6

votes

What's the deal with calcium?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created January 15, 2011 at 12:50 AM

I am constantly getting only 45% of daily calcium needs, according to CW RDA's, and that's only when I consume sardines. I could eat as much vegetables as I want, but I can't seem to reach the 50% percent margin at least. Am I looking at a serious deficiency if I don't get calcium?

I know many paleo sites claim that the RDA is to high, but what is the paleo RDA? 200mg?500mg?

I am beginning to wonder whether my calcium levels are off because whenever I supplement 5000IU of Vitamin D's, my bones begin to ache. Coincidence? What does happen if we consume to much Vitamin D, but not enough calcium?

E117e22673120656e7349825c46127ee

(105)

on December 30, 2011
at 10:27 AM

Dave, check mem's answer here : http://paleohacks.com/questions/72844/how-to-get-enough-calcium#axzz1i0oU0v3p

07154e6d8e42065f230d06249700fe5b

(2057)

on October 06, 2011
at 12:41 PM

Like I said, I can't source grass fed, I would rather add fat from pastured animals.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5147)

on October 06, 2011
at 05:29 AM

I would look into Vit K-2 and D supplementation and forego calcium. The reasoning is supplied here in a very clear-cut manner. http://www.lewrockwell.com/sardi/sardi175.html

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5147)

on October 06, 2011
at 03:17 AM

Dr. Rosedale is in the loop about the dangers of calcium supplements. At least on this aspect, both Rosedale and the Jaminets agree. Calcium supplements can be dangerous. They go into the arteries and stiffen up the endothelium. Calcium supplementation is associated increased risk of CVD. Supplementation does not exactly work like we want them to: these are isolated nutrients we're taking in very large doses.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5147)

on October 06, 2011
at 02:57 AM

What's the purpose of a gravy fat separator? Are you skimming away the congealed fat from the bone broth? I thought that was the good part?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 05, 2011
at 09:55 AM

Vitamin D changes new intestinal cells to absorb more calcium from the diet and it also reduces kidney trashing.

Ceda025d1f349bc43be115a5f9199fb1

(501)

on January 30, 2011
at 08:47 PM

@qualia - I think you have me there. On seeing your response I did a quick PubMed and it looks like you are correct. It is still common for physicians to give advice like I linked to above, but it seems incorrect according to recent epidemiological data. Although, to address your other point I think the best sort of evidence you are going to find in epidemiology is correlation.

5f0158c23fcb5636e57b4ce097784da0

(1386)

on January 30, 2011
at 01:17 PM

erm.. did you actually read the article? "there is little relationship between dietary calcium and calcium in the blood". do we wanna make the same mistake like with dietary cholesterol all over again? ever heard of correlation vs. causation? as he said: "We would need to understand the role of the parathyroid hormone and vitamin D. There are many, many unanswered questions."

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

(10778)

on January 16, 2011
at 04:04 PM

I've got bone broth on my brain today, thanks for the point about the pressure cooker!

7df8f3cc7f1475c3ecbbd4a4feb87d04

(514)

on January 15, 2011
at 03:11 PM

Inulin might help with absorption: http://jn.nutrition.org/content/137/11/2513S.abstract Sources include artichokes, onions, and garlic.

0adda19045a3641edac0008364b91110

(1146)

on January 15, 2011
at 02:25 AM

Oh wow...I love dill, I never realized it had so much calcium. Question is how absorbable is it??

0adda19045a3641edac0008364b91110

(1146)

on January 15, 2011
at 01:37 AM

I have a hard time getting to 1000mg of calcium a day, especially without dairy. Isn't that recommendation a little high to what many other paleo sources recommend?

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12 Answers

6
00617208f2e481c293a2f8ad4d097911

(295)

on January 16, 2011
at 12:33 AM

The importance of calcium is over emphasized in bone health at the expense of other important nutrients such as magnesium and vitamin D. This is partly due the SAD's (Standard American Diet) effect on calcium absorption (eating grains decreases your calcium absorption - obviously it's not this straight forward but it's the basic idea). Also, Magnesium which is often completely discarded plays an important role in calcium absorption too.

So in other words, you shouldn't worry too much about your calcium intake and since you're following a paleo diet your magnesium intake should be pretty good too. You might also want to try measuring your intake to be on the safe side.

http://www.thepaleodiet.com/faqs/#Calcium http://www.marksdailyapple.com/calcium-for-women/

E117e22673120656e7349825c46127ee

(105)

on December 30, 2011
at 10:27 AM

Dave, check mem's answer here : http://paleohacks.com/questions/72844/how-to-get-enough-calcium#axzz1i0oU0v3p

6
07154e6d8e42065f230d06249700fe5b

(2057)

on January 15, 2011
at 08:24 PM

I just gave in and started making bone broth. I've no idea how much is in there, but I'm hoping it covers for the fact that I don't want to stuff a pound of leaves in my gob everyday and still make out short.

