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Dr. Batmanghelidj actually used the word "water," not calcium and we ask forgiveness for modifying his book title. But if you're troubled by cavities, receding gums, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, joint or muscle pain, you're going to want to pay attention to this important mineral.
Calcium is the 5th most abundant mineral on the planet and probably the most important one for the human body. Your body runs on it all day, every day. In fact, it is the single most abundant mineral in our bodies. If there is insufficient calcium, your body can be affected by over 200 illnesses or deficiency problems.
Thanks to the media, we're pretty well-informed on the importance of getting dietary calcium everyday. Maybe you already eat yogurt and take a supplement and think you're doing ok, however, you're probably not getting enough to prevent the problems usually associated with "normal aging." Osteoarthritis and high blood pressure are not a side effect of normal aging! Healthy aging (and healthy youth) are associated with proper nutrition and of course, avoidance of what we like to call "fake foods." Imperfect diets aside, most of us are deficient in this mineral.
For awhile, we thought we were getting plenty of calcium from our high intake of leafy greens in our daily smoothies. In an ideal world, that may be true, but we learned that even our organic spinach and home-grown kale were deficient in minerals from the soil, as is the case almost everywhere. On top of that, calcium is difficult to absorb especially if you have any type of intestinal issues such as leaky gut or Crohn's DIsease.
Let's dispel the common myth that dairy products are a good source of dietary calcium. We're guessing most people do not go out of their way for organic, raw milk, so let's assume the dairy most people are consuming is conventional, pasteurized milk. Firstly, that gallon of milk you grab from the grocery store or convenience store cooler is devoid of natural enzymes that help the body digest milk. Secondly, it is contaminated with PCB's and pesticides that definitely do NOT do a body good. Lastly, without sufficient vitamin D, only 10-15% of milk's calcium is absorbed by the body. The Physicians' Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) lists other serious problems with milk consumption that you can read about on their website here.
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You most likely already know that the mineral calcium is necessary for the growth and regeneration of bones and teeth. Without enough, we are subject to dental issues such as cavities and receding gums. Sure, there are other factors responsible for poor dental health, but adequate calcium is the basic requirement for a healthy mouth.
High consumption of processed foods, sugar, carbonated beverages, and conventional animal products acidity the body. Your intelligent body will do anything to buffer that acid including taking it from the bones. Too much of this "bone-borrowing" leads to bone loss and the body's inability to carry out the natural process of bone rebuilding and cartilage rejuvenation. Even if we don't make a habit of eating unhealthy foods, when the body needs calcium to function, it will take it from the bones. Considering how common osteoarthritis is, especially in women, it's clear that most of us aren't getting enough of this vital mineral from food or supplements.
Blood pressure is another physical function that relies on calcium for regulation. The muscle lining of our arteries contracts and relaxes to pump blood to the heart. All muscles, including the ones in our arteries rely on calcium to contract properly. This substance is necessary for cells to communicate and nerves to function properly. If your heartbeat occasionally races or pauses for a second you can bet this is a result of calcium defiency.
Other signs of calcium deficiency include panic attacks, sciatica, muscle cramps, bone spurs, brittle nails, calcium deposits, eczema, pas, and others too numerous to mention.
The best kind of supplements to take, in general, are the ones most readily absorbed by the body. Usually, this means one in liquid form, and this is especially true for an important mineral like calcium. We don't have a particular brand to recommend, so do your own research, ask your friends. Find something that works for you.
How much to take depends on a few things such as your age and body weight. In general, healthy adults need 1,000 to 1,200 mgs daily, but conditions such as osteoarthritis or high blood pressure may require a period of extra supplementation until these conditions are under control. There is also indication that extra calcium assists weight loss in obese individuals.