How much calcium should children be consuming to prevent problems later in life? A new study reports that eating more dietary calcium won’t reduce the risk of bone fractures as your children grow into adulthood, See, the May 24, 2011 news release, “Increasing daily calcium will not reduce the risk of fractures in later life.” Is it true that the more calcium a person takes in through diet, the less the body produces of a kind of vitamin D — calcitriol? What’s calcitrol? It’s the active form of vitamin D that’s formed in the kidneys (and also can be made in the laboratory).
So if your child consumes excess amounts of calcium, will the child in later years have prostate problems? After all, calcitriol has been shown to reduce replication of prostate cancer cells. So should you feed your child foods that help the child’s body produce a healthy amount of calcitrol?
The research founded that dietary calcium intake and risk of fracture and osteoporosis, according to this new prospective longitudinal cohort study. Whereas moderate amounts of calcium (around 700 mg a day) are vital for maintaining healthy bones, there is no need to start increasing calcium intake in order to reduce the risk of fractures or osteoporosis in later life, finds a paper published online in the British Medical Journal on May 24, 2011.
As people age, their bones lose calcium and they are more at risk of fractures and osteoporosis – this is especially the case for women. As well as causing individual suffering, fractures are a huge drain on health services. With ageing populations, this burden will increase in the coming years and therefore preventing them is a major public health issue, say the authors, led by Dr Eva Warensjö from Uppsala University in Sweden, according to the news release, “Increasing daily calcium will not reduce the risk of fractures in later life.”
The importance of increasing calcium intake to compensate for the loss of calcium has been debated for a long time and there is still no clear advice. This is reflected by the wide range of daily calcium recommendations for the over fifties – in the UK it is currently 700 mg; it is 800 mg in Scandinavia and 1,200 mg in the US.
In order to investigate the links between long-term dietary calcium intake and the risk of fractures, the authors reviewed data from a large population study of Swedish women carried out in 1987. More than 61,433 women (born between 1914 and 1948) took part in the Swedish Mammography Study and of these 5,022 participated in a smaller sub-research group. All participants were followed up for 19 years.
During the follow-up, 14,738 (24%) women had a first fracture and, of these, 3,871 (6%) had a first hip fracture. Twenty percent of the sub-group had osteoporosis. The researchers used a series of questionnaires to gain in-depth knowledge of the participants’ changing diet and in particular their calcium intake and use of supplements and multivitamins.
The women also provided information about their menopausal status, whether or not they used post-menopausal estrogen therapy, their weight, height, smoking habits, how much physical activity they did and their educational attainment.
The results show that women had the lowest risk of having a fracture when they consumed around 750 mg a day of calcium. However, the fracture risk in women who started to increase their calcium intake over time did not decrease. There is some evidence that high intake of calcium may actually increase the rate of hip fractures, though the authors emphasize that this result needs to be interpreted with caution.
The authors conclude that while low levels of calcium intake (less than 700 mg per day) increase the risk of fractures and osteoporosis, there is no need to start increasing calcium intake above the amount of 700 mg per day. Increases did not further reduce the fracture and osteoporosis risk.
Do Excess Dairy Products Increase Health Problems for Some People?
The newest government food table emphasizes so many dairy products. Why? Three servings a day of dairy products are recommended. However, scientific studies are revealing that a diet high in dairy products (and also high in calcium) is not that healthy. In fact, studies appear in various medical journals showing high dairy intake is related to higher incidences of prostate cancer.
A Harvard study on the topic, published in October 2001, looked at dairy product intake among 20,885 men and found men consuming the most dairy products had about 32% higher risk of developing prostate cancer than those consuming the least. The link between calcium and prostate cancer suggested by the researchers reports that the more calcium a person takes in through diet, the less the body produces of a kind of vitamin D — calcitriol. And it is calcitriol that has been shown to reduce replication of prostate cancer cells.
View the PG Hard Copy video on uTube titled, “Don’t Drink Milk.” Think about what chemicals are injected into cows to get them to produce more milk, and of course, make up your own mind and opinions. Use wise food traditions. Be objective. Then decide for yourself. Sure it’s still somewhat wild on the Internet, but validate the facts you find with primary source studies and evaluations.
There is no need for a very high level of calcium added to most foods. When milk is consumed, most people don’t think of the hormonal factors in the milk and whether they are harmful or beneficial.
Studies currently reveal that a high consumption of dairy products does not decrease bone fractures in older women. In fact, studies show that there is no benefit to a very high dairy consumption. People need moderate amounts of calcium. Most nutritionists and physicians emphasize that what you eat should be balanced.
Instead of loading the calcium, most physicians advise people to walk and take regular physical activity. Strength training is fine for developing muscles and building the upper body.
