Friday, May 25, 2012

PHARMACY FRIDAY - Calcium Supplements... Are they dangerous?

Ever since I was a baby, I was allergic to milk. As a small child, I did not receive enough calcium from other forms and grew up with a weak muscle tone. When I was carrying my children, I was given high doses of calcium supplements, especially since I couldn't tolerate much milk.

As I got older I discovered the joys of lactaid tablets. So long as I took one in the morning, I could drink some milk throughout the day, but still took calcium supplements several times a week. Over the past few months I have discovered a milk that I can drink without having to take any lactaid tablets, so I have been thoroughly enjoying all the milk I could desire (but now that I have goats, when they are fresh, none of this is a problem, anyway - sure wish they would hurry up and have those kids).  So I have not taken any calcium supplements in awhile, and a good thing too, because yesterday I learned that Calcium Supplements can actually greatly increase your risk for a heart attack!!!!

One study shows that they can increase your risk by as much as 86%, maybe more! Now that is SCARY!  One of the reasons given is that when you take a supplement, it puts a lot into your body at once, so much so that your calcium level can soar way above the normal range. Now that can't be good!  They have been telling us all this time that calcium supplements are "natural", but there is nothing natural about 'flooding' your body's system with a large burst of calcium.

HERE is some more interesting reading on the subject.

Sudden surges of calcium in your body has been shown to end up in plaques that line the artery walls, which we know is a major contributor of heart attacks. Read more HERE.

All this now makes me question the safety of every day foods that are Calcium Fortified.  Orange juice and other juices, breakfast cereals (cold & hot), boast that they are 'fortified with extra calcium'. Could we possibly be harming our kids, building up plaque in their tiny little arteries, and increasing their heart attack risk, beginning at very young ages? It really gives you something to think about. It also gives you more reason to eat as naturally as possible.

As someone that has already had a heart attack, I don't care to ever have another! So I plan to work harder at getting my calcium needs met the truly natural way, from my daily diet. Here are some great foods high in calcium:
  • Dairy Products
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Spinach
  • Black Strap Molasses
  • Collard Greens
  • Swiss Chard
  • Kelp
  • Broccoli
  • Brazil Nuts
  • Tahini
  • Flax Seeds
  • Oranges
  • Chia Seeds
  • Dark Leafy Greens
  • Quinoa
  • Beans
  • Many dried herbs (example - a 100g serving of savory contains 2132 mg of calcium)
  • And my personal favorite.... Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes
  • With a little checking and research, you will probably be able to find many more natural food high in calcium.
We would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on this subject.


  1. Its all balance. two services of dairy a day is enough calcium and does not ruin your health.

  2. I like the list of calcium rich foods but don't forget about the wild foods. Yellow dock is one that comes to mind that is high in calcium. We may need to do a bit of research on such things.

  3. You are so right, simplicity. It doesn't take much. It is so easy to get the calcium we need without taking it in a tablet or calcium fortified foods. And there are still plenty of options available for those that can't eat dairy.

    I agree, Dave. We do need to research the wild foods, too, as to which ones are high in which vitamins and minerals. Some might surprise us. Thanks to you, I just discovered Yellow Dock this year. Maybe it is one that falls into the "dark leafy green" category.


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