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Bone Health & Calcium – with Dr Teitelbaum – your SV Ayurveda Newsletter June 2, 2022 – #19 Vol 12

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Is Calcium Necessary for Your Bone Health?

~ Dr Marianne Teitelbaum 

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An estimated 43% of American adult men and women take calcium supplements, according to the National Institute of Health. When someone thinks about their bone health, or maybe they have been told they have the beginnings of osteoporosis, which is called osteopenia, or maybe they have full-blown osteoporosis, the first thing most people think of is to take a calcium supplement.

But…please don’t rush out and take calcium without understanding everything you need to know about the types of calcium to take, the best way to take it, and how to balance it against magnesium. This is important because after analyzing 10 years of medical tests on more than 2700 people in a federally funded heart disease study, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine and elsewhere conclude that “taking calcium in the form of supplements may raise the risk of plaque buildup in the arteries and heart damage, though a diet high in calcium-rich foods appears to be protective.”

What the study showed was that people who took calcium supplements had calcium plaque deposits in their arteries, while those who ingested even very high doses of calcium in their diets showed no such effects. Their arteries were much cleaner with hardly any calcium deposits, causing them to state, “There is clearly something different in how the body uses and responds to the calcium found in supplements versus getting the calcium through the diet that makes it riskier. It could be that the body is unable to process the calcium supplements.”

Let’s look at this issue further because it’s a very important one.

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I remember Vaidya Mishra, my Ayurvedic teacher and mentor, leaned over to me one day when we were seeing patients together and he said, “You know, when I feel the pulse of someone taking a calcium supplement, it feels like it’s sitting in the arteries, clogging them and not absorbing into the bone.”

And the ancient doctors of India over 3,000 years ago wrote in their textbooks that a calcium supplement should have certain properties. First: it must be found in nature in the ocean, alive, and filled with pranic energy. Nowadays the calcium supplements are made in a lab, devoid of nature’s healing energy. Therefore, in Ayurveda we search the ocean for pearls, red coral, white coral, and snail shells in order to meet this first requirement. The second requirement was that once collected, these various types of shells and coral needed to be incinerated for several months, repeatedly burnt into an ash. And each time they burn it, the molecule become smaller and smaller until finally it becomes what is called a “nanoparticle,” a microscopic molecule that is so small it can now easily be absorbed out of the bloodstream and into the bones and teeth.

Somehow the ancient doctors knew that the raw unprocessed calcium molecule was too big to be absorbed into the bloodstream. And they knew all this without microscopes! 

So part of the issue then is about the type of calcium you are taking. The resultant ash that is formed when you burn the coral and pearls in this way is called a bhasma. We recommend bhasmas of coral calcium, pearl bhasmas, and a wonderful bhasma called, Praval Panchamrit, which is a mixture of pearls, shells and coral. Praval means coral, panch means 5 — so five types are used; and amrit means a nectar or ambrosia.

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So Praval Panchamrit is used as the premier Ayurvedic calcium supplement, readily absorbed out of the bloodstream and into the bones and teeth. It is also used for other ailments besides bone health, such as alkalinizing the blood and the urine. And since it is so cooling it is used in cancer where the inside of the cell is acidic. The nanoparticle of the cooling coral calcium can go deep into the inside of the cell to alkalinize it and cool it down, preventing the growth of cancer.

The Ayurvedic texts refer to more than 20 sources of calcium, but coral calcium is considered to be the best. And Vaidya Mishra’s ancestral lineage processed the coral calcium under the moonlight with rosewater for 11 nights to infuse the calcium with soma, nature’s cooling energy.

But in addition to taking the proper calcium, you have to be able to digest and assimilate it. This is why we pay lots of attention to the friendly bacteria in the gut, which are responsible for its digestion and absorption.

And you must also look at Vitamin K2, Magnesium and Vitamin D, all of which help the absorption and the assimilation of calcium into our cells.

Vitamin K2 directs the majority of the calcium we take into our bones and teeth. We definitely don’t want it to roam and get deposited in the joints, which could cause arthritis, or calcifying our organs, glands and arteries. The problem is that our diet provides little Vitamin K2 which could result in older people suffering from calcification of their brain, joints, glands, heart valves and arteries. It is basically found in fatty animal proteins, so nowadays people are following low fat diets to improve their heart health and cholesterol levels when, ironically, this leads to low levels of Vitamin K2. It is however, found in full-fat dairy products, which is why we always recommend ghee and boiled full-fat milk, neither of which will clog the arteries. In fact, ghee has one of the highest amounts of Vitamin K2 than any food, even 3x more than butter and 20x more than whole milk!

And one very important fact about Vitamin K2 — nearly everyone is taking it as a supplement along with their Vitamin D, since it is so necessary in sending the calcium to where it’s needed and keeping it away from areas where it is not needed. HOWEVER, AND THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT: the type of Vitamin K2 that we get in supplements is the MK-7 type, not the type we get in food, which is the MK-4 type. Vitamin K2 MK-4 from animal fats, such as milk, ghee and butter are quickly absorbed in the body and is stored in the brain, salivary glands, testes, sternum, face, pancreas, eyes, kidneys, bones, arteries, veins and other tissues. But unlike MK-4, MK-7 is not stored in any organs.

