When the Delta Rhythm Boys released their song Dry Bones in 1960, they were referring to an ancient religious story of bones reconstructing themselves. We probably need to do a bit of bone reconstructing ourselves it seems!
The calcium mineral hydroxyapatite makes up close to half of our bone mass. This is something that you can also take a confronting look at if you want to appreciate the scale of humans and the amount of bone we leave behind with a walk through the catacombs of Paris. Not for the faint hearted but definitely a reality check on the number of people and time that went before us.
The calcium in your bones is constantly on the move, being built up by what you eat, which in its most efficient uptake requires Vitamin D for transport. But it is also being harnessed and reused in other metabolic processes. Some vital life processes that use calcium are signalling in our nervous system, supporting the turnover of new skin, helping your blood to clot and it is important in making muscles contract.
This is why severe calcium deficiencies are not just bone fractures, but skin disorders like psoriasis, alopecia, dry skin and brittle nails, lethargy, mouth and dental issues, poor blood clotting and heart issues. Most of us will not experience these symptoms even if we are calcium deficient, but we will run into poor bone health later in life.
As children, the build up is faster than the reuse and we are actively increasing bone tissue and density. As adults we tend to have a balanced uptake and reuse if we are healthy and get adequate amounts in our diet. Once we reach 50, we can often start taking out more calcium from our bones than what we put back in, leading to bone fractures and hip replacements.
This is why it is important that throughout life, we build up adequate bone mass with eating habits to last us through a healthy life.
However, in our recent clinical studies on gut health and diet, we took records of the dietary patterns of participants and analysed these for what might be missing nutritional factors. What really stuck out was low calcium intake; it was less than 50% of recommended daily intake! Magnesium was also on the lower side and is similarly important in bone health and Vitamin D activation.
When I looked into this, it turns out that this is a true reflection of the global status of calcium deficiency. A recent review indicated that half the worlds population is thought to be deficient in calcium – still! Even though it is the 5th most abundant mineral in the earths crust and it should also rank 5 in our bodies.
You should consult your doctor if you have concerns regarding your calcium intake and bone health. But in reality in our day to day lives, we should be able to get enough from our diet if we eat plenty of dairy, nuts and small bony fish like sardines. If you are living dairy free or not eating sardines, then maybe some additional thinking about sources of Calcium is something you should consider with your doctor. Supplements are often sourced from the earth in the form of calcium carbonate, but we use a biological marine resource from our local coastline with Sydney Rock Oysters.
As ALWAYS, it is about getting the balance right. If you have a diet rich in calcium sources such as plenty of dairy, sardine bones, or you have a hobby of licking limestone, then maybe you are getting enough. But you also need to balance it with the trifecta of Magnesium and Vitamin D, or the result can be rickets!
Making sure that you balance your calcium intake with Magnesium is easy to do with seaweed products, and in many of the PhycoHealth products the calcium and magnesium are nicely balanced for you. Otherwise in your diet, sources of Magensium include wholegrains, nuts and sprouts, including quinoa and amaranth, as well as pumpkin and sunflower seeds, sesame and almonds (check out Phukka, PhycoMuesli and PhycoBites as super sources of Magnesium). Our SeaFibre-CAL supplement, neatly balances the intake of Calcium from Sydney Rock Oysters naturally.
If you love chocolate then great! DARK chocolate is rich in Magnesium.
If you are vegetarian then soy products like tofu are also good sources of Magnesium.
An ideal bone health morning might look like some exercise (bone resistance creates better strength) in the sunrise (Vitamin D), a yoghurt smoothy (calcium) with Phybre (magnesium) or PhycoMuesli (Calcium and Magensium), or Cheese and avocado on wholegrain toast with Phukka in the morning sun (all of the above). If you didn’t have time for that, then a standby jar of SeaFibre-Cal can cover those busy mornings.
Stay strong with the salts of the earth and some seaweed!