This week we’re sharing another in depth article from our favourite Naturopath and Medical Herbalist, Lisa Fitzgibbon from Oomphhealth.co.nz. If you have any health issues I highly recommend getting in touch with Lisa, you can see her in person or via Zoom if you are not in the Auckland area.
In this article Lisa discusses the importance of calcium in your diet and the surprising health conditions she uses it for in her practice. Be sure to check out her recipe for Egg Shell Calcium Powder too, you can make this easily yourself at home.
There’s no need to get your teats in a tangle!
In this article I discuss why NZ is so fixated on calcium & ‘dairy’ for bone & teeth health. In fact, they might not be good for these things at all. I’ll also share how to make ‘Dynamite Powder’ (calcium powder from egg shells) with you, see the link above.
In a previous post, I may have upset a few folks when I made Daisy + Betsy redundant from their high-profile contract-work as Calcium Cash Cows. I said that you didn’t need dairy products in your diet to get calcium.
Note: I didn’t say that you shouldn’t have dairy products at all – I simply suggested that you enjoy them in moderation (I even recommended a number of consumer-conscious brands as alternatives to Fonterra products.)
In Do we really need dairy to get calcium in our diet?, I said calcium doesn’t just come in ‘white things’ (dairy products + calcium tablets). And, I showed you a number of different foods that could provide you with your calcium requirements more effectively than dairy. This is because many people can’t tolerate ‘bovine secretion’, and for good reason — cows milk is obviously meant for calves.
Oh! And, I also said the dairy industry was ultimately exploitative: cows get milked for all their worth; unwanted calves + cows get slaughtered; and rainforests die (at the hands of Fonterra).
Note: Let’s keep things in perspective shall we? It’s the ‘dairy industry’ not the ‘cow sanctuary’! It’s a money-making business.
This post all started in part-one: Weighing up the evidence on our most abundant mineral. Here, I cleared up your concerns about supplementing with calcium.
LET’S MOOVE ON, SHALL WE?
I use calcium in my practice for many different health concerns
While most of your body’s calcium is stored in your bones, there is a small amount available in the blood and cells. Calcium is vital to every system in the body. It is involved with enzyme activation, and also facilitates the release of hormones and neurotransmitters. Some specific conditions this mineral can help are:
Nervous system conditions
Insomnia, depression, anxiety, and nerve pain.
Smooth muscle issues
Blood pressure issues, heart arrhythmias, menstrual cramping, and migraines.
Skeletal muscle issues
Fibromyalgia, muscle cramping (& spasms), and headaches.
You can see how calcium supplementation would be particularly useful in women who suffer from PMS, as this mineral can be used for: anxiety, depression, menstrual cramping, headaches, and general pain. This can help to improve overall mood, concentration, and behaviour. (Calcium may even help alleviate fluid retention.)
Note: Therapeutic levels of calcium may also prove helpful for elite female athletes. Calcium can help them to hormonally regulate their menstrual cycles, and help with the other serious concerns associated with intense, prolonged athletic training.
If you have any of the above health concerns, then please consult your Naturopath or make an appointment to see me.
Why are we so fixated on calcium & dairy for bone & teeth health?
Calcium is more than a bone and teeth strengthener (As we’ve seen above)
However, calcium is by no means a solo artist – nor would you want it to be! Without its essential co-factors (Vitamin D, Vitamin K, Boron, and Magnesium), best case —it would not do what you wanted it to do, and worse case — it could prove detrimental to your health.
Nature always uses highly absorbable forms of calcium, and provides the necessary co-factors to help this mineral do what it needs to do in the body. (Natural health formulas aim to replicate this synergistic combination.)
Check out part-one of my blog-post to see what happens when Calcium supplementation ‘goes bad‘.
Dairy has not been proven to reduce fractures or to prevent osteoporosis.
In fact, according to the famous Nurses’ Health Study, dairy products may actually increase the risk of fractures. It is believed that the more dairy you consume, the more calcium you need to consume from other sources. The animal protein can cause your body to leech calcium from its bone to buffer the blood1. Please see my blog-post on: The whole acid + alkaline thing.
And while there are no recognised studies (as far as I’m aware) that show that drinking milk reduces your risk of osteoporosis, it has been shown that the countries with the lowest rates of dairy and calcium consumption have the lowest rates of osteoporosis (Africa and Asia)2.
Is dairy guilty?
Dairy is under investigation for its potential implication in a number of serious health concerns: ovarian + prostate + bowel cancers and Diabetes1.
The jury is still out on whether dairy is actually helpful or harmful! Therefore exercise moderation in your consumption of all things made of cow-juice.
Want Calcium? Think sea-food not moo-cows!
People are so confused when you tell them that there are many foods that provide us with our calcium — not just dairy. Bony fish, shell-fish, and seaweed are fabulous sources of calcium.
Check out: Part Two for more calcium sources.
Make the calcium connection
What is the calcium intake like in your diet? Are you suffering from any symptoms that could suggest you’re deficient in this mineral?
Possible initial SIGNS of deficiency:
Nervousness, anxiety, irritability, muscle spasms and insomnia.
Possible SIGNS of long-term deficiency:
Impaired growth, brittle nails, bone disease, and damaged teeth.
Or, do you suffer from any of the nervous or muscular system issues I outlined earlier such as depression, nerve pain or headaches?
WHEN PRESCRIBED CORRECTLY, CALCIUM IS VERY BENEFICIAL FOR MANY HEALTH CONCERNS
Talk to your Naturopath about your health concerns. He/she will assess if you actually do have a calcium deficiency (as it could be some other health issue). They will ensure you get more ‘bang for your buck’ by covering off:
OPTIMISATION OF SUPPLEMENTATION
The appropriate calcium formulation + the correct daily dosage for you + the correct way to take it.
Calcium makes all your bits & pieces work properly! Not just your teeth and bones. Lisa x
Lisa Fitzgibbon is a qualified (2006), experienced and registered Naturopath & Medical Herbalist. She runs her own private practice —OOMPH.
Lisa has been involved in the Natural Health industry for 16 years. She draws on her professional training and experience, as well as her own personal experience to bring you realistic, holistic health advice.
Feskanich D, Willett WC, Stampfer MJ, Colditz GA. Milk, dietary calcium, and bone fractures in women: a 12-year prospective study. Am J Publ Health. 1997;87:992-7.