Another big factor is Vitamin D status. So the more we have good amounts of Vitamin D the more we can regulate calcium. The more we can make sure it mineralizes and does not calcify. Vitamin D is something that in the past our ancestors got it from the sunlight. They were outside and more unclothed and their skin reflected the amount of sun exposure they had. So darker skin blocks Vitamin D synthesis. So if you have dark skin and are out in the sun more constantly you will get appropriate but not excessive amounts of Vitamin D.
White skin and light skin allows it to absorb quicker. So if you are lighter complected and European areas are in the distant past you would have less sun exposure then those in more equatorial regions of the world. You know Africa or the Middle East. So the lighter skin allowed you take up Vitamin D more quickly from the less sun exposure. It seems the opposite but what happens is that the pigment blocks Vitamin D formation. It’s not how much our skin absorbs because dark colors absorb more heat and more light. No the pigment that causes our skin to change in color changes how much we absorb Vitamin D by blocking it. So our ancestors got more from the sun.
There was also more than they got from animal foods. Especially animal organs. They would eat quite a bit of organ tissue. We do not as much. If we did have liver, kidneys or heart in our diet we would maintain more of that. The other factor is our bathing. So the fact that we bath and shower regularly that makes us less able to assimilate Vitamin D on a regular basis.
So Vitamin D is good to take in supplemental form. It’s good to track as well. We now know that there are certain blood levels that yield wonderful health benefits. Current guidelines suggest 50 – 75 mammograms per mil. People are different in terms of how much they take to achieve that range from one to the next. Average is about 5,000 to 10,000 units. There are some that need less and some that need more but it is good to watch and that will help your body to make sure calcium is behaving.
Another big nutrient that is also fat insoluble is Vitamin K. Vitamin K is named K because it was involved with clotting reactions. It was actually a German term for clotting that caused that to tie in. Vitamin K is also critical for calcium to behave right. There is a compound called oxalate that allows calcium to mineralize and Vitamin K creates that effect to occur. Vitamin K is also in leafy greens. So again leafy greens got some good versions of calcium but they also have Vitamin K which helps make good use of the calcium that we do have.
Another relevant factor is our magnesium status. The better we are in magnesium the more apt calcium is to do the right stuff. Magnesium is something that most of us are low in, unless we are very strategic about our diets or we are supplementing with it. Some studies have shown that among people who have reported to emergency rooms, half or more are deficient in magnesium using tests that only show it when it’s more advanced. So it’s a big problem. Its super important for the health of your heart. The health of your bones. So in some cases, the bad that calcium does is related to simply that lack of magnesium to properly balance it and oppose it.
The densest food source of magnesium. The single densest one of the commonly available foods would be Adzuki and they are wonderful things. You also do see them as Adzuki or Aduki. They are small red beans. They are very tasty and you can get them pre-cooked in can forms. More so in health food supermarkets or you can get them dry and they cook up pretty fast. Faster then many other beans and they are wonderful. Next best dense source would be almonds and they are also a nice source of magnesium. Pumpkin seeds are good sources as well and leafy greens are wonderful.
Greens have a compound called chlorophyll and chlorophyll is a lot like hemoglobin that we have in our blood. Its a lot like plant blood. Our hemoglobin is iron based and that is why our blood is red. So plant chlorophyll is more magnesium based and that difference between magnesium and iron makes it green versus red. So plant blood has magnesium and human blood has iron. The more green things we eat the better we are in terms of our magnesium, our Vitamin K and our calcium status.
So calcium is a double-edged sword. You want to mineralize and you do not want to calcify. So eat your greens. Tag on some calcium malate to the diet. Do be aware that calcium from dairy foods and from insoluble sources is counterproductive. Stay active. Get some healthy sun. Track your Vitamin D and you should do great. Thanks for tuning in. We will talk again real soon.
Good Health, Dr. Alan Christianson