The Big Calcium Lie: Calcium Might Be Harming Your Body, Not Helping It
This article originally appeared on Yoganonymous.com.
Did you know that you don't need calcium to get strong bones? You need silica, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Calcium is not the most relevant power player for high bone density. The myth that calcium helps build stronger bones began to take shape in the early 1990's when cow farmers in California needed to boost their sales. Top marketing people were brought in, and the "Got Milk?" Campaign for stronger bones was born. No doubt, it was a great marketing campaign that lasted for over twenty years, and it greatly helped the Californian economy—but why didn't anyone do deeper research into how foreign forms of calcium affects your bones?
Calcium doesn't strengthen your bones, it calcifies them. Calcification in the body leads to diseases such as arthritis, heart disease, Alzheimer's, eczema, psoriasis, gall stones, kidney stones, and eye cataracts. Learn more about how calcium works inside of your body here.
The worst part is that, after seeing the profits being made by the dairy industry, other companies began to run wild with this calcium theory—they started creating supplements and calcium add-ins to put into foods that didn't have calcium (and aren't meant to have calcium). These supplements and processed foods were marketed as natural because the calcium came from the earth's bedrock. However, this type of "natural" calcium isn't good for you.
The calcium that comes from the earth's crevices isn't meant to go inside of your body. This type of calcium is made up of calcium spores. Yes, spores—or eggs, made up of little life forms that grow into shells (Not sure it's true? Learn about how calcium spores grow here).
When you ingest these spores, they grow eggs inside of you. They don't know how to stop, and your body doesn't know how to digest them. Your body simply doesn't know how to react, and this foreign calcification does not increase your bone density or protect your bones from being broken. Don't believe it? Check out the results from this Harvard study. Crazy.
If you're looking to build bone density, reach for foods like nettle, comfry, horsetail, chia seeds, and hemp seeds. These foods are rich in silica, magnesium, and phosphorus—the three ingredients needed for healthier bones, as recommended by nutritionist, David Wolfe. Learn about David Wolfe's full take on dairy and your bone health here.
Please note that marketing campaigns have the power to shape your beliefs about best practices, behaviors, and healthy living. For decades, marketing material has governed the way we view food and products, even when they are not good for us. The best example is the way the marketing industry first positioned tobacco: Industry leaders paid doctors to claim that tobacco was beneficial to your health, when in reality, it has harsh side effects and may cause death. If you'd like to learn more about the truth behind the tobacco industry, and how it was marketed in its early days, this Harvard case study is one place to get started.
The big "calcium lie" is something that has been largely shaped by marketing tactics, which are similar to those used in the tobacco industry in the 1950's. While dairy and cheese do contain natural and digestible sources of calcium, they aren't necessarily great for your body, and plant-based calcium will serve your body in better ways than any dairy-based calcium ever could. Always be mindful of the way your body feels. If something doesn't feel right, seek dietary help from a professional who shares your beliefs on food and food sourcing.