Why you should be careful with calcium supplements
Have you ever read that women especially need to take calcium because we lose bone density as we age?
We all grew up with those ads – “Milk, it does a body good” and that it’d help us have strong bones.
While it’s true that calcium is important because it’s primarily a structural element, and it belongs in the bone and teeth. In fact, 99% of it should be in the bones and teeth, but that’s not always the case.
There’s been a lot of misinformation shared with us about calcium – by the media and by our doctors.
Taking calcium solely by itself without taking the minerals and vitamins that help get it out of the tissues and into the bone can lead to a whole lot of problems. In fact, when the body is also lacking the minerals that help keep it in the bone, like, potassium, magnesium, and boron, then it will start getting pulled from the bone and it will start building up in the joints, muscles, organs, and the brain. Now, I am not against calcium supplementation entirely – some people need it – but we do have to be careful with it and it’s definitely not for everyone.
You know when you see a water faucet that has hard water coming out of it and that hard white stuff is built up? That is what’s happening in the body. Calcium literally builds up around the cell and blocks certain functions in the body.
When I run labs on clients, one of the things I run into 8 or 9 times out of 10 is WAY too much calcium in the tissues, which means it is NOT getting into the bones. So someone might be taking calcium supplements through either their multivitamin or other vitamins, plus eat foods fortified with it (because, you know, that’s what we’ve all been told to do)…and that calcium is doing little for our bones and potentially hurting us. And the clients who have excess calcium in their tissues tend to have a very common list of symptoms, such as:
Yep, you even see osteoporosis on there – because, again, the calcium isn’t getting into the bones.
When I run a hair test on a client, it is looking at what’s going on in the tissues, so we end up getting answers about why you are feeling the way you are pretty quickly. Below is a screenshot from a sample test. You’ll see that calcium (the first bar) is at a 206 – and we want it to be at a 63. That tells me that calcium is really building up and we need to step in and work to reduce that down and get it where it belongs.
I’ve seen calcium as high as over 400 before.
When we have this high amount of calcium in the body, we call it a “calcium shell”.
Now, you might be wondering what causes this? Here are a few reasons:
>> Copper Toxicity: This is something that is pretty problematic, especially for women due to long-term birth control use. In short, copper lowers potassium, and raises calcium and drives it into the soft tissue.
>> Iodine Deficiency: A primary role of iodine is to decalcify, or break up calcium. So if you have iodine deficiency, then you’re way more likely to accumulate calcium.
>> Emotional Trauma or Chronic Stress: If someone has gone through an event in their life and they haven’t fully dealt with it, the calcium shell will literally build up to protect them from experiencing their emotions and prevent the stress response from getting inside the cell.
>> Excess Calcium Supplementation: We’ve been told our whole lives that calcium is important for strong bones. While that’s true, if someone is supplementing with a lot of calcium and they don’t have the proper minerals and vitamins to shuttle it into the bone, then calcium is going to build up in the tissues and cells.
>> Hard Drinking Water: If there’s a lot of calcium in the rock in your area, that can cause calcium to build up.
>> Hypothyroidism & Hashimoto’s: These are also going to be involved in a calcium shell, and that’s generally due to the correlation or connection between thyroid issues and iodine deficiency.
So, you might be wondering, “Okay, great – now that I know this and suspect I have excess calcium, what should I do about it?”
Here are a few things that you can do to support your body:
REDUCE CONSUMPTION OF FOODS RICH IN CALCIUM⠀
Several foods are naturally rich in calcium. Plus many foods are fortified with it. Some foods to consider reducing include: cow and goat milk, nut milks, grapefruit juice, cow and goat cheeses, collard greens, and foods like bread that are fortified with it.
⠀AVOID VITAMIN D SUPPLEMENTATION ⠀
Vitamin D supplementation can actually RAISE calcium levels and it can slow the metabolism down. If you deal with high levels of calcium, then you likely also have a slower metabolism…so taking vitamin D could perpetuate the problem. If you already know you have low vitamin D, that tells me that you likely have a number of other mineral imbalances because several other things are depleted before vitamin D.⠀
FOCUS ON FOODS HIGH IN POTASSIUM & MAGNESIUM⠀
Potassium and magnesium are lost before calcium goes high. So getting more of these foods into your diet can be super helpful. ⠀
- Potassium-rich foods: celery juice, coconut water, beet greens, avocados, tomatoes
- Magnesium-rich foods: spinach, avocados, hemp seeds, almonds, cashews, bananas
TEST, DON’T GUESS….⠀
Honestly, getting tested is the only way to get clear answers about what’s going on and to give you a clear path of how to heal. If your calcium levels are high, then there’s a very good chance you have other imbalances going on. Plus, working with a practitioner who is trained in this can give you a list of things of specific minerals and vitamins that your body is in desperate need of rather than just trying a bunch of random things and hoping that they work.
The best test for looking at calcium tissue levels is the HTMA, which is a hair tissue mineral analysis test.⠀
When getting tested, you want to make sure… ⠀
- You use the right test⠀
- You work with someone that can read it, who will put together a custom plan based on your results AND symptoms, and someone who will educate you on exactly what the test results mean⠀
The test cannot be read at face value. This test is our jam, so if you are interested in learning how you could benefit from this test, reach out. We’d be happy to help you figure out if this test would make sense for you.