One study showed that K2 MK-7 supplementation had no effect on bone loss rates. Lots of other research on MK-7 vs. MK-4 states, “The research points strongly to the conclusion that humans need to get their Vitamin K2 as MK-4 from food sources. After all, we evolved eating Vitamin K2 MK-4. It is already in the form that the body needs and we don’t need to expend enzymes and energy to convert it. The organs and cells that need Vitamin K2 readily absorb and utilize the MK-4 form. And finally, MK-4 is more efficient than other forms, appearing in food with other synergists and activators that work together to maintain its therapeutic effects. It can’t be stressed enough that the type of Vitamin K2 that we get in supplements is MK-7, not the type we get in food. The best way to get active and efficiently assimilated Vitamin K2 is from food.”

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We also need to factor in magnesium when we think about calcium supplementation. Most everyone is deficient in magnesium due to stress — the stress hormones released by the adrenal glands flush the magnesium out of the body. And just about every pharmaceutical depletes magnesium levels. To make matters worse, the soil is also very depleted in magnesium. We recommend taking magnesium chloride. It is better than the sulfate form found in Epsom salts. Our patients take it through the skin in various magnesium creams, roll-ons, and abhyanga oils used for daily oil massage. We also recommend magnesium-rich foods such as avocados, cooked spinach, soaked and peeled almonds, cashews, whole grains, seeds, yogurt, and lentils.

Adequate levels of magnesium are important for the absorption and metabolism of calcium and Vitamin D. Magnesium converts Vitamin D into its active form so that it can aid calcium absorption. Magnesium keeps calcium dissolved in the blood so that it doesn’t deposit into the arteries. The average American diet contains high calcium-low magnesium. So this fact, combined with taking too much calcium and not enough magnesium can cause some forms of arthritis, kidney stones, and calcification of the arteries as the excess calcium gets deposited in these areas.

The ratio of calcium to magnesium should be anywhere from 2:1 to 1:1. Most people do not get their minimum daily requirement of magnesium, causing a high calcium low magnesium ratio of of 4 or even 5:1. So you can see then how important it is to use your transdermal magnesium products if you want to take a calcium supplement and use good dairy products such as boiled whole milk, yogurt and soft curd cheeses. You must balance out all this calcium with magnesium to keep the correct ratio of calcium to magnesium.

Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium and is best obtained through the sunlight. The sun’s ultraviolet B light hits your skin, turning the cholesterol in your skin into Vitamin D3 which has to be processed by your liver and kidneys into the active form of Vitamin D that your body can use. So this means that you must get outside exposing as much skin as you can to the sunlight, without burning it of course, and keep your liver and kidneys in good working order. 

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During the winter months when you can’t expose your skin to the sun we offer our patients a transdermal version of Vitamin D. And if you can’t bring up your Vitamin D sufficiently through the skin, take it orally, but don’t overdose — some doctors are recommending extremely high doses which could overwhelm your liver as it tries to convert all the Vitamin D flooding into the bloodstream which would never occur at such high doses naturally from the sunlight. It’s best to keep your dose around 3,000-5,000 units per day as opposed to taking 50,000 units once a week as is quite often recommended.

So you can see it’s not as easy as just taking a calcium supplement. You need to educate yourself on the best sources of calcium found in foods and supplements, but also how to digest and assimilate the calcium so that it doesn’t get deposited into places you don’t want it to go, such as your arteries or your joints. And it’s good to understand how Vitamin K2, Magnesium and Vitamin D all play a role in the assimilation of calcium into the body.

I hope you found this information valuable as you search for ways to keep your teeth and bones strong into old age.

Here’s to your ayurvedic health, 

Dr. Marianne Teitelbaum

to book an appointment or for more information: 

(856)786-3330

www.drmteitelbaum.com

Did you miss Dr Teitelbaum’s talk on the Gall Bladder from April 14?

CLICK HERE TO WATCH
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SPRING DETOX NEWS

In our seventh week of Spring Detox, we were delighted to have SVA Certified Ayurveda & Marma Practitioner Carol Nace (CAP, LMT, FMCHC) to guide our Samadhi Marma session. Find out more about her offerings and services: www.bodhi-ayurveda.com

 We then delved into xenobiotics, aka: Garavisha! This is such an important topic nowadays, for it is the silent insidious toxin that penetrates slowly but surely. Vaidya Mishra has given us so many powerful protocols and tools to help detox on this front, including a fabulous “Garavisha tea” and much more…. 

We then shared our experiences detoxing, and many wonderful questions came up and we all exhanged experiences, anecdotes, memories, and recipes! The Green Protein was our highlight this week. We have one more week to go, and many of our participants are already experiencing more clarity and lighter bodies after a few weeks of detox. It’s been a fun ride this year. Namaste. 

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