Calcium—An Extremely Important Mineral

calciumIn the minds of most who are concerned about health, calcium is important for building strong bones. Generally, the physician does not explain all that calcium does in the body. We are told that calcium plaque is very dangerous, but we are not told how calcium plaque forms. We are told that cholesterol is the reason for blocked arteries. Really? Strong bones are used as a storage place for calcium as well as to support our structure. Calcium acts in almost every biological activity in the human body. That is the reason that our calcium is controlled in such narrow limits within our blood.

Calcium is required for every thought you make and every action you take. When neurons fire in your brain, signal muscle contraction, or sensory feedback, calcium is required. The signal travels along the neuron to the neural head through the action of voltage potential, sodium, and potassium. Before the neurotransmitters are released to carry the signal to the next neuron, a voltage gated calcium channel opens to allow calcium to flow into the cell. This fact has allowed the creation of a calcium channel blocker, gabapentin (brand name Neurontin). This drug was originally used to stop seizures. It was later used to blunt the action of pain signals. In blocking the action of the neuron, it slows done all neural response. Because the drug was used as an “off label” to block pain and not approved as such, the manufacturer was fined both in the US and the EU. A second drug, pregabalin or Lyrica, was patented and approved for pain reduction and to prevent seizures.

When I was in significant back pain, tramadol was prescribed. Because the pain was not being sufficiently blunted by tramadol, gabapentin was also prescribed. I was able to function well, with pain, with the tramadol. When gabapentin was added, I felt like tar flowing uphill on a cold day. The first experience with gabapentin was slow speech. My trainer sent me home because I was slurring my words. After two months on gabapentin, I had to drink fourteen plus cups of coffee just to function. It not only blocked pain, it blunted all neural action. I got off the drug. There are many other side effects of this drug.

The narrow range of calcium in the blood also has the important action of maintaining a proper acid/base balance. Without a proper acid/base balance, the proteins in our blood tend to fold. This causes loss of the oxygen carrying ability of red cells. It also causes other proteins to not respond for proper biological action.

Secondary signaling is also a very important action of calcium. Before proteins and enzymes are formed, calcium plays an important role. Calcium floods into the cell initiating the RNA/DNA response for the formation of important proteins and enzymes. The RNA/DNA response also includes cell division. Without this signaling, our biology would fail.

How is calcium controlled in our body? There are multiple mechanisms that must be supported by nutrients for proper control of calcium:

  • Vitamin D acts to allow increased calcium absorption in the gut. In the parathyroid gland, parathyroid hormone (PTH) is produced to increase calcium absorption from the gut or from our bones if we are not consuming enough calcium in our diet. If we are not consuming enough calcium, osteopenia and osteoporosis will occur. This is the start of bone loss and other assorted problems like calcium plaque forming in our arteries. Blocked arties and osteoporosis seem to go together. There has not been a single case of secondary hyperparathyroidism when the blood serum level of 25(OH)D, a marker for vitamin D sufficiency, is above 40 ng/ml. Two studies of research literature have shown this.  Secondary hyperparathyroidism is when your parathyroid becomes over active and causes your serum calcium levels to go into a high danger zone. The typical response of modern medicine is to remove several of your parathyroid glands.
  • Loss of proper gut bacteria causes the loss of the important vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 acts to move calcium to the proper locations in our body. It has been shown to reduce calcium plaque in the arteries. It has also been used in Japan for osteoporosis as a prescription drug. Typically, we need vitamin K2 at a rate of about one thousand micrograms per day. Vitamin K2 must be produced in the gut or supplemented. Fermented foods as well as probiotics are known sources of restoring and maintaining our gut bacteria. Properly maintain gut bacteria allow the formation of many nutrients and helps maintain our immune system.
  • When our calcium level starts to go too high, calcitonin is formed by our thyroid glands (or bodies on the thyroid gland). Calcitonin acts to replace calcium in our bones. It is important to keep a healthy thyroid gland. Health of the thyroid is related to how much iodine is consumed. The US government recommends that we only need 150 micrograms per day. This is significantly lower than the consumption of the Japanese population. Studies have shown that typical consumption in Japan is five to fifteen milligrams per day or approximately one hundred times more than the US recommendation. Dr. David Brownstein in his book, “Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Cannot Live Without it,” suggests that we need a minimum of 12.5 milligrams (combination of iodine/iodide) per day or more if there are serious thyroid issues. I do this either with the supplement Iodoral or Lugol’s solution.
  • Vitamin A is also very important. In my reading of the literature, I am now of the understanding that we do not produce vitamin A from beta-carotene until we are already deficient. This is the body’s mechanism to keep us alive. The importance of vitamin A with bones is the differentiation of bone and cartilage stems cells. It acts in combination with Vitamin D for form a dimer for the differentiation. I supplement vitamin A by taking cod liver oil as a liquid or capsules or eat a piece of beef liver every three weeks.
  • Collagen is also very important in the formation of bone and cartilage. We typically got this protein from bone gravies. It was suggested many years ago that we should stop eating gravies, the drippings of skin and bone when cooking meat, because there was too much fat. The mass hysteria about overconsumption of fat has led to increased consumption of sugar. Sugar stimulates insulin and havoc occurs in our bodies. Reduction or elimination of sugar and flour is also important to bone health.  Are you starting to see how this is all interrelated? To get enough collagen, I put one to two teaspoons of just plain gelatin in my morning coffee. Bone broth is also a good source of important proteins. Vitamin C and magnesium also act to help us form collagen in our body.

