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The Calcium Conundrum

Say no to overload via supplementation.

Simply put, I’m not crazy about calcium supplements. That may come as a surprise because you’ve likely consistently been surrounded by the notion of “the more calcium, the better” since childhood.

Whether it’s encouraging children to have a “milk mustache” or warning adults and seniors to take their calcium supplementation for the sake of their bone health and future mobility, the calcium push has been surrounding us for a very long time.

In fact, since the 1950s, the calcium recommendation for men and women ages 51 through 75 has steadily climbed to the current recommendation of up to 1800 milligrams per day – and even higher amounts are recommended for those over 70.

Achieving this mineral mega dose is only possible with supplementation, so it’s become an accepted belief that faithfully taking daily calcium supplements with a tall glass of milk is a proactive measure for your health.

The Right Ratios

It’s not the case that you don’t need calcium. In fact, you do – but only in the proper ratio to other essential minerals.

Supplementation is troublesome because without balancing calcium with magnesium and phosphorus, calcium can end up in the blood vessels, kidneys, joints, and coronary arteries.

Calcium competes with magnesium in the body, so when it’s not balanced with magnesium, the onset of serious health issues can begin. These include an irregular, rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, tissue calcification, the formation of stones, joint pain, depression, fatigue, and even sudden death.

Perhaps the most interesting consequence from an improper calcium ratio is compromised bone health. I bet that’s a surprise!

It’s now coming to the forefront through research that osteoporosis – the exact condition calcium supplementation is meant to prevent – may actually be perpetuated by high doses of calcium.

This happens because the bones are made of many elements like magnesium, manganese, silica, and boron – not just calcium. Too much calcium crowds out the other essential bone-building components and makes for a porous, brittle skeleton. Also, calcium in excess of what is absolutely essential will be stored in your tissues, causing decreased joint mobility, hard and inflexible muscles or ligaments, and stiff, narrowing arteries.

An overload of calcium in the body also acts as a sedative to your nervous system – slowing the thyroid and adrenal glands, as well as your metabolism. Here I see a clear connection between calcium supplements and gradual weight gain, inability to lose weight, and stalled weight loss.

A+ Calcium Sources

To prevent calcium overload, I prefer that you get your calcium from your food. When it comes to dairy, please be very careful.

If you enjoy dairy without intolerance, I suggest you absolutely avoid milk from animals that have been given drugs like hormones and antibiotics. Instead, look for fermented, full fat pasture-raised dairy products which are a source of naturally slimming CLA, built in protective enzymes, beneficial bacteria, and the fat soluble vitamins A, D and K2.

Other fabulous food sources of calcium are chia seeds and organic kale, spinach, collard greens, and broccoli.

If you feel that supplementation is necessary, there are safe options to pair with these delicious foods. Rather than taking a supplement solely for calcium, choose a balanced one that is either a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio in favor of magnesium.

I recommend UNI KEY’s Female Multiple or Male Multiple. These uniquely designed multivitamins contain 30 key vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants – including the ideal 2:1 magnesium to calcium ratio.

It’s also a great idea to take a separate magnesium supplement with your multiple. This is a must-do for anyone who has been faithfully taking calcium, calcium and more calcium, and fears they’re a prime candidate for overload.

UNI KEY’s Mag-Key contains the most efficiently absorbed forms of heart-protective magnesium – glycinate, taurinate and orotate. This formula will also promote restful sleep, improve your ability to manage stress, and help with constipation.

It’s time to wipe off that milk mustache and replace it with calcium-rich foods on your plate and the optimum magnesium and calcium balance your body needs.

Comments (21)

  • Deb Colburn April 5, 2016 - 7:26 pm Reply

    Thanks for this post.

    I’m a true believer in getting nutritional needs first and foremost from real food. Thanks to the diet regime of Ann Louise, and my daily protein shakes, I’m a healthy lively happy almost to be 70 yr. old woman.

  • Bernadette Berarducci April 5, 2016 - 10:01 pm Reply

    I was just told by my endocrinologist that my bone density test taken two weeks ago has shown that I have osteopenia. She is recommending 1500 mgs of calcium a day. I don’t take calcium because I was told long ago, calcium does nothing. So, what should I do? I don’t want to end up with osteoporosis and broken hips or a hump back. I am 62 years old. I have Hashimotos and take synthroid 75 mgs daily and cholesterol of 213 and they want me to take creator, since heart disease runs in my family. Any help/advice you can recommend would be greatly appreciated.

    • Team ALG April 6, 2016 - 1:57 pm Reply

      Bernadette, you are correct, taking calcium if it is not absorbed, does nothing. Some forms of calcium are more absorb-able than others. The amino acid chelates in Mag-Key make it very absorbable for specific functions in your body. Also the Osteo-Key uses the MCHA form of calcium which is from calves bones and makes it an excellent support for bone health. However if you are a slow metabolizer, as determined by the Tissue Mineral Analysis test, you may not absorb calcium in your bones well until your adrenal / thyroid are functioning well and you become a fast metabolizer. When you are dealing with bone loss this is an excellent test to take and by following the suggestions of which foods and supplements to take you can start to use your calcium for bone formation. You can find out more about the test here https://www.unikeyhealth.com/tissue-mineral-analysis

  • Anne Louise Ouellette April 6, 2016 - 1:24 am Reply

    Is it possible to absorb calcium and magnesium through unfiltered well water or unfiltered well water that has been boiled?

    • Team ALG April 6, 2016 - 2:00 pm Reply

      Yes Anne Louise you do absorb it from drinking water that contains calcium.

