In 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