Calcium Does a Body Good: Are you getting enough?
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This past Fall/Winter I was working towards a personal goal of running a marathon; I was making great progress until I suffered a show-stopping injury.
Something that plagues many athletes, namely runners, is an injury called a stress fracture. In layman’s terms, it’s a crack in the bone often caused by overuse; the muscles tire and the bones absorb the extra shock.
Though there is no direct correlation between calcium intake and stress fractures this experience did cause me to take a closer look at the subject of bone health, specifically my own.
CALCIUM: QUANTITY VS QUALITY
Doctors recommend 1,000mg – 1,200mg of calcium every day (for women) paired with 1000mg of Vitamin D to aide in calcium absorption, however it’s not quite as simple drinking four glasses of milk per day.
Vanessa Case, Registered Holistic Nutritionist at Our Natural Connection says that it is no longer an issue of how much calcium we are consuming but rather what our overall diet looks like and how well we absorb nutrients.
We know that in Asian countries osteoporosis is a rare condition and yet dairy product is very minimal in the Asian diet. Here in the Western world, we experience the opposite; our calcium intake is among the highest in the world as are bone fractures due to Osteoporosis. Does this make any sense? No? Then where does the answer lie? – Vanessa Case, RHN
A BALANCED DIET
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Case goes on to share that the Standard American Diet is full of acidic foods like refined carbohydrates, processed foods, animal protein, sugar, alcohol, and caffeine. When the majority of our diet tends to lean towards the acidic side of the scale, our bodies try to minimize the impact of an acidic diet by pulling alkalizing minerals (like calcium) from the bone in order to “buffer” or “neutralize” the body’s acid base balance (pH). Combine that with low quality calcium sources and poor digestion and you have a recipe for bone disaster.
She recommends a low acid, bone-building diet full of quality calcium rich foods including:
- Raw nuts and seeds like almonds, chia, walnuts, black sesame seeds
- Alkalizing fruits and vegetables like deep leafy greens (collard and mustard greens, kale, bok choy) broccoli
- Homemade bone broths
- Beans and legumes
A BALANCED LIFESTYLE
While Vanessa shares important information that assists in proper calcium nutrition, I will be the first to admit that when my life gets hectic (which is quite often) my eating habits are among the first to go. When this happens it’s hard to get the daily nutritional requirements.
On the other hand, even when eating a diet full of the items Vanessa mentioned but monitoring caloric intake for weight loss, I still find myself at a deficit when it comes to calcium. Based on her information, it may not matter as long as my body is doing a good job at absorbing what I take in but with my recent injury I don’t want to take a chance.
ARBONNE ESSENTIALS WOMEN’S CALCIUM PLUS
One of the first things I did after learning of my injury was to begin research on a good quality calcium supplement. As Vanessa says, “Stick to food as much as possible and bring in a quality calcium based supplement where needed, to do just that, supplement what you aren’t naturally getting from your food.”
She goes on to say that “…many calcium supplements are just that…calcium. Calcium needs its cofactors naturally found in combination in nature (sisters and brothers) to be metabolized, absorbed, and utilized by the body; Magnesium, vitamin D and zinc to name a few.”
Vanessa does not endorse one particular supplement however through my research I found that the Arbonne Essentials line offers a Women’s Calcium Plus supplement that combines calcium with its co-factors and this achieves what Vanessa recommends.
Each Arbonne Essentials Women’s Calcium Plus tablet contains:
- Calcium (calcium phosphate, dibasic, calcium citrate) – 200 mg
- Red Clover flower powder extract – 100 mg
- Phosphorus – 83.3 mg
- Magnesium – 33.3 mg
- Vitamin C – 20 mg
- Vitamin D – 4.2 mcg
The recommended daily dose is three tablets a day and each bottle comes with enough for a one month’s supply for $36.00. Because I am only slightly short on my calcium intake, I have been taking just one a day to help supplement what I’m already getting in my diet.
ARE YOU GETTING ENOUGH?
It’s hard to tell if you’re getting enough of the required calcium and the right kind, so my suggestion is to download a nutrition tracking app (like My Fitness Pal) and monitor it for a week. If you’re falling short like I was, I highly recommend a supplement like the Arbonne Women’s Calcium Plus.
What is your favourite calcium-rich food? How do you ensure you’re getting enough?