Bones are cheap, and if you get a pressure cooker ($40 for 6qt stainless steel) you can have a big batch in an hour or so. Little salt, lemon, herbs... And it's good enough for a meal. Personally I opted for a gravy fat separator since I can't source grass fed bones. I'll have a bowl for breakfast and lunch on IF days and it keeps the nags away ("you're not eating AGAIN? I never see you eat...")

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

(10778)

on January 16, 2011
at 04:04 PM

I've got bone broth on my brain today, thanks for the point about the pressure cooker!

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5147)

on October 06, 2011
at 02:57 AM

What's the purpose of a gravy fat separator? Are you skimming away the congealed fat from the bone broth? I thought that was the good part?

07154e6d8e42065f230d06249700fe5b

(2057)

on October 06, 2011
at 12:41 PM

Like I said, I can't source grass fed, I would rather add fat from pastured animals.

3
C0cf19329f850011e66d1ccfa7d10896

(268)

on September 07, 2013
at 12:44 AM

I read a lot on calcium from Dr Rosedale.. summary of what he says.. You take a bunch of calcium. The medical profession just assumes that it has a homing device and it knows to go into your bone. What happens if you have high levels of insulin and you take a bunch of calcium? Number one, most of it is just going to go out in your urine. You would be lucky if that were the case because that part that doesn???t does not have the instructions to go to your bone because the anabolic hormones aren???t working. This is first of all because of insulin, then because of the IGFs from growth hormone, also testosterone and progesterone. They are all controlled by insulin and when they are insulin resistant they can???t listen to any of the anabolic hormones. Your body doesn???t know how to build tissue anymore so while some of the calcium may end up in your bone, a good deal of it will end up everywhere else--leading to metastatic calcifications, including in your arteries...

as you can gather, a lot directly from the Drrosedale site but thought it important to share.

3
06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on January 15, 2011
at 01:32 AM

Regarding Calcium, take a look at http://www.wisegeek.com/which-foods-are-good-sources-of-calcium.htm About 1000mg is an average of what people need.

There are lots of food sources to get adequate calcium And you need Vit D to help store the calcium in the bones. Can't say why you ache with 5000IU Vit D, but try half that amount for a while. Perhaps you are very deficient in Vit D and when you supplement, it may grab the calcium and want to jam it into your bones.

But 20 min in sun on front and back is about 10,000IU for the body...so I don't think it is the 5000IU.

Also roam around the Vit D Council website: http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/

Calcium and magnesium together are needed for good uptake of both.

Experiment on yourself.

0adda19045a3641edac0008364b91110

(1146)

on January 15, 2011
at 01:37 AM

I have a hard time getting to 1000mg of calcium a day, especially without dairy. Isn't that recommendation a little high to what many other paleo sources recommend?

2
C0cf19329f850011e66d1ccfa7d10896

(268)

on October 05, 2011
at 08:58 AM

great interview with shelley and rosedale about calcium.. on national radio.

Dr. Rosedale and the Rosedale Health Plan full interview at http://www.meandmydiabetes.com/2011/06/25/ron-rosedale-healthy-bones/

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5147)

on October 06, 2011
at 03:17 AM

Dr. Rosedale is in the loop about the dangers of calcium supplements. At least on this aspect, both Rosedale and the Jaminets agree. Calcium supplements can be dangerous. They go into the arteries and stiffen up the endothelium. Calcium supplementation is associated increased risk of CVD. Supplementation does not exactly work like we want them to: these are isolated nutrients we're taking in very large doses.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5147)

on October 06, 2011
at 05:29 AM

I would look into Vit K-2 and D supplementation and forego calcium. The reasoning is supplied here in a very clear-cut manner. http://www.lewrockwell.com/sardi/sardi175.html

2
5f0158c23fcb5636e57b4ce097784da0

(1386)

on January 30, 2011
at 09:01 AM

funny, i was just asking this myself recently as i had observed an interesting effect: a few days ago, after breakfast, one of my digestive enzymes pills somehow got stuck in my gullet, and threatened to burn a hole in it (well, not really, but you know what i mean..). so i took 2x 500mg Tumbs (calcium carbonate) tablets to neutralize the beatine HCL, and all of a sudden i had this unexpected burst of alertness and energy, lasting pretty much the whole day..

what happened? as we know, calcium basically acts as an excitatory agent in the brain, antagonistic to magnesium, which calms down the nerves. so, pretty much everyone is supplementing with magnesium these days, but could it be that this actually creates a magnesium dominance in the body, if not enough dietary Ca is consumed at the same time?

