A bone to pick with calcium supplement manufacturers
Updated: Jun 21, 2021
As seen in Vitalitie Quebec Magazine
As seen in Vitality Magazine
Original post: February 23, 2011
The Osteoclast - Osteoblast Axis
Bone health has been a subject of contention and a target of the health products industry since the inception of the industry. We’ve come a long way since calcium from limestone was the recommended bone support. However, still to this day, too many so-called bone support supplements are simply useless and current research is indicating that many even present cardiovascular health risk if misused.
Research today is confirming over and over again that calcium supplementation is far from the remedy for the epidemic proportions of osteoporosis. In fact, the typical North American diet is not necessarily deficient in calcium but rather prolific with factors that extract calcium from our bones like unnatural levels of sodium, processed high glycemic index foods and even stress . We’re setting up a biological system that simply cannot hold onto calcium.
So while we build a typical North American body that has an aversion to calcium storage, the added calcium we may supplement to give us peace of mind, simply adds more strain. We’ve employed logical strategies that include synergistic proportions of magnesium with calcium to support bone mineralization; improved zinc intake; and added vitamin D to improve calcium uptake and proper use in the body. But it’s not working! Osteoporosis is more prevalent today than ever with the baby boomers ripening to osteoporotic life stages.
The solution is bone chilling!
The solution really is in chilling the bones and protecting them from the inflammatory heat that the North American lifestyle is escalating within us all. Our toxic environments and lifestyles literally cause the body to produce inflammatory hormones at levels that interfere with natural life-preserving processes. And the loss of bone mass is only one of many degenerative processes that advance with this pro-inflammatory activity. In fact, these inflammatory signals cause us to age prematurely.
This inflammatory lifestyle thwarts the balanced activity of highly specialized cells that are responsible for managing calcium in the body – the osteoclast and the osteoblast. Osteoclasts are specialized cells that adhere to bone and extract calcium from bone shuttling it into the body where it might be needed for important metabolic tasks. While the bustling osteoblast has an opposing role, picking up free calcium and incorporating into bone matrix to build bone.
The state of your bone mass is a function of these two opposing activities and no matter how much calcium, magnesium and vitamin D you consume, bone mass will be limited to the balance created by these two worker cell s. A body that tends to be pro-inflammatory and leans towards acidic tendencies cannot hold onto its calcium stores. Calcium is stored in the bone mass, and although our bones serve as integral support structures, our cells depend on calcium for electrical, communication, hormone signalling and other processes that have higher priority over the bone mass. Shortages in peripherally needed calcium will result in extraction from bone.
Calcium extraction is accomplished by activation of those osteoclasts. Our lifestyles contribute to calcium extraction from bone in multiple ways. A diet high in sodium pushes the body into the acidic pH range and forces the extraction of calcium from bone as a way to help buffer the change in pH. Diets that include an abundance of vegetation and fruit and are lower in processed or preserved foods tend to deliver higher potassium loads and are lower in sodium than processed diets. This fresh, whole food diet creates a calcium sparing effect for bone mass.
The pro-inflammatory state of the body which advances with chronic disease, age and poor lifestyle can be measured through C-reactive protein status. And with higher C-reactive protein measurements, higher osteoclast activity can be expected. Research shows that the pro-inflammatory state increases osteoclast activity and inhibits osteoblast activity to throw the body into a compounding calcium extraction mode. Not only is calcium being extracted in this state, but the important bone-building role of the osteoblast is also blocked.
This dangerously exposes the entire body to high free calcium levels. In this state any amount of calcium that is supplemented simply adds to the risk of blood clots, arterial plaques and serious cardiovascular disease. After age forty this inflammatory down turn, sets in motion an ever escalating risk for multiple diseases unless an action plan is formulated with a functional strategy.
The way to improve calcium status of bone, where more than 99% of the body’s calcium should reside, is by improving osteoblast (bone forming) activity over osteoclast (resorption) efficiency despite age. The level of underlying subclinical inflammation tends to rise with age adding to any lifestyle-related factors. If this osteoclast-osteblast balance is re-established, not only is bone health improved, the related cardiovascular risks are also reduced.
Changing the Calcium Tide.
Boron has made a strong comeback with regards to bone health and rightfully so. Current research is demonstrating that boron’s effectiveness is in the inhibition of osteoclast activity. In other words as the aging body escalates its degrading inflammatoryhormones, boron protects the osteoclast from the inflammatory signals to inhibit osteoclast stimulation. This helps preserve bone.
Research also shows a sharp decline in cardiovascular risk with boron supplementation; a result directly related to the improved calcium management. But boron isn’t enough to get the bone mass restored. It simply helps preserve what you’ve got.
Strontium supports healthy bone mass too. Strontium delivers a dual action in the opposite direction of the typical North American lifestyle influences. Research shows that strontium literally initiates an anabolic phase with regards to bone formation by activating the bone forming osteoblast and inhibiting the bone resorbing osteoclast.
This helps improve bone density.
In this boron and strontium guided environment, calcium supplementation can be used by the body to rebuild bone and the cardiovascular risks associated with circulating free calcium is much lower. Without these crucial prompts calcium supplementation is futile and even disease-forming.
Nature has a way of providing complex nutritional needs in a simple form.
Ironically, as our advanced technologies open up new windows into the biology of our amazing cells, we find more evidence to validate the natural balance built into whole food. Eggshell calcium supplies more than just calcium. Research is showing us that the precious calcium in the discarded eggshell is accompanied by many important bone minerals that must be present with calcium in order for bone to be mineralized – this includes magnesium, boron and strontium.
Eggshell supplies a sort of naturally ‘activated’ calcium for bones that helps counter the bone-degrading influences of our NorthAmerican lifestyles and the pro-inflammatory tendency that escalates with advancing life stage. Not only does eggshell calcium help preserve and improve bone health, it doesn’t pose the same cardiovascular risk associated with typical calcium sources.