Do You Need A Calcium Supplement?
The Body With Enough Calcium
Calcium will influence thousands of biological reactions. The most basic role of calcium is to enable collagen synthesis, along with help from vitamin C and zinc. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, and serves to literally stick all cells together. It is the connective tissue that joins cells together to form bones, which are 35% collagen, and to form organs, muscles, skin and more. Bone tissue is made up of both collagen and a large, complex mineral crystal called hydroxyapatite.
Calcium itself is such an abundant component of hydroxyapatite that it ends up as a primary structural component of bone at 39.9% of its structural mass. This means that calcium is doubly important to skeletal health because it is required for the synthesis of collagen and to serve as a structural member of the hydroxyapatite crystal.
Without enough calcium, hydroxyapatite will not be formed in sufficient quantity to maintain healthy bone. And without enough calcium, inadequate collagen will be formed, weakening bone structure further. In all, calcium directly influences 75% of oneís bone structure. Muscles cannot contract without calcium (just as they cannot relax without magnesium.) You cannot walk, run or pump blood to your brain without calcium. The many roles of calcium drive our daily dietary requirements to 1,000 mg and beyond.
The biologically active form of calcium is ionized calcium, that is, atomic calcium lacking two electrons. Ionized calcium (Ca2+) is the primary electrical signaling element in cells because of its ability to reversibly bind with proteins. As such, it is the most common chemical messenger within a cell. A lack of Ca2+ can disturb multiple cellular functions from energy production, to sugar metabolism, and responses to hormonal messengers.
What About Too Much Calcium?
Elevated blood calcium levels (hypercalcemia) through overconsumption of calcium (or rarely through chronically elevated urinary Ca excretion to the point of kidney calcification) manifests itself as constipation, lax muscle tone, copious urination, confusion, coma and ultimately, death. The condition has yet to develop through consumption of natural foods even in those populations whose indigenous diets daily deliver multiple grams of elemental calcium per day. Hypercalcemia has been seen only in association with overuse of synthetic (NOT plant-based) calcium supplements. The potently alkalinizing effect from long term use of high doses of tableted supplements can raise the pH of the urine, setting the stage for calcium deposition in the kidneys. Resulting damage retards elimination of calcium through normal pathways, raising blood calcium levels. Although hypercalcemia is rare, it does present an argument in favor of calcium supplementation through natural plant foods. Vibrant Health offers Super Natural Calcium as the best solution for a truly food form, plant based, and safe calcium supplement.
The calcium in Super Natural Calcium is supplied by hydrilla verticillata, a rooted, freshwater plant that contains 15% elemental calcium on a dry weight basis, and by calecareous algae from the ocean, lithothamnium sp. Both ingredients provide calcium (Ca) as it is found in nature, bound to carbohydrates, proteins and polyphenols in natural molecular complexes. Calcium in this form is more compatible with human digestion and metabolism than mineral compounds synthesized in the laboratory, e.g. calcium carbonate, calcium citrate, calcium malate, calcium gluconate, etc. The bodyís digestion and metabolism recognize calcium-containing molecular structures delivered by food as a result of adaptation to our food supply over millions of years. Familiarity yields greater bioavailability.
Although digestive and absorptive capabilities vary widely among individuals, especially in regard to calcium, plant based calcium can be expected, in general, to be approximately twice as bioavailable as commercial forms of calcium. Calcium carbonate, however, remains a special case. Calcium carbonate, whether synthesized (as in TUMS) or from eggshell, coral, oyster shell or other source, is renowned for poor bioavailability in all but the youngest and most healthy members of the human population. By age 50, absorption of Ca from calcium carbonate shrinks to nil for most individuals. Super Natural Calcium is available in both powder and tablet forms, Super Natural Calcium powder‚s nutrient density and great Chaicr®me spice flavor make it a dietary supplement of value to everyone ‚ especially vegans and other vegetarians. Try it in your smoothie or homemade vegetable juices as a way of naturally increasing dietary calcium.
DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended as a substitute for advice provided by a competent health care professional. You should not use this information in diagnosing or treating a health problem. No claim or opinion in this blog is intended to be, nor should be construed to be, medical advice. If you are now taking any drugs, prescribed or not, or have a medical condition, please consult a competent physician who is aware of herb/drug interactions before taking any herbal supplements. The information presented herein has not been evaluated by the FDA or the Department of Health and is not intended to diagnose, prevent, cure, mitigate or treat any disease or illness.
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- Clayton Bagnall