Calcium Information & Your Health...
Topics Vital to Your Wellbeing

We intuitively know calcium information is important... in fact, we literally walk on our calcium reserve for support - the skeleton! But how does calcium maintain optimal bone health? And how important are calcium supplements? First, we need to understand a little about the role of calcium in our bodies. Here is the calcium information you need...

The story of calcium is fascinating. Actually, in addition to calcium's vital role in your skeletal health, calcium is involved in a wide array of intracellular processes:

Calcium's Remarkable Roles in Your Body

Muscle Contraction

Regulation of Heartbeat

Cell Division

Glandular Secretion

Inter-Neuronal Signal Transduction (Nerve Transmission)

Blood Clotting

Like a master conductor leading a symphonic band, calcium orchestrates many complex biochemical processes. How is this achieved?

Simply by regulating the flow of calcium in and out of cells.


By pumping discreet quantities of calcium from the "extracellular fluid" (ECF) into the cell, specific functions are "activated" and then "shut off" when calcium is pumped back out. Calcium is your bodies "universal messenger".

Regulation of your heartbeat, nerve transmission, muscle contraction, etc. are essential to life. Your body will never allow low dietary intake of calcium to threaten these essential functions. This is why maintaining constant calcium ECF concentration is so important... Your extracellular fluid (ECF) provides the calcium required for these vital life processes.

What Happens if Your Extracellular Calcium
Concentration Drops too Low?

In fact, a drop in calcium ECF activates an adaptive response. The adaptive response ramps-up secretion of a hormone called parathyroid hormone (PTH). Parathyroid hormone maintains constant calcium extracellular fluid through a "triple-end organ" response. Heres how...

1) GUT: PTH Increases Intestinal Absorption of Dietary Calcium by Converting Vitamin D to its Most Active Form.

2) KIDNEY: PTH Reduces Urinary Calcium Losses by Increasing Renal Conservation of Calcium.

3) BONE: PTH Extracts Calcium From Bone

If your dietary intake of calcium is low, extracellular fluid calcium concentration drops, PTH secretion kicks in and gut, kidney and bone must supply the needed calcium. But a blunted or diminished response from 1 system drives PTH levels even higher, as it struggles to elicit more calcium from the other two systems.

Your Calcium Economy...
The Young and Growing Years

For example, during growth our bodies easily adapt to low or marginal calcium intake... upregulation of intestinal absorption can easily meet demand for more calcium on a low calcium diet. But even during growth, you need a minimal or "threshold" level of calcium to attain optimal bone mass... if not, bone mass may not reach its full genetic potential, increasing risk of osteoporosis later in life.

Your Calcium Economy...
Adult and Golden Years

And as we grow older, its harder to meet threshold calcium requirements. Function and efficiency of all organ systems diminish... efficiency of intestinal absorption and renal conservation gradually decline.

On a high calcium diet... no problem. High dietary intake of calcium can easily meet your threshold requirements. But suprisingly, as we age, we generally consume less calcium... stressing an older, less efficient intestinal tract. In fact, if you are older, your intestinal tract may not be able to absorb enough calcium on a low calcium diet. And you know what happens next, right?

PTH secretion kicks-in and even more calcium from bone is extracted to protect the all important ECF.

In other words, ECF is always protected first - bone is not. In fact, low calcium intake in older individuals exaggerates normal age-related bone loss already occuring - and this leads to increased risk of boney weakness... resulting in osteoporosis and fractures.

Low calcium intakes initially affect calcium stores of your bone. But chronically low calcium intakes may be the genesis of an array of other problems ranging from hypertensive disorders to colon cancer!

Can a Simple Calcium Deficiency
Cause Osteoporosis, Hypertension or Even Cancer?

For example, if due to advancing age or calcium deficiency, gut or kidney are unable maintain calcium balance (homeostasis), PTH levels ramp-up even higher, attempting to induce even greater calcium response from these stressed organs. And constant high secretion of PTH may produce a spectrum of dysfunction in other systems... ranging from the cardiovascular system to your intestinal tract!

For example, excessive secretion of PTH slightly raises your internal cellular calcium concentration and increases "arteriol tone". And increased arteriol tone is a basis for a number of hypertensive disorders like high blood pressure and preclampsia. In fact, controlled clinical trials demonstrate a blood pressure lowering effect of calcium supplementation.

Journal of the American Medical Association

High calcium intakes have also reversed precancerous colon lesions in humans.

New England Journal of Medicine

Specifically, high calcium intakes increase residual or unabsorbed amounts of calcium left in the gut after digestion. This "free" calcium can neutralize fatty acids and bile acids by binding them. And both substances are mucosal irritants and function as promoters of colon cancer.

A positive calcium balance is vital to your bone health and overall well-being. In fact, increasing calcium intake reduces or stops age related bone loss or rate of fractures in almost all of the randomized controlled trials in adults. But most Americans don't get enough calcium or vitamin D from diet alone. Recently, the National Osteoporosis Risk Assessment Study indicated almost 50% of women over 50 have undiagnosed low bone mineral density. And unfortunately in these women, a fracture is often the first warning of osteoporosis.

Journal of the American Medical Association

Calcium Information for Your Future

Most Americans do not get a well balanced diet. Calcium supplements are a safe, effective way to insure you meet your calcium requirements. If you take the calcium information provided here to heart, you can protect your bones and overall health for your future.