Osteoporosis And Calcium: Will Dairy Save Your Bones?

Will dairy save your bones?

What do you know about osteoporosis? Unless you’ve stumbled on the research, you probably believe that prevention is all about calcium intake. We’re not scoffing here. Until recently, calcium, calcium, calcium was the overwhelming prescription for low bone density.

When Linda, our CEO, first discovered Natural Calm she was a big dairy consumer and took calcium supplements. Yet, ten years she was diagnosed with low bone density.

It was only when Linda started taking Natural Calm magnesium that her density went up – and stayed up – much to the surprise of her MD.

If you think about it, the standard prescription has clearly been flawed. In countries with the highest dairy intake, we see the highest rates of osteoporosis. In Japan, where dairy intake is low, elderly Japanese women experience hip fractures at a rate less than half of that seen in western countries.

True, bones are mainly composed of calcium. It’s easy to see how we’d come to believe that more dietary calcium would = stronger bones. The reality is more complicated.

Our bodies need a number of vitamins, minerals and hormones for strong bones. Here’s a list of Supplements for Osteoporosis (excerpted from “The Magnesium Miracle, Dr. Carolyn Dean)

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Boron
  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B6
  • Folic Acid
  • Vitamin B complex
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Progesterone (for postmenopausal women under the advice of a doctor – see The Magnesium Miracle for more details)

Calcium does play a role, but the trouble is, most Canadians are getting too much calcium without the counterbalance of magnesium and the other nutrients listed.

Magnesium-deficiency is a big concern when it comes to osteoporosis, because magnesium is essential for bone building. Here’s why:

  • Without enough magnesium, our bodies can’t assimilate calcium.
  • Magnesium stimulates a hormone, calcitonin, that helps to preserve bone structure and draws calcium out of the blood and soft tissues back into the bones.
  • Magnesium suppresses parathyroid hormone, preventing it from breaking down bone.
  • Elevated levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, pulls calcium from our bones. Magnesium downgrades the cortisol response to stress.
  • Calcium and magnesium must be in correct proportion; excess calcium without enough magnesium underpins widespread diseases we associate with ‘normal’ aging in Canada.
  • Magnesium does not build-up in the body (unlike calcium); your body uses what it needs and eliminates the rest, so excess is rarely a risk. (There are always exceptions, such as in cases of extreme intake or a contraindicated condition.)

There is now so much research proving that more calcium won’t solve osteoporosis.

Prescription drugs for osteoporosis also aren’t ideal – there can be disturbing side-effects, as with any pharmaceutical.

Magnesium, on the other hand, is one of the safest supplements available and really is effective against bone loss.

Getting the message out is the hard part. People are still treating their bone density like it’s a problem of too little calcium – instead of an imbalance of calcium and magnesium, with far too much calcium.

If you know someone with low bone density or osteoporosis, please share this.

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