The Misunderstood Benefits and Risks of Calcium

It perplexes me as to why some physicians and even dieticians and nutritionists aren’t a bit more      careful  when they tell patients or customers to take 1000-1500 mg of calcium per day because its “healthy for their bones”?


The assumption being made is that all or most of this large amount of calcium being recommended is actually getting into the bones. Many healthcare professionals will also recommend that the calcium be coupled with a Vitamin D, because it helps to increase the absorption of calcium into the blood. (which is true)

The question not being asked or answered is where is this calcium going once its in the blood and available systemically?  Is it possible that some of this calcium is NOT winding up in the bones but in the lining of the arteries instead? (a process known as arterial calcification which can cause arterial dysfunction)  The answer is a resounding yes!  Let’s take a look at what needs to happen for calcium to deposit into the bones and alternatively, not into the lining of the arteries!

Calcium is positively charged atom called a cation.  It’s charge is +2 (divalent).  In order for calcium to be absorbed into the bone matrix, a protein named osteocalcin has to undergo a process called carboxylation to be able to bind with the calcium.  When osteocalcin is “under” carboxylated, the calcium will not be absorbed well or at all.  Another protein called Matrix Gla Protein is found in the arterial cell wall, MGP maintains healthy soft tissue calcium metabolism protecting against arterial calcification.

So what do the bones and the arteries have in common regarding calcium………….?   Vitamin K !   Via the process of carboxylation, Vitamin K assures that both osteocalcin is carboxylated so that calcium can be deposited into the bone matrix, and matrix Gla via carboxylation is synthesized to prevent the deposition of calcium into the arteries. 

While vitamin D is necessary, plays a role in the carboxylation process and has many other wellness benefits………healthy calcium metabolism both in bones and arteries is very dependent upon Vitamin K.  It seems that Vitamin K-2 (menaquinones) may have more cardiovascular benefit while Vitamin K-1 phylloquinone may work better for bones………….so a combination of Vitamin K-1* and K-2 * might be advisable to a dosage of at least 1mg of K-1, plus 100 mcg (micrograms) of a form of K-2.*

Taking therapeutic amounts of Vitamin K has been shown to significantly reduce fracture rates at the hip and spine, yet it does not seem to increase Bone Mineral Density (BMD). This does not surprise me because BMD does not accurately measure the architecture of the bones, just the mineral presence.  Obviously, the mechanism of Vitamin K is working in a different manner.  Additionally, other health benefits for Vitamin K are being written about in the literature.  It seems that this vitamin may be involved in prevention of osteoarthritis, has anti-inflammatory mechanisms, may be of real benefit in preventing prostate cancer, deficiencies may be involved in progression of Alzheimer’s.

To sum up, calcium intake of greater than 500-600 mg per day is not necessary or useful in preventing bone fractures.  Adding at least 5000 IU per day of Vitamin D-3 and at least 1-2 mg of vitamin-K and 500 mg/day of magnesium to your daily diet will give you the protection against bone fractures that you need.  

For these reasons and to insure that calcium ends up in your bones not lining your arteries,  it is very important to take a properly formulated supplement.  A supplement with the right combination of high quality vitamins and minerals at the proper doses for healthier bones and ultimately to prevent fractures.  Cal-Vantage was formulated for just this purpose.

*Vitamin K-1 is also known either as phylloquinone or phytonadione.
*Vitamin K-2 is also known as menaquinone-7.
(There is a menaquinone-4 but preliminary research seems to indicate that more of it is necessary to achieve results the MK-7 can yield at mcg levels.

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