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Thursday, January 26, 2012

The inconvenient truth about calcium and osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is caused by a lack of calcium in the diet.

Of course that's right?  It must be because that's what the experts have been telling us for the last 30 years.  Or is it?

Name one country that has one of the highest rates of osteoporosis on the planet?
New Zealand

Physical labour, no sunscreen and a wonderful
wholefoods diet = Strong Samoan bones.
Name one country that has one of the highest dietary intakes of calcium?
New Zealand - the land of the cow. A land that is awash with calcium but not much else in the way of nutrient minerals.

If flour is the main ingredient in your cake recipe, will you get a better cake by adding more flour?
No - you will get a mess of a cake that nobody will eat.

If sand is the main ingredient of concrete, will adding more sand give you stronger concrete?
No - you will get a crumbling structure and probably be prosecuted.

My Samoan Brother-in-law, Ioasa, flexing his guns during
a break while cycling around Savaii and Upolo.
If calcium is the main ingredient of bone, will adding more calcium make for stronger bones?
No - you will get weaker bones and other problems such as fatigue, low thyroid, fibromyalgia, arthritis, insomnia, dry skin, heart attack, dementia and stroke - to name a few.

Which race, it is said, has the highest bone density on the planet?
The Polynesian - the Samoans and Tongans to be specific.

My favourite Samoan dish - Lu'au - taro leaves
soaked and baked in coconut oil - fatty acids galore!
Can you identify the calcium in the traditional Polynesian diet?
Hmmm .... Where is the calcium? I can find lots and lots of the "dreadful" saturated fats (coconut oil), lots of phosphorus and protein (reef fish and other creatures) and lots of minerals from vegetables grown in rich volcanic soil - plus seaweed.  Is the calcium in the coconut?

Canned coconut cream has a good range of B vitamins except B12, with one cup providing only 3 mg of calcium, 1.5 mg. of iron, 50.3 mg of magnesium, 299 mg potassium, and 1.8 mg. of zinc. Figures for fresh coconut cream are presumably higher.  So, not much calcium but generous amounts of other trace minerals.

On a related matter, there's lots and lots and lots of sunshine (vitamin D) in the traditional Polynesian lifestyle.  No hats and no sunscreen.  And often no shirts.

If its not calcium, then what is the secret for keeping bones strong?
A diet that is actually quite low in calcium and relatively much higher in trace minerals, including magnesium, potassium, sodium, phosphorus - over 80 minerals in total - plus small amounts of quality protein and fats 3-4 times a day, whole-foods that are rich in vitamins and plenty of exposure of the body to pure sunshine!

Oh - and a little daily exercise such as a brisk walk and some upper body exercise.  Or - doing the grocery shopping without a car, hanging the washing, mowing the lawns with a hand mower, gardening or wrestling the kids.

These, when combined in balance, are the perfect recipe for making very strong bones regardless of age.

On the subject of vitamin D
Please avoid megadoses of synthetic vitamin D that many Drs are enthusiastically dishing out nowadays.  This presents the same kind of problem as having too much calcium - Too much vitamin D and you get the opposite result, including skin rashes, fibromyalgia and fatigue.  It is best to dribble in nutrients rather than swamp the body with a monthly or weekly tsunami.  In the case of vitamin D, a daily dribble of 1-2,000iu is more than enough for most adults - and less for a child.

About this website
The advice in these articles is given freely without promise or obligation.  Its all about giving you and your family the tools and information to take control of your health and fitness.

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