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Calcium, for strong bones and apparently, strong, thick, stiff arteries ... Bone loss… Cancer….
The Problem with Calcium
I think it's safe to say that our ancestors weren't sucking down calcium anywhere near the rate we do. Not only are we consuming vast quantities of dairy products but we're taking huge doses of calcium too. A shortage on calcium pretty clearly isn't the problem. But what they never think about is... why with the vast amount of calcium most Westerners get in their diet and supplements are their bones eroding so badly? The answer seems to be a lack of pharmaceuticals!
Does excess calcium intake cause atherosclerosis?
In an editorial published in the International Journal of Cardiology, Dr. Stephen Seely of the University of Manchester argues that excess calcium intake is a major cause of atherosclerosis in Western countries. First, the general observation can be made that, in countries where the daily calcium intake is 200-400 mg, arterial diseases are non-existent. Blood pressure does not increase with age. In countries where the daily intake is 800 mg, arterial disease is the leading cause of mortality. A more specific indicator is the strong positive correlation between consumption of milk and mortality from coronary arterial disease."
Stephen Seely, Is Calcium Excess in Western Diet a Major Cause of Arterial Disease? [Editorial], International J Cardiology 33(2):191-198 (Nov 1991) [Correspondence: Stephen Seely, Department of Cardiology, University of Manchester, The Royal Infirmary, Manchester M13 9WL, UK]
Calcium and prostate cancer
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS. Several studies have found that a high intake of calcium from dairy products increases the risk of prostate cancer. Other studies have found no such correlation. Now researchers at the Harvard Medical School weigh in with the results of a major study that confirms the correlation. The study involved 20,885 male American physicians who were enrolled in 1984. During 11 years of follow-up 1012 of the men developed prostate cancer including 411 cases of advanced prostate cancer. The physicians completed food frequency questionnaires to determine their intake of calciumcontaining dairy products (whole milk, skim milk, cheese and ice cream). About 57 per cent of the calcium obtained from dairy products originated from skim milk which contains 307 mg of calcium per serving (8 oz glass). A thorough statistical analysis of the data collected showed that men who consumed more than 600 mg/day of calcium (equivalent to two glasses of skim milk) had a 32 per cent greater risk of developing prostate cancer, after adjusting for other potential risk factors, than did men who consumed 150 mg/day of calcium or less.
The researchers believe that a high intake of calcium suppresses the synthesis of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D-3, an important hormone believed to be protective against prostate cancer. They point out that another large study found that calcium from supplements also increases prostate cancer risk.
Chan, June M., et al. Dairy products, calcium, and prostate cancer risk in the
High calcium intake linked to prostate cancer
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS. Several studies have found a link between a high consumption of milk and cheese and the risk of prostate cancer. Now researchers at the Harvard Medical School report that men with a high calcium intake have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer.
The researchers speculate that calcium interferes with the formation of 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol, the biologically active form of vitamin D which has been found to suppress the development of prostate tumors. Somewhat surprisingly, they did not find any relationship between prostate cancer risk and vitamin D intake from foods or supplements between the range of less than 150 IU/day to more than 800 IU/day Giovannucci, Edward, et al. Calcium and fructose intake in relation to risk of prostate cancer. Cancer Research, Vol. 58, February 1, 1998, pp. 442- 47
Less Calcium = prolong bone life
If less calcium is consumed, the bone-cells age slower, and a low calcium intake throughout adolescence has been shown to both retard and prolong longitudinal bone growth in rats. So, yes, you can increase your bone mineral density (BMD) by consuming much calcium, but that will exhaust your bones sooner.
Peterson CA, et al, Alterations in calcium intake on peak bone mass in the female rat. J. Bone Miner. Res. 1995 / 10 (1) / 81-95.
Yes, a high BMD means (temporarily) stronger bones, but not healthier bones.
The same is true for the bones; the more their aging is accelerated, the sooner their bone modelling capacity will be exhausted That is why in those countries where the average BMD is highest; the hip fracture incidence is highest too.
