Why Calcium Supplements Don’t Work

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Why calcium food supplements won’t work

Calcium is essential for having strong bones. But it’s a different story with a calcium supplement. Research has repeatedly shown that taking it alone or too much of it does not strengthen bones or prevent osteoporosis or osteopenia. It may be harmful. [NBC]

Unwanted calcium deposit ends up in soft tissues

Too much calcium supplement can lead to calcific tendonitis. These calcium deposits end up in soft tissues, not the bones.

It may occur due to muscle injury, inflammation, and metabolic disorders. The deposits are called calcifications and can be found in various body parts, including tendons and ligaments, usually in the shoulder or hip, that can cause pain and limit movement.

However, according to the Cleveland Clinic, a diet high in calcium does not cause calcification.

Vitamin K2 helps direct the calcium to the bones where needed. Hence, overdosing on calcium food supplements is not a good idea.

It does not work for fracture or osteoporotic prevention

  • There is evidence that calcium acts as a weak antiresorptive. Despite this, recent meta-analyses suggest no benefit from calcium supplements in fracture prevention, not even 50%.
  • On the contrary, there is evidence of the adverse effects of calcium supplementation on hip fracture risk.
  • In sum, there is little substantive evidence of bone health benefits from the use of calcium supplements. [NCBI]
  • Analysis indicates that increasing calcium intake has only a modest effect on bone density in older. [BMJ]
Random effects models of the effect of calcium supplements on risk of total fracture. To make it work, calcium needs Vitamin K2 and protein supplements such as Laminine with FGF2 that triggers bone repair. [Data figure from BMJ]

Getting the calcium to go where it needs to is complicated

Calcium supplements may just end up in the stomach and the intestines. What we want is for it to go into the bloodstream and to where it is needed. However, studies show it can end up in unwanted places, as mentioned earlier.

If we do not have adequate levels of Vitamin D, the calcium does not find its way into the bloodstream.

The role of Vitamin K2 and Vitamin D

The body needs adequate amounts of Vitamin K2 and natural Vitamin D in order for the calcium to reach where it’s needed and not on unwanted parts of the Body.

Calcium food supplements do not help to strengthen bones when they’re used on their own, according to Dr. James Munro.

Vitamin K helps protect the collagen in the Body

Adequate Vitamin K helps maintain and protect collagen in the body. With healthy collagen production, the skin appears more plump, smooth, and youthful.

Vitamin K is also known for its importance in the coagulation cascade. It takes part in the carboxylation of many bone-related proteins, regulating genetic transcription of osteoblastic markers and regulating bone reabsorption. [NCBI]

Vitamin K2 is produced by bacteria in the gut and is also found in fermented foods like Nattō.

The need for collagen for it to work

Collagen is critical in binding calcium to the bones. If the body does not produce enough collagen, calcium has no place to bind and will go to unwanted parts of the body.

Therefore, one key ingredient in healthier and stronger bones is increasing collagen production. Randomized studies show specific collagen peptides improve bone mineral density. [NCBI] 

Collagen makes up a significant amount of bone structure and helps keep the bones strong. As we age, it is necessary to keep the bones strong and supported with collagen. [Med News]

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