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Sunday, October 26, 2008

A question about Vitamin D and Calcium for bone strength

Last time you sent me a supply of Thompson's Vitamin D plus omega 3
fish oil, but I can't see that on your website. Is it lurking there?

I also have prescribed a daily 1250mg calcium carbonate tablet. I
also don't see that as a nice simple tablet on your site - and it
would probably be cheaper for me to ring my doctor for a repeatprescription ($12 plus prescription charge of about $3)."

I have replaced the Thompsons Vitamin D with Nutra-Life Vitamin D which you can purchase here.  This is a fish oil based vitamin D supplement that is more or less the same as Thompsons and similarly well priced.

You should take from 2-4 capsules per day on the days you do not get midday sun on your legs
 and torso.

Calcium Carbonate
My sales of calcium supplements have plunged to almost zero over the last year and I am happy with this.  There has been some concern that calcium supplementation may contribute to calcification of the arteries.  I have always wondered why there does not seem to be a direct relationship between calcium intake and bone strenght.

Of all the forms of calcium found in the body, these do not include chalk - calcium carbonate (CaCO3).  For this reason alone, I would not add any more calcium carbonate into the diet than what is found naturally in our foods. It makes much better sense to add the form of calcium that are found naturally in the healthy body's trillion or so cells.  Chelated minerals, like calcium gluconate, force their way into the cells which I now regard as an unwise "therapy".The Active Elements supplies these in physiological amounts that do not overwhelm the body.

My Advice
I now think that the better approach to improving bone strength is as follows:

  • Concentrate on getting all of the fat soluble vitamins into your daily diet - A, D, E & K1/K2
  • Ensure your diet is rich in all the essential fatty acids - the fat reduced diet is a sure guarantee of osteoporosis (Fat soluble vitamins need fat in the diet, btw).
  • Ensure there is a dribble of quality protein in each meal through the day.
  • Get plenty of sun on your body (but no sunburn).
  • Exercise daily with some upper body exercise included (Gardening is wonderful).
Foods that are rich in the nutrients I am referring to include: Brocolli and spinach cooked in butter or coconut oil (Vitamin K1), blue vein cheese (Vitamin K2), Raw full cream milk or silver top milk as second choice (all the nutrients), Flax oil and cottage cheese (Not the fat reduced cheese) give the fatty acids and proteins, wheat germ oil (Vitamin E), cod liver oil (Vitamin A and Omega 3 oils).  Free range eggs (real free range ones) are a good source of the fat soluble vitamins.

Active Elements
You only need to supply the minerals your body is needing right now and no more.  This usually includes calcium; but in the forms that it is found in the cells.  You can assess your mineral needs by completing the Active Elements Assessment here.  Other trace elements, like boron and selenium are found in the foods recomended and in the Nutra Life vitamin D.

Sure, you will find a prescription chalk supplement from the doctor cheaper (If you ignore the huge tax payer subsidies via Pharmac!).  But I ask you if the prescription form of calcium has actually shown any noticeable benefit to your health in the time you have been taking it?

I now have almost 250 people who have completed the Active Elements Assessment.  This is a

 service that has no tax payer subsidies.  It survives only on its merits of improving the health of the majority of participants.

How long do these natural therapies take to work?
Give this advice time, like a few years and then the rest of your life to show any improvement in
 bone strength.  Bear in mind as well that bone density as measured by Bone Mineral Density (BMD) Scans can be most misleading, since it is not necessarily bone mineral that is the principal determinant of bone strength - It is the vitality of the living bone tissue itself which is not measured.  These tests tend to unfairly penalise people of a slight build and older people.  More about this in another article!
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