Walking strengthens the lower body. With exercise, you may be less likely to fall or lose balance with age, especially when practicing exercises that build the ability to keep your balance—such as tai chi and chi gong slow exercises.
The main political issue surrounding dairy products and calcium requirements focuses on the heavy promotion of the dairy industry that dairy products help you lose weight. To the contrary, science has found out that there is a greater increase in weight gain connected with high dairy consumption.
You need calcium in your bones, not in your blood or arteries. According to Shirley’s Wellness Café, a holistic health Web site, “In a 12-year Harvard study of 78,000 women, those who got the most calcium from dairy products actually broke more bones than women who rarely drank milk.”
The facts are that you need small amounts of vitamin K and vitamin D to help absorb calcium. Do you know what foods contain vitamin K and D or whether you need to supplement with small amounts of these vitamins as supplements—or what is too much?
Unless you can read and understand articles in scientific and medical journals, you are as general consumers of food, literally kept in the dark, and that is a political issue. Men also have bone fracture problems associated with high dairy consumption.
A 1994 study of elderly men and women in Sydney, Australia, showed that higher dairy product consumption was associated with increased fracture risk. Those with the highest dairy product consumption had nearly double the risk of hip fracture compared to those with the lowest consumption.
According to an article published a few years ago by the Harvard School of Public Health, “Each year, osteoporosis leads to more than 1.5 million fractures, including 300,000 broken hips.”
Some nutritionists emphasize that consuming a lot of milk and other dairy products will have little effect on the rate of fractures but may contribute to problems such as heart disease or prostate cancer. On the opposite side of the nutrition issue is the dairy industry that promotes advertising stipulating that moderate dairy food consumption helps some people lose weight.
The final answers aren’t in. An extensive list of the calcium content of foods is available online from the site of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Many consumers don’t read or fully understand technical or medical language articles in medical journals.
The main sources of information on health and nutrition in plain language are mainstream media and general consumer popular paperback books and TV or radio shows on health written by doctors, dentists, and nutritionists speaking to the general public.
If the mass media doesn’t translate the data into plain language, the information doesn’t get into the general consumer health magazines or the daily newspapers. For example, how often do you read in the news about how calcium affects your blood pressure?
Studies found that data are consistent with an inverse association between dietary calcium intake and blood pressure. Another study shows an inverse association between magnesium and blood pressure. Which is it, calcium or magnesium?
If calcium excites, then magnesium calms, advertisements on supplements show consumers. We need a balance of what works best in our individual bodies.
That means calcium in certain amounts had been found in that particular study sample to lower blood pressure. But too much calcium raises blood pressure in some people in that sample. Some people do better with magnesium. Your body really needs multiple minerals in balance to what works right for you. It’s essential to tailor and customize what you put into your mouth.
The size of the estimate, the observed heterogeneity among studies, and the possibility of confounding and publication bias indicate that an increase in calcium intake above the Recommended Dietary Allowance is not recommended at population level for the prevention and treatment of high blood pressure. How do consumers learn whether publication bias filters down to readers through the mass media?
The biggest political issue in nutrition today is that information in medical journals is not being given frequently enough to the general public—the consumer, and the scientific terminology is not understood by the general reader seeking health information because the average person isn’t receiving information in plain language as to what is healthy.
Research and studies change as new information comes in. In 1980 foods touted as healthy in high amounts now are promoted as unhealthy in high amounts. Today, studies reveal the darker side of the effects of certain foods. The answer is a continuing warning that not all the facts are in yet and that nutrition research is ongoing.
Politics of Carbohydrates: The Glycemic Index
The Glycemic Index is a table of rapidly-absorbed carbohydrates such as cooked potatoes, white rice, and white bread. High glycemic foods have unhealthy consequences as they rapidly turn to sugar. Then insulin pours into your blood to reduce the sugar.
Thinking of the consequences of what you eat becomes a political issue when you consider the epidemic of type 2 diabetes among children in the USA today as well as increasing obesity in the population. Higher rates of stroke and heart attack also appear in populations consuming large amounts of white pasta, white rice, and soda. To combat the effects of high-glycemic foods is to replace them with whole grains.
Obesity among children and teenagers is a political issue when it relates to the proliferation of sweets, sodas, other high-glycemic foods in vending machines in schools and types of food in school lunches or snacks served.
Also another political issue is concerned with the types of exercise outside of school or physical education in the schools needed to maintain health. So whom do we believe when each year what worked one year doesn’t work right the following year, in some cases. Our outlook is to be prepared for change.
For more info: browse my book on How Nutrigenomics Fights Childhood Type 2 Diabetes & Weight Issues. Or see my book Infant Gender Selection & Personalized Medicine. Looking for an escape time-travel historical novel? Then see, Adventures in My Beloved Medieval Alania and Beyond.