Janice Stanger, PhD

Janice Stanger, PhD

Posted April 3, 2011

Published in Health

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Calcium Can Stiffen Your Arteries

Read More: calcium, calcium-alkali syndrome, dairy, heart attack, supplements, whole foods

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Calcium Supplements May Also Make Your Body Too Alkaline

Whole plant foods contain thousands of beneficial substances, including amino acids, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, complex carbohydrates, fiber, and phytochemicals, health-promoting nutrients found only in plants. These nourishing elements work together to form a vital tapestry supporting vibrant health.

Yet the media and commonplace nutritional advice focus on only a few isolated food components. Calcium is one of the most overhyped nutrients, largely because of the clout of the dairy industry. The myth is that osteoporosis is basically a calcium deficiency, and consuming lots of dairy products and calcium supplements will keep bones strong. This strategy pervades the 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This USDA report recommends the unreal amount of three cups of dairy or soy milk a day for anyone age 9 or older.

Supplement manufacturers benefit as well from concern about not getting enough calcium. Bottles of calcium pills, either as an isolated mineral or combined with other minerals or vitamin D, line store shelves with a dazzling array of choices.

Nowhere in the constant repetitive message of “calcium, calcium, calcium” will you hear about the hazards of consuming too much of this mineral. Here are three of the top concerns:ideal pH range 2_opt.jpg

• Your body could become too alkaline

• Your risk of kidney stones increases

• Your artery walls can become stiff and inflexible

Decreased kidney function (common in older adults) and certain popular prescription drugs lower the body’s ability to get rid of excess calcium and raise the risk of toxic excess. Yet older women are the ones most consistently hounded to consume lots of calcium.

Let’s look at the facts, not the hype.

You don’t want to be too alkaline. Your body very closely regulates its acidity, which is measured by a number called “pH.” Liquids that have a pH of 7 are neutral. Those with lower numbers are considered acidic and those with a pH over 7 are alkaline.

Your body’s preferred pH is 7.4, and survival does not allow much leeway. The full pH scale for all liquids runs from zero to 14. For people, a pH of less than 7.35 or more than 7.45 can lead to health problems. This is a swing of less than 1% of the full pH range. In other words, you cannot be in optimal health in 99% of the possible pH range found in nature.

A pH of less than 6.8 or more than 7.8 is deadly. This is a variation of 7% of the full pH range. In other words, you can’t even survive in

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