Nora Gedgaudas

Calcium in kids

Calcium in kids

With respect to calcium and kids, it really isn’t any different than it is for adults.   Again, bones are made up of far more protein (collagen) than anything. Protein gives bones their strength and flexibility, while calcium gives bones their hardness…

With respect to calcium and kids, it really isn’t any different than it is for adults.   Again, bones are made up of far more protein (collagen) than anything. Protein […]

Other minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, boron, strontium, etc. are also enormously important when it comes to bone health and remodeling.  But in order for the body to make use of any of these things properly— protein included— there first and foremost needs to be quality digestion.   Hydrochloric acid insufficiency has become a fairly rampant issue in modern times, partly due to the amount of stress everyone seems to be under— if you’re stressed or anxious you aren’t going to do a very good job of secreting digestive juices and digesting your food. But just as importantly, when it comes to minerals there is a tremendous need for sufficient fat soluble nutrients. This includes preformed vitamin A, D3 and vitamin K2.   Without these fat-soluble nutrients you can take calcium all day long and it may never reach your bones.   Without taking the time to relax at mealtime and slowly enjoy your food you may not be making use of even the best quality menu.   But calcium is the single most abundant mineral in the Western diet and tends to be over hyped and over consumed. And we don’t need dairy for that.   In fact, the calcium in dairy products have a very poor the digestibility and bioavailability.  Dark green vegetables actually have quite a bit more calcium in them (something we all get plenty of eating The Paleo Way) and it is most easily absorbed when there is sufficient animal source protein present, which stimulates the production of hydrochloric acid.   Hydrochloric acid is essential for the ionization of calcium in the gut so that it can actually be absorbed and utilized.  What is far more important than focusing on calcium is focusing instead on digestion and getting appropriate fat soluble nutrients into your diet so that you can actually make use of the minerals in it.

Finally, research published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) showed that vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to growth retardation and fewer osteoblasts (which are young bone cells needed for new bone formation). The researchers suggested that lack of vitamin B12 may interfere with growth signaling in the liver and its “downstream effect” on the osteoblasts (Clemens TL  “Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Bone Health.” N Engl J Med 2014; 371:963-964  Sept 2, 2014.  DOI: 10.1056/NEJMcibr1407247).

And here’s one you don’t hear every day (and should): B12 deficiency/insufficiency has also been demonstrated to increase the risk of bone fractures and even bone loss/osteoporosis!  

See studies:  http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=175734Stone KL, Bauer DC, Sellmeyer D, Cummings SR. “Low serum vitamin B-12 levels are associated with increased hip bone loss in older women: a prospective study.” J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Mar;89(3):1217-21., van Wijngaarden JP, Doets EL, Szczecińska A, et al. “Vitamin B12, folate, homocysteine, and bone health in adults and elderly people: a systematic review with meta-analyses.”  J Nutr Metab. 2013;2013:486186. doi: 10.1155/2013/486186.

In short,  there is no need to be concerned about dietary calcium deficiency when it comes to kids or anyone else. Calcium is no more or less important than any other nutrient in the diet and is only one of about a dozen nutrients making up bone matrix— but unlike many other minerals it is by far the most abundant. The trick lies in being able to digest, absorb and utilize it properly— along with all the other multitude of nutrients and cofactors needed for healthy growth and development.

By Nora Gedgaudas

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