Side Effects of Calcium Supplements

Are Calcium Supplements Safe?

Today is the 1st of August 2010.  We were warned on our news last night in New Zealand about the possible side effects of calcium supplements.  It is possible that taking calcium supplements can lead to heart disease, we were told. But we need calcium for a healthy heart, for healthy nerves, good sleep and a calm brain, and to prevent colon cancer. So now what?

Calcium build-ups can occur in the veins and arteries in people who have never touched a calcium supplement in their life. This doesn’t mean that they are eating too much calcium, but rather that they are not getting enough Vitamin C and Magnesium in the diet. We need Vitamin C and Magnesium, found in most fruit and vegetables, to assimilate calcium properly.

I hope this rather absurd revelation about calcium  isn’t a lead up to drug companies persuading our governments that vitamin and mineral supplements should be banned because ‘they are dangerous to the health of the public when mis-used’. Dolomite powder is a natural calcium supplement:  do the powers that be intend to remove this, too,  from our list of available supplements?

Perhaps this latest calcium debate is a back-lash from the chemical companies which make things like deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste and cosmetics with petrochemicals, aluminium, dioxin, and other dangerous chemicals in them:   we have had a run  of documentaries recently on these cosmetic products and the dangers their chemicals pose to health.  But they are all still for sale, and probably not much will change about the ingredients which are used in their making in the near future.

It is possible that calcium supplements taken too often, or in too large a dose, and without enough magnesium and vitamin C to accompany it,  do have a depository effect in the arteries and veins.  If you take magnesium and zinc, vitamin C,   and you eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, you should absorb some of the calcium in a tablet.  However, much of the calcium in a tablet will actually go straight through you,  unabsorbed, and should not pose a problem to your arteries at all.  No more than……….

Calcium in Dairy Products:  I wonder whether these research scientist took into account the quantity of  dairy products these people on their trials were consuming? it is  known that the calcium from dairy products can also build up into calcium deposits in the arteries.

Or did these research scientists give only calcium foods, without magnesium and vitamin C,  with no fresh  fruit and vegetables, to their research test-subjects? A little like giving pigs a steady diet of comfrey over a three month long trial, so that you can tell the world that comfrey  causes liver cancer? And then get comfrey banned in all the countries where pharmaceuticals are sold, with a commercially made preparation, which now you have to buy,  to take its place?

How dangerous, really, are calcium supplements to the health?  Not really dangerous, in my opinion.  My guess is that most people who get heart attacks have never touched a calcium supplement in their life.  They are more than likely to be on some other medication from their doctor,  and the side effects of these drugs are generally not divulged to the general public.  The doctor is instructed by the drug companies what drug should be given to people.  These remedies are not tried and tested by the doctor personally.  He accepts what the drug companies tell him about the medications.  He has no idea, really, except by watching his patients, what a drug is going to do. This drug-taking, drug-making culture of ours accepts newly invented drugs without much question as to their side-effects.

This  is just such a different scenario to traditional herbal medicine, or acupuncture, or ayurvedic medicine:  in these modalities, the remedies do not change by the week, and so the outcome of using the well-tried remedies is fairly well established.

The practice of orthodox medicine is such a contrast.  It lacks history.   The giving out of new medications, and sometimes many different  combinatons of medications are taken at a time,  goes on willy-nilly, unsupervised, undocumented and uncontested in the public arena.

So – even the well known Ayurvedic doctor  Vasant Lad mentions in his book’Ayurvedic Home Remedies’  that dairy products can cause a build-up of calcium in the arteries.  But do the research scientists make a comprehensive, intelligent  study of this fact and put it on the national news?

No, they do not, because the milk-producing companies do not want their sales to be affected.  They are powerful, wealthy  companies which can influence topics of research.  They can also influence our media into not publishing negative stuff about the effects of lots of milk drinking.  We had a very good article about two years ago on research into milk which told us quite a bit about the effects of milk-drinking, but nothing has followed it up, and, certainly, the type of milk which was thought to be more harmful was not taken off the market, nor were any warnings put on that milk as to its negative effects on health.

