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The Calcium Myth

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The Calcium Myth

By Michael Castleman, Natural Solutions

We’ve been told all our lives to drink milk for strong bones. Many of us even feel guilty when we don’t get the recommended three servings of dairy each day. In fact, we’ve been led to believe that we have a “calcium crisis” in the United States because so many of us don’t get enough dairy. The proposed solution? Drink more milk, eat more yogurt and cheese, and take calcium supplements.

So why are we convinced that milk, dairy foods, and calcium supplements prevent the fractures osteoporosis can cause? Because teachers, doctors, and advertisers have told us we need calcium–and lots of it–to keep our bones strong as we age. Because every major US health agency endorses daily consumption of milk and dairy: the Surgeon General, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

But consider this: The most industrially advanced countries–the US, Australia, New Zealand, and most Western European nations have the highest fracture rates–yet consume more dairy than anywhere else in the world. Meanwhile, the people in much of Asia and Africa consume little or no milk (after weaning), few dairy foods, and next to no calcium supplements, and their fracture rates are 50 to 70 percent lower than ours. What’s going on?

The latest research shows that our bones need more than just calcium. It turns out the way we eat–along with our lifestyle choices and stress levels–can actually contribute to bone depletion, no matter how many calcium supplements we take or glasses of milk we drink. Amy Lanou, PhD, an assistant professor of health and wellness at the University of North Carolina Asheville, and I came to this realization after reviewing 1,200 studies on the dietary risk factors for osteoporosis. Our rather radical conclusion: The calcium theory is bankrupt. The better solution? Eating a low-acid diet, which strengthens bones much more effectively and, as a growing number of bone-health researchers agree, holds the key to preventing osteoporosis.

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Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Food, General Health, Health, Osteoporosis, , , ,

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Mel, selected from Natural Solutions magazine

Natural Solutions: Vibrant Health, Balanced Living offers its readers the latest news on health conditions, herbs and supplements, natural beauty products, healing foods and conscious living.


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8:35AM PST on Nov 23, 2011

Scary. I don't know how to eat anymore.

2:49AM PDT on Jul 8, 2011

Great article. Thank you.

12:09AM PDT on Jul 31, 2010

Thank you for this article, Mel. How do I "Note" this?

6:21PM PDT on Jul 30, 2010

cutting out fluoride from your life (e.g if you can at least throw out the toothpaste with fluoride and mouthwash with fluoride) can help bone health too

Fluoride is linked to osteosarcoma and effects bones in all the body. (plus fluoride lowers IQ too) has a free video on health


2:06PM PDT on Jul 30, 2010

Being lactose intolerant I've always been concerned about calcium. This is good news indeed. Thanks for the reference.

8:18AM PDT on Jul 30, 2010

I grew up in New York and remember drinking milk all the time even when I was thirsty. I loved it. Had a one a day vitamin. When I was 12 yrs old (50yrs ago)I came back to Greece with my mom and brother. Milk was very rare here. The only kind they had back then was evaporated milk which tastes yuck (at least to me). Although we didn't drink milk on a daily basis we got our nutritions through fresh fruits and veggies, always in season, red meat once a week only, fresh fish, salads with our meals and only once or at the very most twice a week a dessert.
Thats excactly how I raised my kids. There was a time McDonalds was new here and my kids went nuts over having a Big Mac (everything frozen flown in from the states).I'm glad they got over it very quickly. The bottom line is: When we eat fresh and in season and avoid additives & preserves we don't need vitamines, supplements or any of those modern medications doctors and advertasments tell us we need, we can stay healthy.

7:16AM PDT on Jul 30, 2010


7:39PM PST on Dec 13, 2009

:D i'm going to show this to my mom so she'll finally get off my case with the whole "you'll die if you don't drink milk!" thing.

4:09PM PDT on Oct 5, 2009

Lisa B.
Sorry,here is the source:

Thewre are many ways of losing calcium-breathing is one of many.

If you read my previous answers, I referred to balance-milk is not a preferred source for calcium that it has been made out to be-please, read my answers on this same article. Our bodies are not made to process even human milk as adults, much less another animals with different composition, nutritive, and immuno values.v

3:49PM PDT on Oct 5, 2009

I am sorry Clyde but I am confused. You have said that a can of soda causes the body to withdraw 20mg of bone calcium. The opinion piece didn't say that. The links you gave didn't say that either. So where is your source?

And now you are agreeing that your body balances blood pH by breathing? So the reason for not drinking milk is because there are better sources of calcium? Is that what you are saying?

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