Skeleton with text bubble saying dangers of supplementing calcium without co-factors for bone health

Many patients, especially women at risk of osteoporosis, take supplemental calcium. I often tell them it’s actually dangerous to do so without taking special precautions. This article will shed light on the dangers of supplementing unopposed calcium.

Calcium and Bones

It is true: many people need to supplement calcium. Ninety-nine percent of our calcium is stored in our bones and teeth. Anyone with bone disease should consider calcium supplementation.

Calcium isn’t the only mineral in bones, and it needs other nutrients to make sure it ends up there.

Don’t Supplement Calcium Alone

Research shows that high calcium supplementation is associated with increased cardiovascular risk [1]. The studies show that taking too much calcium is leading to calcium deposition within the walls of blood vessels. Additional studies show a link between high calcium intake and increased risk of myocardial infarction, stroke, cardiovascular mortality, and kidney stones [1].

The Co-Factors

Co-factors are nutrients that shuttle calcium into bones and aid in bone and teeth mineralization. For those supplementing calcium, it’s vital to take co-factors in the same tablet to ensure the calcium stays away from the cardiovascular system and goes where it belongs.

Co-factors include:

  • Vitamin D: when taken with calcium, vitamin D is especially helpful in bone mineralization and protective against heart disease [2], [3]
  • Vitamin K2: helps inhibit blood vessel mineralization and encourages bone mineralization and organisation [4].
  • Magnesium: affects calcium metabolism, has beneficial effects on cardiovascular system, and deficiency is associated with osteoporosis in humans [5].
  • Boron, Zinc, Copper, Manganese: these trace minerals are also important for bone health. They are involved in calcium absorption, utilization and supporting collagen production.

Is It Safe to take Calcium Supplements Alone?

It’s not safe; calcium unopposed can deposit in the blood vessels and increase cardiovascular risk. Taking calcium along with nutrients like magnesium, vitamin D3, Vitamin K3 as well as boron, zinc, copper and manganese aid in bone mineralization and protect against cardiovascular risk.

References

Interested in learning more?

Read on in our series of articles on Bone Health!

About the Author - Dr. Johann de Chickera

Dr. Johann de Chickera is a naturopath at Absolute Health and Wellness in Paris Ontario

Dr. Johann is a licensed naturopathic doctor and co-owner of Absolute Health and Wellness. He completed his 4-year degree at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM). His clinical focus lies in chronic disease, such as those related to the Gastrointestinal, Endocrine, and Immune Systems.

His approach to medicine relies on working with the patient to come up with a feasible, multi-factorial approach that addresses all complaints at once. He employs a strong background in diagnostic medicine and human physiology and pathology to diagnose and treat. His treatment involve a combination of nutritional counselling, botanical medicine, eastern medicine (acupuncture), nutraceutical supplementation and hands on physical medicine.

To book in please call us at (519) 442-2206 or click here.

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