You may have heard the report Good Morning America or Fox News.
The British Medical Journal (BMJ) announced the results of a major study that made headline news. The headline was “Dietary calcium intake is not associated with risk of fracture, and there is no clinical trial evidence that increasing calcium intake from dietary sources prevents fractures.”
Calcium supplementation is a multi-billion dollar industry. Whether or not calcium helps prevent bone fractures and the onset and progression of osteoporosis is a hotly debated topic.
So today I want to defend calcium, and also tell you about new research that could help you build better bones.
3 calcium facts you should know
First the facts:
Calcium Fact #1:
Ninety-nine percent of calcium in our body is found in our bones and teeth.
Calcium Fact #2:
One percent of calcium is involved in blood vessel and muscle contractions and relaxation, electrolyte function, and other metabolic functions.
When we don’t have enough calcium, we may experience
- muscle cramps,
- and bone deterioration.
Calcium Fact #3:
Women are at high risk for osteopenia (early stages of osteoporosis) and osteoporosis because of our small frame, post-menopausal declines in estrogen and progesterone, and less muscle mass. It’s estimated that half of women over the age of 50 experience an osteoporosis related bone fracture in their lifetime. As for calcium, I don’t love supplementation, so I recommend you eat a calcium-rich diet.
How probiotics can improve your bone strength
Now let’s talk about the research published in BMJ.
Your intestinal health plays a very large role in your bone health. We already know that if we don’t have adequate stomach acid (like, when we take proton pump inhibitors or Tums,) that calcium suddenly fails to get absorbed well.
In other words, calcium absorption requires some acid. Acid blockers are “drug muggers” of calcium and other minerals.
There’s actually a gut flora-bone signaling ‘pathway’ and in animal studies, researchers proved that beneficial probiotic strains—Lactobacillus reuteri and Bifidobacterium longum–actually lessened the bone loss we see that comes with menopause.
Gut bacteria ‘talk’ to the bone bone cells whose task is to remodel bone tissue. These bacteria dictate the rate of remodeling. The more friendly flora you have, the faster your bone remodels.
That’s not all.
Your gut bugs may help reduce hip fractures & falls
Your microbiome and intestinal hormones improve the absorption of calcium and other nutrients you need for a healthy skeleton. It’s about absorbing your calcium, not just dumping a lot into yourself. You have to absorb it or it just goes through you.
What I take from this research that high-quality probiotics are the next frontier to reduce risk for hip fractures and falls. But I bet that sounds a but weird to you. After all, we don’t associate the gut with bones right? Most people thing of probiotics for constipation, so this is really new thinking.
I bet most of us take intestinal health for granted until reflux or food poisoning hits us!
The reality is routine ingestion of gluten, antibiotics, foods contaminated with glyphosate, GMO foods and medications increase our risk for osteoporosis by damaging the gut flora. I think that BMJ headline really did people a disservice because calcium is important for bones. Apparently, so are probiotics.
In addition to writing a syndicated column on health which reaches 20 million people each week, Suzy is the author of a number of books on natural health.
You may have seen Suzy on The Dr. OZ Show (6 different appearances), The View, The Doctors, Good Morning America Health and hundreds of morning shows. Quotes from Suzy, as well as her articles, have also appeared in major publications including Woman’s Day, Reader’s Digest, OK Magazine!, First for Women, Fitness, Natural Health and Better Homes & Garden and dozens more.
Read more from Suzy at suzyCohen.com
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