Mineralization of our bones not only requires calcium but also magnesium. There are many other minerals that act in the formation of our bones. Primarily, this is through the action of enzymes. To be sure that I am getting enough of these micronutrients, I take a multi-mineral each day. The multi-mineral also supports my calcium requirement. The requirement for magnesium is 3.5 to 4.5 mg per pound of body weight per day. Magnesium supplementation should be done with a chelate of amino acids and not as magnesium oxide. We do not absorb magnesium oxide, and you are just wasting your money if you use magnesium oxide as a supplement. Also, magnesium is a natural calcium channel blocker and should be taken in the evenings to support sleep. Magnesium requirements.

This is a long post and somewhat complicated. However, to not allow our biology to move calcium around properly through consumption of the proper nutrients is the first step toward your grave.          –Pandemic Survivor

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The Onslaught Against Nutrients for Bone Health

BoneRecently there have been many articles about the ineffectiveness of vitamin D and calcium for bone health.  Major media outlets that published about the ineffectiveness of vitamin D and calcium for bone health include: ABC news, Reuters, WebMD, Newsweek, LA Times, and Washington Post. I am sure there are more. Why this onslaught on vitamins and minerals?

My personal experience has been significantly different. This includes the recent discovery that my right leg length returned to normal after many years of supplementing with vitamins and minerals. Article It is interesting to note that the IOM (name changed to National Academy of Medicine) reported that we only need 600 IUs of vitamin D3 for bone health in 2010. The IOM took the position that the amount was so small as it was only about bone health. The importance of calcium is that every cell starts biological action with calcium and vitamin D3 controls calcium. It was reported three years ago that an error in the statistics was made by the IOM. The actual amount should have been over 7,000 IUs per day of vitamin D3. The error for the wrong amount of vitamin D was heavily reported in the Canadian press, but not one single major US news outlet reported the error.

I believe we don’t only have a case for fake news. I believe that news about how vitamins and minerals are significantly important for health has been intentionally held from press. The reason is the number of health ads for pharmaceuticals and allopathic treatment are the major source of income for news outlets. Consider this recent post by Grassroots Health about how the cost of health is significantly reduced with higher levels of vitamin D. What if we had an adequate amount of all the right types of nutrients. I believe that healthcare cost would be reduced by fifty percent. This would effectively send us into a depressed economy as approximately twenty percent of GDP is from healthcare.  

What can we do about this? I have tried with congressmen and the response was tepid at best. Government does not want to take the chance that the economy would fail. I understand the need for robust economy and engineered failure. This occurs in everything from auto batteries to your iPhone that is slowed down when the new model is available. But to support the economy off the illness of the population may just be evil. How much lost production do we have from illness? I suffered back and joint pain for three decades to discover that modern medicine was not offering what was available in the science that we had paid for as tax payers.  The real science for nutrients is just being ignored, or worse, being manipulated for the economy. 

Bone health does not only require vitamin D3 and calcium. It also requires the combination of many nutrients that include vitamin D3, vitamin A, vitamin B, calcium, magnesium, boron, vitamin K, iodine, and proteins from animal bones and skin. Iodine is another nutrient in which seventy-five percent of the population is deficient based on present recommendations. If we consume the amount that is present in the Japanese diet, then we are off by a factor of one hundred. The modern paradigm for bone health is to just take a drug, bisphosphonate. This supports the economy but may not do much for your health.

