- Let's talk about calcium and labeling subterfuge. Said
subterfuge regards the amount of actual, usable calcium, called "Elemental
Calcium" (E.Cal.) found in your supplement... for example, if the
label said **Calcium Carbonate...1000mg**, you might logically assume that
you are getting 1000mg of usable, Elemental Calcium - but you
would be wrong! You are actually getting 400mg of calcium & 600mg of
carbonate...the "crap" in Tums.
- Surprised? Case in point. You need to know a little
about how minerals work and the different forms they take to get to the
bottom of this duplicity. Moreover, this labeling slight of hand applies
to all minerals, remember, but Calcium is the one most flagrant.
- To start, Calcium and all minerals actually, are inorganic!
Consequently, they are not easily absorbed. It's required they be bound
to some other substance (preferably organic) in order to be utilized at
all. That's key, reader. This even applies to ionic trace minerals
in sea-water & tap-water that are not bound to anything... their charge
causes them to "stick" to the oppositely charged intestinal villi,
making them unusable until a slow, inefficient process is completed where
the villi coats the mineral with amino acids to reduce the charge to zero
so the mineral can sneek past the villi to be absorbed... so one could
say - if the mineral doesn't come bound to something , your body will do
it for you...but not real efficiently.
- Now, the most popular forms are either the least healthful and
least absorbable inorganic salts (all grocery-store Multi's like Centrum
using carbonate, oxide, phosphate, chloride), or healthfully, the three
organic types of chelation (pronounced key-lay-shun). Chelate, figuratively
means 'bound to' but literally means 'to claw'.
- 1. Amino Acid Chelation - can be virtually any combination
of the numerous amino acids and any mineral - however, some combos don't
work as well, or, at all.
- 2. Organic salts - usually called organic chelation (like
citrate, gluconate, malate, polynicotinate, and many more).
- 3. Kreb's Cycle Chelation - contains many or all 8 different
substances along the energy producing Kreb's Cycle Pathway...actually
this could be listed under 2. above also.
- Now, MDs normally recommend the inorganic salts
like calcium CARBONATE or magnesium OXIDE... mentioned above. This
is just... so wrong. Evidence of a predatory ethic not in the healthy
individual's interest, you know?
- Doctors do this, I suspect, because their very existence
is propped up by the notion that inorganic and artificial are just as good,
or better, than organic and natural. This too is... just wrong and more
evidence of malfeasance.
- Back to the chelates... I feel most holistic types agree
that any of the three organic chelation forms are much better
absorbed. As for the disagreement concerning which organic type is best
- I will save that discussion for a subsequent paper. Additionally, even
as I report that I personally prefer amino acid chelation, I must add that
chelation is a very convoluted, contentious, and not a real well researched
- But consider, reader, the consequences of the mainstream
medical approach supporting what is determined to be deceptive labeling,
false advertising...not to mention, pushing the inferior forms of
chelation! Osteoporosis, a ready example of many, is out of control
in this country as an oblique result, and suffered by many!
- This is because most people, women in particular, are
not consuming, or more accurately, absorbing, nearly enough Elemental Calcium/Magnesium
(Cal/Mag) from their diets. This is true even (especially, actually!) if
they eat dairy and or take Doctor recommended supplemental calcium like
Caltrate or OsCal.
- First, Supplements:
- All grocery store Calcium supplements, and even many
health food store supplements, mislead buyers concerning labeling amounts.
In the initial example, each tablet contains 1000 mg of Calcium Carbonate
-- the 1000 mg is the total weight of the E.Cal. plus the weight of the
Carbonate. The percentage of usable E.Cal. in Calcium Carbonate is 40%.
So, each 1000 mg tablet only has 400 mg of actual, usable E.Cal. The other
600mg is the carbonate.
- Another example of essentially the same thing but even
more deceptive... consider the label which says **Calcium...1000mg** -
by leaving off the word "carbonate" you are even more apt to
think this is actually 1000mg of USABLE Calcium. but if you look down below
the 'Supplement Facts' box, in very fine print, all crammed together with
any & all of the other ingredients, you will find the forms like Calcium
'CARBONATE' listed. The form Carbonate should be clearly listed up in the
Supp-Facts box, not hidden down in the other ingredients ...so again
you are getting 400mg of E.Cal, not 1000mg. Real truth in advertising?
Your leg's not wet 'cause it's rainin' reader!
- Now, many of the supplements in a health food store
also use this deceptive labeling. The problem is that even if you are aware
of this tricky but LEGAL labeling policy, you have the added burden of
remembering roughly the calcium content of the various forms... ie, the
most popular organic form, citrate, is 25% E.Cal. -- Amino acid chelation
(AAC), the form I prefer, is only 20% E.Cal.-- and the other most
widely used form, gluconate, is only 10% E.Cal.
- Armed with this knowledge, you might assume the Cal. carbonate
at 40% (calcium) is superior to AA chelation at only 20% (calcium)...
but not so fast! Let's focus this.
- Actually, the inorganic salt, carbonate, neutralizes
a required stomach acid. Strike one. Among many key physiological requirements
and ratios, stomach acid is desperately needed for absorption of ALL minerals.
