Since we are young, we drink milk and try to assume as much calcium as we can, in order to make our bones healthier. But did you ever stop for a moment to question whether this is true or not? Well, researchers now discovered it is not.
Calcium is indeed one of the elements that make our bones healthy, but it might not be the main one.
The Real Effects of Calcium
The Pediatric Academic Societies(PAS) has published new researches. And their results show that the mineral that really helps our bones might be Magnesium.
Throughout the years, some other researches have shown a rather dark side of calcium. Researches from 2004, 2007 and 2010 have proven that people with excess of calcium in their blood have a higher risk of heart attacks.
Knowing this, we might have to reconsider assuming extra calcium besides what we receive from our food.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) stated that:
“People who get the recommended amount of calcium from foods do not need to take a calcium supplement. These individuals still may need to take a vitamin D supplement. Getting too much calcium from supplements may increase the risk of kidney stones and other health problems.”
Professor Sabine Rohrmann’s group from the Zurich University, while talking about the same argument, declared:
“Calcium supplements have been widely embraced by doctors and the public, on the grounds that they are a natural and therefore safe way of preventing osteoporotic fractures. It is now becoming clear that taking this micronutrient in one or two daily [doses] is not natural, in that it does not reproduce the same metabolic effects as calcium in food,”
But Calcium supplements are not that healthy. They contain calcium carbonate, which is different from plain calcium.
Our body can’t absorb it, so companies have to add a second ingredient, to allow us to assimilate it. And so, the final product’s quality is lower than food-absorbed calcium.
Also, milk and other pasteurized dairy foods are not healthy for our body or our bones. The purification process produces calcium carbonate, which cannot be absorbed by our cells directly.
Our body then tries to compensate this by taking calcium from our bones, which leads to Osteoporosis.
Magnesium for Stronger Bones
The news comes from Professor Steven Abrams and his group at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
They discovered that, in fact, magnesium and not calcium is strictly connected with the aggregation of bone mineral substances and with bone thickness.
Professor Abrams stated that:
“Lots of nutrients are key for children to have healthy bones. One of these appears to be magnesium. Calcium is important, but, except for those children and adolescents with very low intakes, may not be more important than magnesium.”
They have noticed that parents assured their kids a big enough assumption of calcium, while they would almost completely ignore the magnesium. And also that doctors generally tend not to inform them about how essential it is.
We now know that magnesium is related to higher bone mineral thickness(BMD) in both men and women. An increase of about 2% in the body BMD has been discovered with an increment of about 100 mg of magnesium every day.
Even more, higher BMD levels could have a huge impact on adults, in both osteoporotic fractures and in the general well being of our bones.
Researchers have not given magnesium the importance it deserves. Until now.
The Change We Need
We now know that both calcium and magnesium are essential for our bones. But what is the optimal assumption proportion?
In our history, we assumed calcium and magnesium with a 1:1 proportion, which doctors consider ideal, while they consider acceptable a 2:1 rate. But how much are we absorbing nowadays?
Most of our diets nowadays include calcium in quantities that are 10 times bigger than the magnesium we assume.
We can include magnesium in our diets in many ways, without difficulties.
An option is buying complements. You can use magnesium oxide, chloride or the chelated one, and they usually come in 250-500 mg containers.
You can also find complements containing both calcium and magnesium. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) recommends an amount of 350-400 mg of magnesium each day.
Furthermore, you can assume magnesium directly through the skin. You can add Epsom salts to your baths, making your body absorb the necessary magnesium quantities.
But as everything, the best and healthiest way to regulate our body is naturally. Food will always remain the best way to assume all the elements we need. Green leafy vegetables, together with cacao, seeds and most sorts of dry fruits are the biggest sources of magnesium.