In Greece the average milk consumption doubled from 1961 to 1977 (and was even higher in 1985), and during the period 1977 - 1985 the age adjusted osteoporosis incidence almost doubled too.
Paspati, I. et al, Hip fracture epidemiology in Greece during 1977-1992. Calcif. Tissue Int. 1998 / 62 (6) / 542-547.
In Hong Kong in 1989 twice as much dairy products were consumed as in 1966 and osteoporosis incidence tripled in the same period.
Lau, E.M. & C. Cooper, Epidemiology and prevention of osteoporosis in urbanized Asian populations. Osteoporosis 1993 / 3 / suppl. 1 : 23-26.
Now their milk consumption level is almost “European”, and so is osteoporosis incidence.
Ho SC, et al, The prevalence of osteoporosis in the Hong Kong Chinese female population. Maturitas 1999 Aug 16;32(3):171-8.
Where the most milk is consumed, the
osteoporosis incidence is highest
Compared to other countries, the most milk is consumed in Sweden, Finland, Switzerland and The Netherlands (300 to 400 kg / cap / year), and osteoporosis incidence in these countries has sky rocketed.
Versluis, R.G. et al, Prevalence of osteoporosis in post-menopausal women in family practise (in Dutch). Ned. Tijdschr. Geneesk. 1999 / 143 (1) / 20-24. , Oden, A. et al, Lifetime risk of hip fractures is underestimated. Osteoporosis Int. 1998 / 8 (6) / 599603. , Smeets-Goevaars, C.G. et al, The prevalence of low bone-mineral density in dutch perimenopausal women : the Eindhoven perimenopausal osteoporosis study. Osteoporosis Int. 1998 / 8 (5) / 404-409. , Lippuner, K.o et al, Incidence and direct medical costs of hospitilizations due to osteoporotic fractures in Switzerland. Osteoporosis Int. 1997 / 7 (5) / 414-425. , Lips, P. ,Epidemiology and predictors of fractures associated with osteoporosis. Am. J. Med. 1997 / 103 (2A) / 3S-8S / discussion 8S-11S. , Parkkari, J. et al, Secular trends in osteoporotic pelvic fractures in Finland : number and incidence of fractures in 1970-1991 and prediction for the future. Calcif. Tissue Int. 1996 / 59 (2) / 79-83. , Nydegger, V. et al, Epidemiology of fractures of the proximal femur in Geneva ; incidence, clinical and social aspects. Osteoporosis Int. 1991 / 2 (1) / 42-47. , Van Hemert, A.M. et al, Prediction of osteoporotic fractures in the general population by a fracture risk score. A 9-year follow up among middle aged women. Am.J.Epidemiol. 1990 / 132 (1) / 123-135.)
Like Australians and New Zealanders, Americans consume three fold more milk than the Japanese, and hip-fracture incidence in Americans is therefore 2½ fold higher.
Lau, E.M. et al, Admission rates for hip fracture in Australia in the last decade. The New South Wales scene in a world perspective. Med.J.Aust. 1993 / 158 (9) / 604-606.
Fujita, T. and M. Fukase, Comparison of osteoporosis and calcium intake between Japan and the United States. Proc.Soc.Exp.Biol.Med. 1992 / 200 (2) / 149-152.
In Venezuela and Chile much less milk is consumed than in the US, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland, while the hip fracture incidence in Venezuela and Chile is over 3 fold lower.
Bacon WE, et al, International comparison of hip fracture rates in 1988-89. Osteoporos Int. 199 / 6 (1) / 69-75.
Chinese consume very little milk (8 kg / year), and hip-fracture incidence, therefore, is among the lowest in the world; hip-fracture incidence in Chinese women is 6 fold lower than in the US. (The average American consumes 254 kg milk / year)
Xu. L. et al, Very low rates of hip fracture in Beijing, People's Republic of China ; The Beijing Osteoprosis Project. Am.J.Epidemiol. 1996 / 144 (9) / 901-907.
The less milk consumed, the lower is the osteoporosis rate.