  • Robin April 6, 2016 - 8:14 am Reply

    I’ve gotten mixed messages from the medical professionals I go to. Being post menopausal since my early 40’s ( will be 50 in a few months) my gynecologist advised 1200 mg calcium daily. She told me that calcium from food isn’t easily absorbed as much as labels say. My chiropractor says the calcium-magnesium ratio is very important like this article says. My new primary doc says supplements aren’t worthwhile for calcium. Needless to say I’m confused.

    • Team ALG April 6, 2016 - 4:02 pm Reply

      Robin, that’s why Ann Louise wrote the blog. We do get many conflicting reports. It is important to get your information from the most knowledgeable and trusted source.

      • Robin April 6, 2016 - 7:54 pm Reply

        I am so glad for articles like this. Looking forward to future articles and learning more.

  • Susan April 6, 2016 - 9:33 am Reply

    I’ve been taking your OSTEO-KEY product for some time. The directions say to take 3 capsules 2 times per day for a total of 800 mg of calcium & 800 mg of magnesium. This is a 1:1 ratio, not 2:1 as you are now recommending. Also, you say “never” take more than 500 mg of calcium per day. The OSTEO-KEY label does not state that I must take extra magnesium to achieve the 2:1 ratio. I’m totally confused by your article & very much upset that you sold me a product that, by your own admission, has compromised my health & my life.

    • Nancy April 6, 2016 - 10:25 am Reply

      Dear Susan, in this same article she recommends taking a 1:1 ratio OR a 2:1 ratio. As long as you are not taking more calcium than magnesium you should be ok with either. At least that is what I took from the article.
      All my best to you.

      • Susan April 6, 2016 - 11:21 am Reply

        Nancy, you read this article AFTER it was revised with the addition of a 1:1 ratio.

    • Team ALG April 6, 2016 - 10:43 am Reply

      Team ALG here –

      Susan, we apologize for the misunderstanding! A 2:1 magnesium to calcium ratio is ideal, but there are no health concerns with taking a 1:1 ratio. Nancy is correct – it’s especially important to ensure that you aren’t taking more calcium than magnesium. Ann Louise has updated the article to reflect this and hopefully prevent any future confusion. Osteo-Key is a fantastic supplement and you are 100% fine to continue using it. Adding Mag-Key is a great option if you’d like to get closer to the 2:1 ratio. It’s always important when you’re taking multiple supplements to ensure that they’re balancing each other with the proper recommended dosages.

      Also, the text that was in the blog that referenced never taking more than 500mg of calcium was a typo that was left in and we are so sorry for the confusion it caused!

      Everyone here at Team ALG (ALG herself, most of all) has been working extremely hard on numerous exciting upcoming projects and it was our mistake to let some misleading wording and typos slip through the cracks. Please let us know if we can answer any other questions!

  • Sophie April 6, 2016 - 9:43 am Reply

    Gratefully, I learned from you years ago about the critical balance between magnesium and calcium. Hence, I never followed physician recommendations to add a high level calcium supplement to my regimen. And, I especially avoided the recommendation I received from two physicians to buy over the counter Tums as a calcium supplement. Common sense told me not to take an anti acid when I did not need it. Gratefully, I also learned from you why we need stomach acid. Thank you for all your guidance and wisdom which have served to keep me on a healthy path — and away from ill advised and unsound recommendations.

    • Team ALG April 10, 2016 - 10:15 pm Reply

      Thank you, Sophie.

  • Donna April 6, 2016 - 8:32 pm Reply

    I already take magnesium for my heart issues plus other reasons 400 mg twice a day.How much calcium do I need? Donna

    • Team ALG April 10, 2016 - 10:18 pm Reply

      Donna: If you feel you need calcium, you might start with one half your magnesium dosage to obtain the most desirable ratio of 2:1 in favor of magnesium. We do recommend testing (Tissue Mineral Analysis) to identify your exact nutritional needs in light of your metabolic type.

  • Kim April 7, 2016 - 11:44 am Reply

    In regard to the article stating, “the calcium recommendation for men and women ages 51 through 75 has steadily climbed to the current recommendation of up to 1800 milligrams per day”, and the error of suggesting a maxmimum dose of 500mg/day, I am wondering if you have a minimum and maximum recommended dose? I am 54 and take 1000mg Mg and 500mg Ca before bed, as they help me sleep. Have recently been told I have osteoporosis in L4, and osteopoenia in L3 and L2, although I run, do weight training, teach yoga, eat lots of greens and plain organic yoghurt, drink organic full-fat milk, and take the mineral supplements.

  • Team ALG April 10, 2016 - 10:25 pm Reply

    Kim: We suggest you consider a Tissue Mineral Analysis to assess your exact mineral needs. As you know, bone is not just comprised of calcium but a bone-building team which may include manganese, lysine, and K-2 as well as D3. In addition, since many individuals do not produce enough hydrochloric acid (HCL) as they age, you may need to address your stomach acidity as well. HCL us essential to utilize calcium and magnesium as well as protein. UNI KEY offers the Tissue Mineral Analysis which comes with a full dietary and supplemental list of recommendations.

  • Debbibe J. April 17, 2016 - 7:32 am Reply

    This is the first time I am on your site. I read that calcium from a plant source is better to take than from other sources. Do you agree? or if not why not?

  • terri April 28, 2016 - 3:33 am Reply

    Hi. I have taken calcium-magnesium for years and 2 years ago I started taking k-2 with it to make sure the calcium was getting to the bones because I was told I have osteoporosis . I just found out my aorta and another vein are heavily calcified. scary. any ideas on how to heal this naturally would be appreciated. thank you.

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