Eating too much calcium in supplement form can be harmful. Women on calcium supplements long-term are breaking their femur – this is the main bone in their lower leg. Now, you would think eating extra calcium is good for your bones, so eating more calcium in supplement form should be great. Actually, it can do more harm than good in supplement form. It is perfectly alright to eat food with higher calcium content though.
We don’t understand how calcium works in the body. To understand calcium uptake and absorption, scientists are studying it in rats at the Department of food and nutrition at Purdue University in Indiana (2005). We do know that bones need calcium to form and be healthy. Biologists also know that calcium channels are in certain cells, including the brain, are controlled by proteins that guard and control how much calcium enters or leaves the cells. In such a situation, excess calcium has to be discarded by the body. The kidneys have the function to remove excess from the body but they can do their job right only for normal amounts of junk in the body. When the body asks the kidneys to throw out too much calcium, it cannot finish that job in a single day. The calcium it cannot throw out is stored. Too much excess calcium day after day creates a ‘storage overdose’. Kidney stones are one consequence and it is possible the lower leg femur bone breaking is a another consequence in young, strong women.
Who knows why supplements are treated differently by the cells of the body than when calcium enters the body through natural food sources like milk, yogurt, broccoli or fish bones. Until we know how much calcium in supplement form is ‘safe’ for your body to handle ( remember every body has a different body type), it may be safe to take calcium from natural food sources. Osteoporosis drugs were causing femurs to break in such high numbers that in 2010 the FDA actually put a black box warning but I doubt if desperate women heed a black box warning. So, if you love a woman, feed her and gently warn her. Men are also showing mysterious femur breaks (Medscape article, 2011). So, alert a man you love to eat healthy instead.
Check your daily multi-vitamin. Does the bottle list too many ingredients? Does it say it includes calcium? Does it say calcium at 5% of daily value recommended by Government sources? Well, then you should seriously think about discontinuing using that multivitamin. Why should you punish your body? Can the vitamin company guarantee that you won’t break a femur several months later; or guarantee that you will not break more than the normal number of nails?
Do your nails break too easily? First check if you are eating three servings of calcium rich food. If you are doing so then you are getting enough calcium. Then check if you are taking calcium supplements in any form. If you are then perhaps your nails are showing that you have excess calcium intake perhaps. Listen to your nails because they indicate if you are dehydrated, lack calcium or have fungal infections or vitamin deficiencies. First eat healthy. Then, begin to question.
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