Our Daily Calcium – Part I: by Dr Damiana Corca

Calcium, the mineral present in the largest amount in our body, plays a vital role in many physiological processes, from birth to advanced age. We all know how important calcium is for the growing child or how it affects people with osteoporosis.  But calcium does much more than that and a correct diet involves much more than eating calcium rich foods. The real skill lies in combining and ingesting the right balance of foods.

The first calcium rich food that comes to mind is milk. But this is a rather complicated matter. Milk is definitely high in calcium and if you do drink milk for calcium enriching purposes choose whole milk rather than skimmed milk. Why so? That is because the fat and protein content helps its absorption. However, the high content of fat found in milk can become a problem in itself for other health concerns such as cardiovascular diseases. What’s more, many people are allergic to milk so this source of calcium can become a closed door. We haven’t even talked about the sources and quality of the milk, which raises other concerns related to chemical contents. All of these issues leave you with some questions and doubts because as you see, the ingestion of this product becomes, well, milky.

Let’s have a look at the functions of calcium. It is common knowledge that calcium helps build strong bones but did you know that it helps build strong teeth as well? In fact, in Chinese medicine, teeth are said to be an extension of the bones. Everyday we chew on different foods and you may wonder how come they do so well for years, sometimes for our whole life – the secret is in the enamel, which is the hardest structure in the body. And calcium reigns here as well, being the highest mineral found in the tooth enamel.

Maintaining a healthy bone structure requires more than a high intake of calcium because it involves different mineral dynamics and hormonal balance. However, practicing a healthy diet is crucial in helping keep that balance. This is where vitamin D, magnesium, and phosphorus step in, three important factors that greatly influence calcium absorption. I am going to touch upon these factors later as I talk about my Triple Strong Calcium plan.

I remember that when I was only a child, my mother would give me a cup of hot milk in the evening to help my sleep. Did it work? Definitely. This is because calcium is very important for the nervous system and it is said to calm the nerves.

Crossing to the herb side, Valerian is commonly used for insomnia, depression, anxiety, and nervousness. Surprise, surprise! Its content of calcium is very high! One study even revealed that Valerian had the highest content of calcium of any of the herbs they tested. German folk medicine even has it that in days of old, women used to take Valerian tea as often as coffee, to prevent irritability – probably associated with PMS.  What is the lesson here? Appropriate calcium intake can really help our nervous system – and you would not be the only one to benefit. I bet everyone around you would be relieved to see a happier you. Should you start drinking Valerian tea? Not quite so! Consult your herbalist first to check for interactions with other medications or supplements you are taking and to make sure that this is the right herb for you.

Some other functions of calcium are related to muscle contraction and relaxation having a close relationship with magnesium, in simple words – calcium helps contraction while magnesium helps relaxation. This is important in general muscle contraction but critical in the heart muscle cycle of contraction-relaxation.

Calcium also plays a role in blood clotting and enzyme activity.

Now that we have covered some of the functions of calcium, it is time to move on to the most common diseases related to poor calcium amounts in the body. Low calcium in children can lead to an increased risk of fractures, either while growing up or later in life. Unfortunately it can also lead to developmental problems such as stunted growth.

The most common fear arises in relation with osteoporosis in older adults, a disease that is generally facilitated by the decline in estrogen levels in women and testosterone in men. What can we do about it? Ideally, a balanced diet throughout our entire life can make up for these losses and avoid any problems. If not, the Triple Strong Calcium plan should benefit your body and decrease the chances of fractures. But are fractures the only issue of concern? Unfortunately there are other health consequences of low calcium levels such as an increased risk of obesity, hypertension, and colon cancer.

Where is that Triple Strong Calcium plan you might ask? I love to leave the goodies at the end! It just makes life brighter and gives more perspective. Besides, there is already so much information to digest so I’ll give you a day or two and follow up with part two of this article.

Coming soon – the Triple Strong Calcium plan – for stronger bones and a healthier lifestyle!

More on my website at: www.elitehealthplex.com

References:

Haas E. (1992). Staying Healthy with Nutrition. New York: Dover Publications

Pitchford P. (2002). Healing with Whole Foods. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books

Pederson M. (2002). Nutritional Herbology. Warsaw, IN: Wendell W. Whitman Company

Schlenker. E, Long S. (2007). Williams’ Essentials of Nutrition and Diet Therapy. Canada:Mosby

Whitney E., Rolfes S. (2005). Understanding Nutrition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth

Damiana Corca, DOM, AP, Dipl. O.M., Dipl. C.H.

Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Acupuncture Physician

Board Certified Chinese Herbology

Board  Certified in Oriental Medicine

Diplomate in Oriental Medicine

Western Family and Consultant Herbalist

Candidate, Board Certified Classical Homeopath

Disclaimer

The information on this blog is provided for educational or reference purposes only and it is NOT a substitute for professional health care. No information obtained on this blog should be relied on as the basis for treating or diagnosing conditions, symptoms, or illness and all queries should be directed to your health care provider. No warranty or guarantee of a cure is expressed or implied with any information at this blog, nor does Elite HealthPlex Blog make any representations regarding the use or the results obtained with the information. In no event shall Elite HealthPlex Blog, its employees or associates be liable to any person or individual for any loss or damage whatsoever which may arise from the use of this blog or any of the information available on this blog.

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