Strike two. TUMS (tm) is calcium carbonate because the carbonate degrades
the acid required to absorb the calcium... then you're told said TUMS is
"a good source of calcium." Strike three.
- Upon their expiration (death) and because they MUST
know the difference? I suspect Special-Hell-Intensity-Training awaits Doctors
who tell patients TUMS is a "good" source of calcium... "Butt-Surfing"
on the "Lake of Fire" might be provided as a cross-training activity?
- Back at the ranch, these negative characteristics mean
that Cal. Carbonate is by far the least absorbable form -- probable WAY
less than 10% depending on who you believe. On the other hand the 20% E.Cal.
in the AA chelation is very well absorbed (likely about 90%). Less is more!
- Strangely enough, even though I prefer Amino Acid chelation,
I also take calcium citrate. This is because unlike most other forms
of calcium that need to be taken with food (they require stomach acid)
calcium citrate can be taken with or without food because it is 'pre-acidified',
so facilitates breaking the required dose of E-cal into preferred multiple
doses one can take throughout the day. See? This unique pre-acidified characteristic
is helpful because one can usually only absorb about 500 mg of E.Cal. per
- So it is important to divide your Cal (and to a lesser
degree your Magnesium) into 2, 3 or 4 smaller doses...the Citrate form
comes in handy if you miss taking your Cal (AAC) at mealtime, you can take
a dose of Citrate between meals... still, Doctor Zorba Pasture on NPR says
all you have to do is take one large calcium carbonate tablet a day! I
live to hear the "bone-headed" things that come out of Docca
- If you take too much Calcium (and to a slightly lesser
degree, Magnesium) at once, it will cause your body pH to rise, which might
try to change your blood pH, but your blood pH WILL NOT change because
even a small change will kill you instantly! The body is quick to dump
calcium & other minerals to check the rise in alkalinity. Consequently,
Don't worry about overdose.
- This process also works in the other direction...if you
are too acidic (not enough calcium & other minerals) your body will
leach minerals from your bones (bone-loss) to raise the alkalinity.
- Next, Dairy...
- The TV commercials say a woman needs 1200 mg of Calcium
(Cal) a day. And, to accomplish this she should consume 400 mg of Cal.
in milk/cereal, 400 mg of Cal. in yogurt/cheese for lunch, and for supper,
400 mg cheese pizza... for a total of 1200 mg of Cal. Yikes -- this is
- You may put 1200 mg of dairy calcium in your mouth, but
you will be lucky to actually absorb a third of it into your system (and
I think I'm being generous)! This is primarily because dairy contains too
little magnesium needed at the proper ratio to absorb the calcium.
- Most would agree that a minimum amount of Mag in
the Cal. to Mag Ratio is 2 to 1. However, many respected
holistic practitioners like Dr. Mercola <>www.mercola.com think
the ratio should be closer to 1 to 1... and some, like one of my favorite
people, the Leaf Lady (<>www.leaflady.org) thinks the cal/mag ratio
should be reversed...1 to 2, not 2 to 1... you need more magnesium
in your life, Folks !
- ...So milk, at a cal/mag ratio of 10 to 1, has a problem.
It "doesn't get there from here," by an order of magnitude...
- Some supplements come at the higher 1 to 1 ratio (although
90% are at the 2 to1 ratio); however, the increased Mag (at 1to1 cal/mag
ratio) can cause some to get diarrhea, this usually only happens if
it is in the inorganic salt form magnesium OXIDE. That's the price, et
al, of the inferior form.
- For adults I maintain that dairy is generally an inefficient
and unhealthful way to get calcium, at best! In other words if you need
a little dairy for some particular recipe & it's something you really
like... do it because you like it, but don't do it for the calcium.
It's not happening.
- For children it is even more imperative that you keep
them away from pasteurized dairy products, believe it or NOT! Milk
- I'm offering a small 10 dollar wager (I'm not a bloated
gold-plated-bathroom-fixture MD, or equally porcine pharmaceutical executive)...
...If your child has lots of ear and upper respiratory infections, colds,
allergic reactions, etc, and they start every day with milk, sugar, and
cereal? Well, I bet if you switched to eggs, meat, vegetables and a small
amount of fruit (NO fruit juices), these ailments would virtually
disappear. Of course the benefits of this breakfast change can be dramatically
negated if allowed to consume massive quantities of refined carbo snacks,
sodas, and sweets throughout the rest of the day. Sincerely, the diet
diminishes you and undercuts your kid's potential!
- Consider, why is it that my mother and many other old
ladies are bent over double with osteoporosis... even after they ate plenty
of dairy and took the doctor recommended calcium supplements most of their
- ...Could it be *they* know that dairy (and most doctor
recommended calcium supp's) are not a good source of calcium... but
they tell you they are because they don't really want the
"calcium" to stave off osteoporosis... they would much rather
sell you Fosamax (tm) instead?
- Have you seen Sally Field's (heavy sigh) latest abomination
"Boniva" commercial? She idiotically opines (with a straight
face, I might add)..."My girlfriend has to set aside time once a week
to take her Osteoporosis medicine...then I told her about 'once-a-month'
Boniva and she said - I could do that."