The manufacturers of vitamin and mineral supplements, however, are easier to target, because they are not multi-million dollar enterprises compared to the multi-national drug companies, or even the milk producing companies.  It does not take much to put a small competitor out of business, and announcing on national TV news that a product really is  potentially that harmful is a pretty effective  way to go about it.

Personally, I prefer to take calcium naturally. But I would hate to see herbal, vitamin, or mineral supplements made unavailable to the general public. I do not believe that a  calcium supplement such as dolomite powder could really pose a serious threat to people’s health.

You don’t need to worry at all about over-doing calcium if you take it via your food.  The best calcium and magnesium  supplement is  a home made calcium tonic – one which you make yourself out of egg shells and cider vinegar.  This is entirely safe, though not for people being treated for chronic candida.  See my post for Best Calcium Supplement.

Vegetarians, even those which do not use milk, are not generally deficient in calcium, because they eat a lot of fruit and vegetables which provide calcium. One good handful of sesame seeds provides you with about 1200mg of calcium and magnesium which won’t have a build up effect in the arteries. One handful of sesame seeds with 1200mg of calcium is about almost as  much calcium as you need for a day.   Sunflower seeds,  soy beans, and the brassica family which includes broccoli,  are other good sources  of calcium.

Importance of Copper

COPPER is important in the daily diet. The importance of Copper cannot be underestimated, as copper has many functions. Some of the functions of copper are discussed below, to give some idea about the effect of copper on the body and the brain.

Copper is essential for the absorption of iron in the body. Copper also  helps to form strong red blood cells which prevent you from becoming anaemic.
Healthy blood cells prevent fatigue.
Copper helps in the formation of bone and muscle tissue.
It helps build strong cartilage which aids the smooth functioning of the joints.

Copper helps to prevent osteoarthritis.
It helps to prevent osteoporosis, because it is instrumental in building good cartilage around the vertebrae along the spine.

Copper plays an important part in keeping the connective tissue healthy in the arteries, capilliaries and veins, hence it helps keep the heart healthy and also helps to prevent varicose veins.
Copper, along with Vitamin C,  is needed to combine collagen and elastin which form the connective tissue: these tissues are also used to form the brain, so keeping your copper levels maintained helps keep the brain healthy. It is important, therefore, for expectant mothers to ensure that they have plenty of carrots in the diet, or some other food which is plentiful in copper.

Copper helps to regulate brain impulses. Good brain impulses are important for your memory function, and  for the discernment and judgement faculties of the brain.
It helps to keep the hair healthy and assists in maintaining your natural hair color.
It helps keep skin healthy and unblemished, as it aids in the pigmentation of the skin.
It helps keep the nervous system healthy and strong.

During pregnancy it is usual for Copper levels to increase within the body so that the new born child will have a plentiful supply through the mother’s milk.

In some women, the body continues to behave as if it is still nurturing an unborn child, and this can lead to excess copper levels, which can cause post-natal depression. Hormones in food and toxins in the environment can cause this deception.  Plenty of non-acidic Vitamin C – say 1000 mg morning and night for a few days, then cutting back to one 1000 mg dose in the evening, should help the problem. Extra zinc and magnesium are needed also, to counteract post-natal depression.

Taking the contraceptive pill can cause the body to mimick a pregnancy:
Escess copper: The birth control pill can cause a build up of Copper in women in amounts which are far in  excess of normal.  Symptoms can be erratic behaviour which mimic mental conditions such as schizophrenia and depression.
Extra Vitamin C, Zinc and Magnesium are needed to counteract an excess of Copper in the body.