Schwartz, A.V. et al, International variation in the incidence of hip fractures : crossnational project on osteoporosis for the World Health Organization Program for Research on Ageing. Osteoporosis Int. 1999 / 9 (3) / 242-253.Rowe, S.M. et al, An epidemiological study of hip fracture in Honan, Korea. Int. Orthop. 1993 / 17 (3) / 139-143
In other countries where very little milk is consumed, on the average, as in Congo, Guinea and Togo (6 kg / year) osteoporosis is extremely rare too. In the Dem. Rep. Congo, Liberia, Ghana, Laos and Cambodia even less milk is consumed (average person: 1 to 3 kg a year !!), and they've never even heard of age-related hip fracture.
Bwanahali, K. et al, Etiological aspects of low back pain in rheumatic patients in Kinshasa (Zaire). Apropos of 169 cases. (in French) Rev. Rhum. Mal. Osteoartic. 1992 / 59 (4) / 253-257. Barss, P., Fractured hips in rural Melanesians : a nonepidemic. Trop. Geogr. 1985 / 37 (2) / 156-159. Mijiyawa, M.A. et al, Rheumatic diseases in hospital outpatients in Lome. Rev. Rhum. Mal. Osteoartic. 1991 / 58 (5) / 349-354.
Osteoporosis incidence in female Asians is much lower than in Asian females living in the USA,
Memon, A. et al, Incidence of hip fracture in Kuwait. Int.J.Epidemiol.1998 / 5 / 860865.
Genetically differences is rubbish
Just like osteoporosis incidence (and calcium consumption) in African Bantu women is much lower than in Bantu women living in the USA.
Smith, R., Epidemiologic Studies of Osteoporosis in Women of Puerto Rico and South-eastern Michigan ... Clin. Ortho. 1966 / 45 /32.
And both calcium intake and hip-fracture rate is far lower in South African Blacks than in African Americans. Abelow BJ, et al, Cross-cultural association between dietary
animal protein and hip fracture: a hypothesis. Calcif. Tissue Int.1992 / 50 (1) / 14-18
Alternative hypotheses about osteoporosis incidence
• The excessive-phosphorus hypothesis • Water fluoridation and fracture incidence • Osteoporosis and protein- and soy consumption • Some think it is because of low milk-calcium bio-availability • The magnesium-calcium ratio hypothesis • Osteoporosis and a high-fat diet
Osteoporosis is often accompanied with a very low vitamin D level.
This can have multiple causes:
• Osteoporosis is caused by consuming too much calcium year after year. The body tries to counteract this by taking up as little calcium as possible. Vitamin D increases the calcium-absorption rate. So to prevent the uptake of excessive calcium, the body composes as little vitamin D as possible.
• Hyperparathyroidism strongly increases both uptake of calcium into the bones and deportation from the bones, eventually causing osteoporosis. If too little calcitriol is available, the secretion of PTH is not sufficiently inhibited. • If always very, very little calcium is consumed (less than 300 mg / day which is a very hard thing to achieve), a lack of vitamin D / calcitriol can cause osteoporosis by making it impossible to increase calcium absorption.
If osteoporosis was about a lack of exercise, all healthy but physical inactive people would have osteoporosis, which is not the case. That is why bone-loss with age cannot be explained by declining physical activity levels.
Rutherford OM, et al, The relationship of muscle and bone loss and activity levels with age in women. Age Ageing 1992 / 21 (4) / 286-293.
Exercise causes microfractures which stimulates the osteoblasts to increase their activity. Logically, then exercise also increases the death rate of osteoblasts.
Meyer T, et al, Identification of apoptotic cell death in distraction osteogenesis. Cell. Biol. Int.1999 / 23 (6) / 439-446. , Landry P, et al, Apoptosis is coordinately regulated with osteoblast formation during bone healing. Tissue Cell 1997 / 29 (4) / 413-419.
Excessive exercise is detrimental to Bone.
Cromer B, et al, Adolescents: at increased risk for osteoporosis? Clin. Pediatr. (Phila) 2000 / 39 (10) / 565-574. , Judex S, et al, Does the mechanical milieu associated with high-speed running lead to adaptive changes in diaphyseal growing bone? Bone 2000 Feb;26(2):153-9.
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