- You mean setting aside 20 seconds a week is just too
big a hassle...so I guess asking you to take several quality Cal/Mag capsules
2 or 3 times daily would be completely beyond your capability! I'd be way
out of line for even suggesting such a ludicrous regimen... when there
is 'once-a-month' Boniva waiting in the wings to solve all these critical
time issues regarding seconds here and there...
- Can you get an appreciation for how stupid they think
you are reader?
- And Sally! Did you tell your "girlfriends"
about "Phossy-Jaw" ? ...where these bisphosphonates (Fosamax,
Boniva) can cause "Bone-death" of the jawbone, leaving
the women's face horribly disfigured? hummm... forgot to mention
that, didja ?
- Getting back to label amounts -- a small number of mineral
manufactures make a noteworthy attempt at showing the amount of usable
E.Cal. The following examples start with the 'clearest' and descends to
- 1. **Elemental Calcium... 250 mg (from 1000 mg of Calcium
Citrate)** -- this is impossible to misunderstand. Even if you only read
the first half, you get the info you need -- the amount of E.Cal. at 250mg.
- 2. **Calcium ... 250 mg (from 1000 mg of Calcium Citrate)**
-- this leaves off the word Elemental , but that's OK because the 250mg
is implied to be the Elemental by mentioning the amount
of Calcium Citrate at 1000mg. Again -- if you only read the first
half you get the amount of E.Cal, (250mg) even if the word "elemental"
- 3. **Elemental Calcium... 250 mg (from Calcium Citrate)**
-- this leaves off the 1000 mg, but you don't really need to know the amount
of Cal. Citrate, as long as the first half tells you the amount of E.Cal.
- OK, here they start going wrong :
- 4. **Calcium Citrate... 1000mg (containing 250 mg of
E.Cal.)** -- this example shows everything you need to know, but by reversing
the order it can cause confusion if you only read the first half (Calcium
Citrate...1000mg). You might walk away thinking you're getting 1000 mg
of usable calcium, when you are actually getting 250mg of E.Cal. that is
only revealed in the second half of the blurb.
- 5. There are some manufacturers that have inexpensive,
quality products, but have really confusing labels -- like Nature's Way:
**Zinc (as Zinc Citrate)... 30mg**. Does this mean 30 mg of Elemental Zinc
or 30 mg of Zinc Citrate? I think they mean 30 mg of Elemental Zinc --
so I would rearrange it and change the word "as" to "from".
**Zinc... 30mg (from Zinc Citrate)**. Ok... now it makes a little more sense.
- 6. Here is the silliest example yet that I found on 'LIFEtime'
liquid Cal/Mag sold by Puritan's Pride and many others... **Calcium (as
Citrate Elemental)... 600 mg** This makes no sense -- treating 'Citrate
Elemental' as two logically connected words on the label is the same as
treating a 'Soup Sandwich' as two logically connected words on a menu.
Elemental applies to the element Calcium, not the substance Citrate. This
may be a wonderful product; however, I'm begging you to never buy it for
one really big reason -- I spent 40 minutes of my life on the phone trying
to determine if the 600 mg was Elemental Calcium or Calcium Citrate. I
was not successful -- I still don't know. Consequently I want to punish
them for insulting my intelligence and wasting my time.
- 7. Here is another "Law of perversity of nature"
that ranks right up there with the universal law saying "the other
line at the store always moves faster -- until you get in that line...
then the line you left moves faster." If a supplement label only says
**Calcium... 1000mg** and the form is nowhere else on the label, it is
ALWAYS Calcium CARBONATE! This is because it is the inferior form, so they
want to hide that fact. If it were the more expensive form they would proudly
put it on the label -- shout it from the roof-tops!
- ...Life seems mostly about what you are NOT told,
- Another note to my Black friends -- African Americans
are several times as likely to have high blood pressure. And what
do you suppose is the most important supplemental complex for this condition?
That's right! Calcium and Magnesium (especially Mag)! Unfortunately there's
a problem. Even if a conscientious Black woman knows the following 2
- 1. Dairy is a poor source of Cal/Mag.
- 2. Cal. CARBONATE and Mag. OXIDE are very poorly absorbed.
- Here's the problem... why does she still have high BP
and the early signs of osteoporosis? Most Dark-skinned people in the US
are Vitamin D deficient because they don't make much, if any, Vitamin D-3
from the sun, and Vit. D is necessary for calcium absorption. People of
color should take oil-filled, soft-gels of Cholecalciferol (Vit.D-3) or
take Cod Liver Oil soft-gels which also provides natural Vit.A & the
powerful Omega-3s, EPA & DHA.
- Closing out, the recommended amount of 400iu of Vit.D-3
is woefully inadequate... people should get 1000 to 1200iu daily in divided
doses. By the way, the Vit. D in probably 98% of the milk in the US uses
the inferior Vit.D-2 instead of D-3 (Sun, fish, quality supplements).
I suspect you are something less than surprised by now...
- 'Till next time -- question everything! Your life depends
- Well be.
- Alan Graham
- Phone -- (334) 774 0395