Calcium Paradox and Bone Health?

After looking at over 1,200 studies, book author, Dr. Amy Lanou, PhD, challenges us to look at bone health differently.  Is osteoporosis really caused by a deficient calcium intake? Are high calcium foods and supplements the answer to restoring bone calcium? Some of Building Bone Vitality’s key messages are:1

  • The highest rates of hip fractures occur in the countries with the highest calcium consumption: this is the calcium paradox.
  • The weight of scientific evidence (66% of studies) shows taking in a lot more calcium neither strengthens bone nor significantly reduces the risk of fractures.
  • After suffering a hip fracture, the person often has marked deterioration of other health conditions, 25% die within one year, and 20% are placed in nursing homes.
  • We have known for many years that the typical American diet with high protein and grains creates more acidity in the body—and the body tries to neutralize this acidity through leaching calcium from the bones.
  • Blood is normally slightly alkaline in a pH range of 7.35 to 7.45.
  • Other long-latency contributing factors to osteoporosis can be vitamin D deficiency, lack of weight-bearing exercise, genetics/race, hormone changes, and other nutrient deficiencies.
  • In 2000, a research team lead by Dr. Anthony Sebastian, professor emeritus at UCSF, published a worldwide survey of fracture rates correlated with the country’s consumption of animal and plant protein. He concluded, “Over decades, the magnitude of a daily positive acid balance (chronically acidic blood and urine) may be sufficient to induce osteoporosis.”
  • A growing number of studies support the theory of eating a low-acid diet (high in fruits and vegetables with natural alkalizing minerals) along with daily exercise as the most effective and lowest cost ways to strengthen bone and reduce fractures.
  • Along with calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium there are at last 15 other vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids and buffered proteins that are needed for healthy bone formation and maintenance.
  • Low-acid lifestyle includes: eat or drink two servings of fruits or vegetables at every meal or as snacks; reduce your intake of meats, fish, cheese, and grains; walk or do other weight-bearing exercises 30 minutes every day.
  • Smoking and heavy alcohol drinking also increases fracture risk.

Some of our lifestyle choices helped create this epidemic and by changing the way we eat, drink, and exercise, we can reverse the rate of bone loss.

Author, Dr. Amy Lanou received her PhD in Human Nutrition from Cornell University and is an Assistant Professor of Health and Wellness at the University of North Carolina.

References for all 1,200 studies can be seen atwww.BuildingBoneVitality.com or at www.pubmed.gov.

Reference

  1. Lanou AJ, Castlement M. Building Bone Vitality: A Revolutionary Diet Plan to Prevent Bone Loss and Reverse Osteoporosis. New York; McGraw-Hill: 2009.