The best solution for your chronic disease is to do your own research in nutrients. The institutions will not be much help as they want to maintain a strong economy. Thanks for reading. –Pandemic Survivor

Breast Cancer Survivor Takes on the Issues

Carole Baggerly had her own experience with breast cancer. She then started to research the reason why. Her discovery; scientists have expressed the understanding that breast cancer is a deficiency disease. That is over her life time, her intake of vitamin D was not adequate. She was so upset and concerned about the issues that she started GrassrootsHealth. This is a consortium of more than forty scientists and doctors that are experts in vitamin D and nutrition. She discovered that it was not only breast cancer, but a host of chronic illness related to deficiencies. Take the time and watch her explain the issues in the first thirty minutes of this video presentation.  Carole Baggerly and Dr. Heaney, September, 2012  Presentation to Direct-MS Canada.

If you are concerned about the health of your children, yourself, your parents, the next hour is Dr. Heaney who has contributed significantly to the understanding of vitamin D. He talks about the longevity issues and decline with chronic disease because of nutritional deficiencies. There are many diseases that have now been linked to deficiencies that number into the hundreds. This is particularly pointed to vitamin D deficiency.

This discussion is fairly non-technical and is understandable by the average person. Dr. Heaney expresses the understanding that “things go better with vitamin D”. That is that vitamin D deficiency may not be the cause of a disease like TB, but not having enough vitamin D will prevent your body from properly healing. However, this understanding falls into the logic of the chicken versus the egg. In other words, if you had enough vitamin D would you have gotten TB in the first place? Dr. Heaney discusses everything from diabetes, heart disease, MS, pregnancy, and cancer to infectious diseases like TB. I give the video presentation six stars out of a five star rating system for understanding of chronic disease and the effect of vitamin DPresentation to Direct-MS Canada.

Your take away from this, is you, your friends, and your family should not suffer from vitamin D deficiency.   Standards within the medical industry have long been 20 ng/ml to 100 ng/ml.   There have not been any cases of toxicity below 200 ng/ml or 500 nmol/l.  There does not appear to be any downside at this level of vitamin D.  Some laboratories have decreased the upper number, 100 ng/ml, to whatever they are measuring the population. Best health for you can be reached with a vitamin D serum level, 25(OH)D between 40 ng/ml to 80 ng/ml; note this is still within the normal range as defined by medicine. It is not how much you take; it is where you maintain your serum level. Everyone responds differently to their intake from all sources of vitamin D. The only way to know is to test.  Dr. Heaney says to maintain a level above 40ng/ml will require an intake from all sources of 5000 IU or more of vitamin D3 per day.

Please note this presentation is in Canada. The measurements used are in nanamoles per liter or nmol/l. To convert ng/ml to nmol/l multiply ng/ml by 2.5. So the normal range of 20 to 100 ng/ml is 50 to 250 nmol/l. Get your serum level tested to give your body a chance to thrive. If you choose to do it through GrassrootsHealth, you become part of the study that will help to advance health in the population. – Pandemic Survivor

Test by GrassrootsHealth: banner_ad_long5company postingVideo of how to do the test:  bscvideothumbnailv3web

Grassroots Health Webinars on Vitamin D

The scientist, researchers, and doctors at Grassroots Health have been presenting webinars on vitamin D and various topics.  This is a wealth of information about how a given disease works with vitamin D as well as the interaction of calcium.

I highly encourage you to go to the website and watch and listen to the webinars.  There is a new one every Tuesday at 1PM eastern time.  Also after becoming familiar with the information, I encourage you to ask your doctor to watch, if he is giving you a hard time about supplementing with vitamin D.  It is important that you maintain your 25(OH)D level above 40 ng/ml.

If you don’t watch and listen to any of the others, I highly suggest that you watch – Why Test Vitamin D!?  The question is always – How much should I take?  This gives you and understanding that everyone responds differently to amounts.  At the Grassroots Health home page you can find a table of how to start supplementing before testing.     There is also a downloadable chart as a PDF.

