No “Bones” about it

As the American public prepares to live longer and longer, there are more issues that seems to surface with this longer lifespan. One of these is the prevalence of osteoporosis, a condition that is best described bone loss. Bone loss – brittle bones – “Grandma broke her hip” – all mean the same thing. Somehow, all of a sudden, we got old…fast. To help combat this, corporate America has come to the rescue! Calcium pills, calcium chocolate chewables, Tums with calcium, or calcium enriched this and that – but what does all this mean? This article straightens it all out. Read on to find out how to strengthen your bones and the supplements/foods that you can use to get there.It is estimated that calcium pharmaceutical sales will reach 10.4 Billion dollars by 20111 and that calcium supplement sales are worth nearly 1 billion (accounting for more than 60% of all supplement sales). However, just a few weeks ago, “bone-stengthening” pharmaceuticals were shown to be actually worse for patients after 4 years. Women have actually shattered their femurs and hips as a result of taking these drugs. Take a look for yourself! did we decide that drugs were the answer? Were you aware that in order for one to increase their bone mass entails two simple suggestions. I will list those at the end. But let us first talk about calcium supplement as my intro paragraph described.

Calcium Supplementation

The problem most consumers face is – whom do we trust? The supplement industry is not regulated and there are a select few companies that submit to the high standards that are placed on pharmaceutical companies – it is both a cost and time prohibitive venture. So, before you reach for the value-sized 1500 capsule bottle at your nearest Sam’s Club that costs $4– read on.

Calcium comes in four digestible forms – you’ll see these listed as ingredients so look for them:

  1. Calcium carbonate: basically this is grounded up seashells and bones – this is the cheapest and the most common calcium additive – only 2-5% is actually ever absorbed with perfect conditions.
  2. Calcium citrate: better and still affordable, your higher quality supplements carry this. 30-35% absorbable and don’t require a high amount of acid to absorb.
  3. Calcium aspartate: 85% absorbed
  4. Calcium orotate: 90-95% absorbed (but incredibly expensive and hard to find).

Think chocolate milk is good for your kids? Think again, a compound in chocolate (oxalate) actually binds to the calcium ions in milk. (Plus, think of all the added sugar). I did a quick google search just to prove this point.

With calcium supplementation, you also need a ratio of 2:1 magnesium and the presence of Vitamin D.

My point is: is this getting confusing, and a bit frustrating? So, here’s the “no-brainer” for building strong bones:

  1. Exercise – you body needs to be stressed so that your bones will crave calcium to get stronger. These exercises must be “load bearing” (think walking, running, lifting weights).
  2. The perfect source of calcium with magnesium in the perfect ratio… leafy vegetables. They are much cheaper than buying prescriptions for bone loss and definitely easier than shopping for all of these extra supplements. Romaine lettuce, broccoli, red leaf, spinach are all examples of these.

God did very well when designing the human body for success and providing easily obtainable food that can fulfill our needs. However, if you still choose to supplement, calcium citrate seems to be the best and most affordable choice, but don’t exceed 2500mg per day.

Arm yourself with good information – fight the hype.

From “Osteoporosis sees new wave of treatment options.”

Drug Researcher. 4/28/2004