Calcium - Bones, Teeth, and a Whole Lot More

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When we think about calcium in the body, we naturally think of bones and teeth, and that would be logical, since some 99% of the body's calcium can be found there. And while that 99% is really important, it could be argued that the other 1% is even more critical for our lives.

But let's start with bones. We tend to think of our bones as very inert structures that simply allow for movement and form while offering protection for some very vital collections of other organs. That would all be true, except for the "very inert" part. In reality, a lot is happening with our bones. They’re made mostly of collagen, a protein that provides the soft, flexible framework for our skeletal structure. The collagen is then strengthened by calcium phosphate, a mineral complex that hardens that framework into bones. Throughout our lives, our bodies go through a dynamic two part process of manufacturing new bone called remodeling. In the first part of the process, resorption, old bone tissue is broken down and removed by cells called osteoclasts. In the second part of the process, which is formation, cells called osteoblasts replace the old bone tissue with new. In an average adult 20% of their bone calcium goes through this resorption/ formation process every year. It's almost like a new skeleton every 5 years.

Think of your body as having a bone bank account. During your childhood and teen years, you’re depositing more into your account than you’re withdrawing, creating bone faster than its being removed. Your bones become heavier and denser. This process can be strengthened during those early years through exercise, good diet and making sure we get enough essentials like vitamin D, calcium, and other nutrients we'll get to in a moment. We need to maximize our bone density starting right at birth and continuing right up until our late twenties. The greater the bone density by the time you reach age 30, the bigger that bank account is that you have to draw upon later in life, and that's a really good thing.

But what about that other 1% of the calcium in our bodies? What is so crucial about it? Well, a couple things. First, most of that non-rigid calcium can be found in our muscle cells. Calcium is necessary for those cells to contract, which is what produces movement—from our legs for walking to our jaws for chewing to our fingers for typing newsletters. Without calcium, our muscles would be about as useful as fat—just sitting there.

Calcium is also helpful in muscle relaxation—both right after movement, and when we are at rest. For that reason, nighttime cramping is often indicative of a low level of serum calcium. And that's not all. According to the Nutrition Almanac Fourth Edition: “Moderate cases of calcium deficiency may lead to cramps, joint pains, heart palpitations, increased cholesterol levels, slow pulse rates, insomnia, impaired growth, excessive irritability of the nerves, brittle nails, eczema, and numbness of the arms and/or legs.”

And finally, we come to what may be the most critical function of calcium of all: nerve transmission. Without calcium, none of our nerve cells would be able to pass on impulses to any other nerve cell. All movement, bodily function, and thought would simply cease. That's a really bad thing.

Our parathyroid gland is responsible for regulating the amount of serum calcium that we have available, and it is committed to not letting that happen. If we do not get enough from our diet (and if we're not supplementing, we probably aren't), it will instruct the osteoclasts to draw calcium from our bone bank. If we have excess serum calcium, it will call in the osteoblasts to make deposits in our calcium account.

But it takes more than just calcium to build a strong bone. Calcium is like the bricks of a building—they need some kind of matrix to bind them together tightly. The "concrete" of our bone matrix is actually a combination of a number of nutrients: vitamins D and K, magnesium, boron, copper, manganese, and zinc. Having a ready supply of these nutrients with the calcium improves the solidity and strength of our bones.

Shaklee Osteomatrix – Calcium Plus

If what we want is a good, bone-building calcium supplement, there are a few key things to look for. First, it should contain at least 1000 mg of calcium per serving (normally more than one tablet, or the tablet would be huge). Second, it should contain all those matrix components, so that the body doesn't have to go find them somewhere else. Third, the calcium should be derived from mineral, not animal sources. Bone meal and oyster shells are often contaminated with lead and mercury. And fourth, the tablet needs to actually dissolve so that it can be absorbed.

With Shaklee Osteomatrix, all four traits are there. You get the calcium; you get the matrix elements; you get it from a pure, clean mineral source; and you get a tablet that will dissolve. (note: we've heard numerous horror stories of septic tanks filled with undissolved calcium tablets—calcium can be difficult to form into a tablet, and many companies simply pressure the calcium so much in production that it is too tightly pressed together to actually be digestable) It's really the best calcium option you can find. Do your bones, muscles, and nerves a favor, contact me at coachanke@gmail.com or 608-467-0008 to order some today.