Here is the link to the Video Page http://www.grassrootshealth.net/index.php/videos

  • Diabetes & Vitamin D
  • The Sun & Vitamin D I and II
  • Pregnancy & Vitamin D  I and II
  • Upper Respiratory Infections & Vitamin DI and II
  • Ethic Disparities & Vitamin D
  • Premenopausal Breast Cancer & Vitamin D
  • The Cost of Vitamin D Deficiency: In Dollars & Disease
  • Vitamin D & Calcium, Fractures, & Kidney Stones  What do we know?
  • Why Test Vitamin D!?
  • Prostate Cancer Positive Core Biopsies Reduced with Vitamin D
  • Prostate Cancer Lesions Reduced with Vitamin D
  • Vitamin D Stops Breast Cancer
  • Vitamin D & Gene Expression
  • Vitamin D & Treatment of Autism
  • Pregnancy & Vitamin D Interview
  • Alzheimer’s Prevention & Vitamin
  • Interaction of Vitamin D and Calcium
  • Vitamin D Requirements for Breast Feeding Mothers
  • Vitamin D & Breast Cancer
  • Vitamin D & Cardiovascular Disease
  • Vitamin D & The Immune System
  • Vitamin D & Cystic Fibrosis

Be well and stay healthy – Pandemic Survivor

Heart Arrhythmias, Mg and Ca in Balance!

Vitamin D3 is extremely important in the maintenance of a healthy heart.  Also of importance are magnesium and its extreme importance in maintaining the ‘electrical balance’ in the heart.  I know of two women that had years of heart arrhythmias and were on medications without success of solving the issue.  Both of these women within a day of supplementing with magnesium discovered that the arrhythmia was gone.  Two different cardiologists in two different cities were simply applying the knowledge that they had without success.

It is not like this is new information and that it is not published in the medical science.  This evidence was published in 1978:

Relationship between death-rates from coronary heart disease and the average dietary calcium/magnesium ratio in several countries

Karpmannen, H., Pennanen, R. and Passinen, L. 1978. Adv. Cardiol. 25: 9-24

You may read the full paper at Magnesium Online Library and many other papers: http://www.mgwater.com/minerals.shtml

As you can see from the graph, the closer that magnesium and calcium intake are balanced, the lower the rate of death from cardiovascular heart disease.  I am not sure why there is such a resistance to following the science in treating heart patients.  I suspect that one of the very real issues is that there is no mainstream test to measure cellular magnesium.  If you are deplete in magnesium, it can take six months to a year to raise the cellular level to a desired value with regular supplementation.  However, to my knowledge there is no test to tell if you are replete at the cellular level.  The importance of the cells being filled with their need for magnesium is that magnesium is the mineral of choice of the one thousand to two thousand mitochondrial bodies in each cell.  The mitochondrial bodies are your energy engines that take the food you eat and convert it into energy that your body can use.  That is the ADP –ATP cycle for those of you with knowledge of biology.

More importantly is the balance of magnesium and calcium.  The body uses over twenty five percent of the energy produced to keep magnesium and calcium on the correct sides of cellular membranes for health.  If you do not have enough magnesium, then the mitochondria cannot provide the energy you need.  I suspect that most if not all sudden heart events are triggered by a need of magnesium at the cellular level.  This may include sudden infant death syndrome.  Since there is not a standard test for cellular magnesium, it most likely will not even be found during autopsy.  If you have had a pace maker installed, be sure to ask your cardiologist about magnesium.  I have nagged my wife repeatedly, a clinical chemist, to develop this test.  I am sure that if it was easy she would have.

We typically get enough calcium in our diets.  We do not have enough magnesium in our diets.  As you can see from the graph, it is obvious that in Japan there is adequate magnesium and thus the lower rate of death from heart disease.  Also the need for healthy bones is to have enough magnesium, vitamin D3, and vitamin K2 to direct the calcium to proper function.  One cardiologist that has it right is Dr. William Davis that writes the popular Track Your Plaque Blog.   You may read an article on magnesium from his blog here: http://www.trackyourplaque.com/blog/2010/02/magnesium-and-arrhythmia.html  His inquirer had a similar experience with heart arrhythmias as the people I know.  I hope that he writes more soon on how much magnesium is needed.

Until modern medicine comes up with a way to test for cellular magnesium, then you are on your own to assure your intake level is high enough.  I think Krispin, a nutritionist, has it correct.  Read her take on magnesium requirements and why: http://www.krispin.com/magnes.html  The really good thing about magnesium is that it takes about three time more than you need to reach bowel tolerance.  Magnesium is an excellent laxative. The upper side of intake is 4.5 mg of magnesium per pound of body weight per day.

It is difficult for me to believe that Japan has a death rate from heart disease that is 5 times lower than the US and the medical profession acts like it is clueless.  Arrhythmias, muscle cramps, and hard stool, you need to act quickly – pandemic survivor.