the previous "common sense" recommendation for Mg/Ca supplementation was 1:2 if you don't eat dairy, and 1:1 if you do get additional Ca from dairy. now, the recommended daily calcium intake has just recently been lowered a bit by the notorious IOM (i believe from 1'200mg to 800mg for an adult or so), so i'd say it would be safe to say that one should follow a 1:1 route, and supplement at least as much Ca in the morning, as one does Mg in the evening (say, 300mg/300mg). can you supplement with too much Ca? definitely. i wouldn't supplement over 1g/day - even tho the upper safe limit is around 2.5g or so i believe.

so, what i would do is, take some 300-500mg Ca with breakfast, ans see if it improves anything (mental, physical, bones). with regards to your bone pain, this could have many different reasons i guess. lack of Mg, Ca, K1/K2, Zinc, Boron, etc. it could also be that you're one of the D hypersensitive - which react much more sensitive to the usual dosages, and need much less. or maybe you're vitamin A (retinol) deficient - A is the most important counter-player with regard to avoiding vitamin D toxicity (you could try 1000-3000IU of retinol/day). however, you def. need a vitamin D test to assess the blood level you get from the 5kIU/day. could be you need to lower it to just 1000-2000IU to reach the desired target level of around 50ng for max bone density. too much vitamin D can have the opposite effect, and increase the release of calcium from bones.

1
427c8cbb9c2492d74b887fc5cf7a8ce0

on April 25, 2011
at 01:05 AM

I know I'm currently low in calcium and I stopped taking my fermented cod liver oil b/c I read that even though vit D is needed to fix calcium if you don't have enough calcium in your body to start with, the vit D is gonna pull out what it needs out of your teeth & bones! I think that's why you're aching, not enough calcium.

1
Ceda025d1f349bc43be115a5f9199fb1

(501)

on January 30, 2011
at 12:48 PM

For the men,

There is good evidence that men whose diets include a lot of calcium or those who take calcium supplements are at increased risk for prostate cancer.

I don't supplement for that reason. Agree with the above comments about including calcium rich bone broths and greens.

Editing this to add, that there is some recent prospective evidence to support this claim from the large, multi-center European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) trial. Like all epidemiology it can only suggest correlation and not prove causation. And, as Qualia rightly points out below, that can be a slippery slope. Still, I think a conservative suggestion might be that calcium supplementation is of little proven benefit for men, and possibly harmful.

5f0158c23fcb5636e57b4ce097784da0

(1386)

on January 30, 2011
at 01:17 PM

erm.. did you actually read the article? "there is little relationship between dietary calcium and calcium in the blood". do we wanna make the same mistake like with dietary cholesterol all over again? ever heard of correlation vs. causation? as he said: "We would need to understand the role of the parathyroid hormone and vitamin D. There are many, many unanswered questions."

Ceda025d1f349bc43be115a5f9199fb1

(501)

on January 30, 2011
at 08:47 PM

@qualia - I think you have me there. On seeing your response I did a quick PubMed and it looks like you are correct. It is still common for physicians to give advice like I linked to above, but it seems incorrect according to recent epidemiological data. Although, to address your other point I think the best sort of evidence you are going to find in epidemiology is correlation.

1
Eb2d0a3a9b3d909d62b479a0af24d431

(155)

on January 16, 2011
at 04:55 AM

I eat almonds and brone broth regularly for natural sources of calcium. I also supplement with a Calcium/Magnesium supplement each day along with K2 and D3 2-3 times a week. I usually get around 250mg-500mg of calcium through supplements. I do agree that for a paleo-eater, the RDI is probably too high but I dont think anyone can say to what extent. That is why I think its a good idea to still maintain a calcium intake at about 750mg-1000mg, I dont see any harm in doing this even if supplements are strict paleo.

Another thing that I dont see mentioned is to make sure your potassium intake is high, that has been shown to help prevent osteoporosis too. I bought some Potassium Gluconate powder to take when my diet is lacking.

0
Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7314)

on January 30, 2011
at 01:16 AM

I wonder if it would've been found in water. I drink mineral water sometimes, and on the label it says it has 8 percent calcium per whatever the serving size is. I easily drink 4 servings of that a day, so its at least 32 percent. I was also reading about one long lived culture and their water was very hard, with high levels of calcium.

0
1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on January 16, 2011
at 07:09 PM

0
7df8f3cc7f1475c3ecbbd4a4feb87d04

(514)

on January 15, 2011
at 02:18 AM

Regarding veggies, dill weed is a good source of calcium (about 25% RDA for 5 Tbsp, I believe) and tastes great if you can get it fresh, but dried should work too. Sometimes I just munch on it.

0adda19045a3641edac0008364b91110

(1146)

on January 15, 2011
at 02:25 AM

Oh wow...I love dill, I never realized it had so much calcium. Question is how absorbable is it??

7df8f3cc7f1475c3ecbbd4a4feb87d04

(514)

on January 15, 2011
at 03:11 PM

Inulin might help with absorption: http://jn.nutrition.org/content/137/11/2513S.abstract Sources include artichokes, onions, and garlic.

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