Many of us are lacking proper calcium in our diets, especially those that are vegan or eat dairy free. Calcium intake is vitally important to our overall health. It’s actually the most abundant mineral in our bodies and crucial to multiple systems. While most people think of our bone health to be the main reason to take calcium, it’s actually quite contrary.
Vital systems like cardiovascular, nervous, clotting, and muscular MUST have calcium to function properly. Our bones are actually the storage house for calcium to which the body can draw upon for its continual supply…they are far from the primary reason we need calcium. As you can now probably imagine, when we don’t get enough Ca in our diets the bones are required to give up more and more of their stores, same goes for the teeth. So, it stands to say that to maintain healthy bones, teeth, AND our entire bodies we must ensure proper amounts of calcium in our diets.
Calcium rich foods are abundant in healthy food options. Of course there’s dairy, the king of calcium, but you also have veggies and fruits too. Dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, and chard contain high amounts but there are two draw backs. First off you have to eat cups and cups of the stuff to get a useful amount, 2 cups of kale has 200 mg of Ca (most recommend a minimum of 1000 mg/day)…I don’t know anyone who can eat 10 cups of kale a day, if you can I think the Guinness Book of World Records would fancy your contact info.
Secondly, and this is a BIG one, dark leafy greens contain oxalic acid which interferes with calcium absorption. Spinach and chard are some of the highest in oxalic acid, kale on the lower spectrum of things. Oxalic acid prevents Ca (and iron and magnesium) absorption and is one of the most common causes of kidney stones. More information about oxalates here.
Basically, if you’re relying on dark leafy greens for the majority of your Ca intake, think again. It’s not being absorbed, period. Now, I’m not saying avoid leafy greens by any means! They offer a great array of other essential nutrients…just don’t use them for calcium. If you must choose a dark leafy green, the best would be kale as it’s rather low in oxalates.
Other sources of Ca are sardines, canned salmon, chia seeds, edamame, figs, and oranges. There’s tofu too but I don’t recommend high soy diets, that’s another post at another time though.
Because most of us don’t get 1000 mg Ca a day consistently we often turn to calcium supplements to fill the gap. The caveat is most calcium supplements are pretty shitty. Not only are they difficult for the body to use but there’s good evidence that they increase our risk of heart attack by 30% and even stroke (source). Also, evidence that non-food based Ca supplements support bone health and reduce risk of fracture is lacking (source). So WTF do we do?!
In order to get a calcium supplement that’s actually useable and non-damaging we want whole foods based calcium. Not ground up bones, limestone, and shell like 99% of the calcium supplements out there. Those calciums like Ca carbonate and Ca citrate are difficult for the body to breakdown and absorb because they are made from things we wouldn’t naturally eat. Plus they are lacking the critical other nutrients (mainly vitamin K2 and D) that calcium needs to absorb.
I choose to take Synergy Company Bone Renewal because it’s truly a complete calcium supplement. Made entirely from plant based calcium (whole food) and coupled with necessary co-factors (K2, D3, Mg, Silica, Strontium, Boron, etc) to make the calcium useable. I rest assured knowing the calcium supplement I use is actually doing me good.
I have noticed big changes since starting Bone Renewal many months ago. My nails grow longer and stronger than they ever have…almost too quick to keep up with. And my teeth have zero sensitivity anymore. As for my bones, well there's no way to know for sure, but I'm sure they are loving the extra Ca supplies. Bone Renewal can be purchased for the best price directly from Synergy Company here or slightly more on Amazon here.
In summary, calcium is a critical mineral that our bodies rely on constantly. Without a constant influx our teeth and bones suffer because they are the storehouses. If these stores are exhausted our heart, nerves, and muscles begin to feel the strain which can eventually cause death…yes, for real, I’ve seen it first hand multiple times. Through food alone we can supply our bodies with an adequate amount, but because we're human and don’t follow recommend diets to the letter of the law we often fall short. Grab you typical calcium supplement and that ground shell and rock will be stealing your money. Unabsorbable and risky to our heart health those types of calciums are to be avoided. Instead go find yourself a 100% whole foods (plant) based calcium with necessary cofactors, then you can feel comfortable knowing you body is using the mineral to its fullest.
What’s your favorite calcium rich food?
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- Bolland Mark J, Grey Andrew, Avenell Alison, Gamble Greg D, Reid Ian R. Calcium supplements with or without vitamin D and risk of cardiovascular events: reanalysis of the Women’s Health Initiative limited access dataset and meta-analysis. BMJ 2011; 342 :d2040
- Seeman E. Evidence that calcium supplements reduce fracture risk is lacking. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol 2010; 5(Suppl 1):S3–11.