If you take the contraceptive pill, then you need to take supplements of  Vitamin C, and zinc and magnesium..
If you are pregnant, than Vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables, and those which contain Zinc and Magnesium should be included as part of the daily diet. Onions and garlic and Vitamin C foods help to balance out excesses of minerals and help to negate the effect of, and eliminate, toxins from the blood.

A good free-range diet is best for expectant mothers. Taking vitamin and mineral supplements can be helpful, but you should try to get your nourishment from eating good food.

Pre menstrual women can become deficient in copper. This can cause sleeping problems, with insomnia, or broken sleep
Deficiency of copper can result in fatigue: since copper is needed to assimilate iron, then anaemia can result if copper levels are low, and this contributes to mental and body fatigue. It is recommended that two milligrams of copper be taken each day to help prevent these problems during the menopausal  and post-menopausal times of life.
If you are taking extra zinc supplements, then you probably need to take extra copper daily as well, as
zinc tends to rob the body of some copper. One milligram of copper to 10 milligrams of zinc is recommended.

Smokers and alcohol users may need to improve their copper intake: copper helps to repair the damage done by smoking. Smoking causes the endothelial cells which line the inside of the blood vessels to become damaged. When these become damaged, which happens because of smoking or having  high blood cholesterol,  these damaged areas can build up cholesterol plaque and form blood clots.  Copper helps to heal this damage, along with Vitamins B6, B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Folic acid.
If you are a beer drinker, then your copper intake should be adequate, as one pint of beer apparently  contains about 600 mcg.

As discussed above, regarding post-natal depression, too much copper in the body can be just as harmful to the health as insufficient copper.  Sometimes abnormally high levels of copper in the blood can result  by drinking water which has come from copper pipes, or by drinking bore water which is unusually high in copper. This  can happen if you live near a copper mine.
Too much copper can cause arthritis,  high blood pressure,  heart attack and stroke.

Excess copper in the body  gives poor mental and emotional health:

Insomnia and anxiety can be symptoms of insufficient copper, and also of
excess copper in the body.
The contraceptive pill interferes with copper levels, and other mineral absorption.
People with an inherited condition called Wilson’s disease absorb too much copper into the liver.
Too much copper can also make children hyper-active and limit their attention span.
Supplementing the diet with foods rich in Vitamin C,  Zinc and Magnesium helps to balance out copper excesses.

COPPER – RDA 2-3 milligramms daily, or 2000-3000 mcg

Foods with Copper:

Lobster, crayfish, shrimps and oysters are naturally high in copper.

Avocado, and milk,  are extremely rich in copper.
Sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, almonds, nuts, mushrooms, the pulses:

beans and peas, the outer bran part of grains, egg yolk and red meats are  all good sources  of copper. Carrots are very high in copper.

Cocoa is also a good source or copper.

One cup of whole milk contains 500 mcg of copper
One cup of non-fat milk contains less copper than whole milk, with  only 100 mcg
One egg contains 150 mcg
One tablespoonful of butter contains 70 mcg
25 grammes of cheese contains 200 mcg
One cup of apple juice contains 500 mcg of copper
One avocado contains 800 mcg
One pear contains 300 mcg
An apple or a banana or a peach will give you 200 mcg – 600 mcg if you eat one of each
One cup of pure orange juice gives about 200 mcg
Half a cup of cooked prunes gives 200 mcg
About two cups of watermelon or rockmelon will give you about 200 mcg
One slice of wholemeal bread contains about 50 mcg
Half a cup of cooked brown rice gives about 200 mcg
Half a cup of peanuts gives about 220 mcg
Half a cup of cooked yams contain 600 mcg
One large mushroom has 125 mcg
One potato, cooked and eaten with its skin gives 150 mcg
1 kumara, also with the skin on, gives 200 mcg
100 gms of cooked liver gives 3000 mcg of copper
One tablespoon of wheatgerm has 180 mcg
One tablespoon of Brewer’s Yeast has 300 mcg
One tablespoon of Molasses has 300 mcg