrine balance, various deficiencies, and increasing inefficiency at absorbing calcium (and most other nutrients) from our foods, or our supplements. Supplements are worse in that they will be less accepted by the body and become plaque more readily.
There are likely hundreds of people that would tell you what to do about this problem, each with a different proposal or a variant. If you were to apply the two principles of health mentioned earlier, most of their recommendations would not pass. That is how I have come to simplify supplementation and achieve extraordinary results without it.
I suggest before you look for a miracle pill or a doctor that you should:
- Stop overeating (that is the number one killer)
- Stop tobacco, junk and alcohol
- Eat several small meals (instead of three large meals) of mostly plants (greens and roughage, some vegetables and fruits)
- Eat mostly raw
- Drink a great deal of water as much as 150 ounces daily (drink 8 ounces hourly) – we don’t need other beverages really.
- Learn to fast safely and rationally
- Exercise 5 to 7 days per week for the rest of your life
- Bathe in the sun, the lakes and the ocean and the mountains
- Complement your daily diet with a regimen of BioSuperfood
The BioSuperfood Calcium Connection
And if you are in a state of advanced degenerative condition or disease, then you must do more. Find means to expedite the restoration of your body’s innate capacity to absorb and utilize calcium; and all other nutrients for that matter. Respect above average the recommendations above, eat better, exercise more. And don’t rest until you have restored your energy and balance. Then still there will be no rest for the wellness warrior. BioSuperfood is an extraordinary ally food that will expedite the return to balance and health. Get the current book The Magic of BAC and stay tune for the new release:
The culmination in cellular nutrition
BioSuperfood feeds the hypothalamus-pituitary axis which is responsible for all metabolisms, that of sugar in the blood, mineral activity, vitamin D synthesis, assimilation of calcium and other nutrients, pH levels, inflammation metabolism, fat and mineral activity, detoxification and even energy.
In 20 years of research, in 20 species and millions of animals, BioSuperfood was showed to:
- Prevent arthritis and osteoporosis
- Prevent cancers and other degenerative conditions
- Prevent diabetes and other hormone imbalances
- Prevent plaque and other cardiovascular conditions
- And significantly increased vitality and resulting productivity
BioSuperfood and its Calcium content
BioSuperfood contains some amount of calcium with a 90% NPU (Net Calcium Utilization). But BioSuperfood is much more valuable then its calcium content; when you consume BioSuperfood daily, you immediately benefit from better assimilation of all the nutrients in your foods. We say that BioSuperfood “fires” your ordinary foods. In large studies with thousands of dairy cows and millions of chickens it was proven that when the animals were fed the algae, they needed less of their daily protein feed, assimilated enough calcium to no longer suffer from osteoporosis while producing more eggs and milk of higher calcium and other nutritive value. Read more at The Magic is BAC on Dairy Cow Research