Pocket Medicine (2): Calcium story – from intake experts to metabolic experts

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Some Critical Calcium Metabolism…Secrets

At my arrival in America (1997) I have met with an interesting situation apparently paradoxical: 90% of the Americans suffer from calcium excess while 80-90% (so in great part are pretty much the same group) exhibit calcium…deficiency. No paradox: it is possible due to a deviated metabolism to have intracellular  and / or serum calcium deficiency (ionized, soluble Ca i) and at the same time intracellular calcium excess (bound calcium: Ca b). A great error would be now to treat the functional / ionized calcium deficiency through ( eventually toxic!) supplementation with calcium virtually ignoring the intracellular calcium deposit. However the so-called “ intake experts ” ( most of American experts are ”  intake experts “, with their very limited competence : take this , take that) are inertially following this scheme, sometime temporary improving the symptoms while aggravating the cause itself; unfortunately this Cartesian scheme is even presently applied contributing to the deterioration of mineral homeostasis and equally to the progressive amplification of slow oxidizer condition. It is then surprising that 80-90 % of the American population is characterized by underactive adrenals (the equivalent of slow oxidizer condition)? Here acts a simple  mathematical rule : in  any Western society the  percent of slow oxidizers is  proportional to the number / activity of  intake experts. Obviously, this is the methodological price paid for the long, long prevalence  of a Cartesian  simplistic / additivist attitude;  a remarkable exception: one of the best American metabolic experts resides in Texas: Dr. Paul ECK ( Unfortunately, Paul died in 2006 – cancer ).

The right solution of the problem consists not in calcium supplementation but rather in activating of the toxic deposit. Regarding myself I have come to this metabolic expert  explanation through overcoming some difficult methodological surprises ( initially I was an intake expert too ) that I will expose below since they are decisively contributing to the understanding of the “calcium mystery / paradox “ both by specialists and laymen.

  • First revelation: the functional calcium deficiency (Ca i ↓) does not appear out of the blue but it is caused / generated by…the excess of bound calcium (Ca b ↑) according with the dynamic equation:

Ca b ↔ Ca i

In the case of underactive adrenals (slow oxidizers group) this equilibrium is moved toward the bound toxic state (Ca b), resulting in a deficiency of functional calcium in the tissue / cells.

  • Second revelation: the excess of bound calcium (Ca b ↑) is caused on its turn not by calcium intake but rather by…copper excess  Cu ↑: indeed copper in excess “freezes” adrenals (diminishing the optimal amount of aldosterone and sodium necessary to maintain calcium in soluble, ionic state):

Cu↑ → Ca b↑

 

  • Third revelation: how does copper excess appear? Here we deal with a surprise being compelled to look for an answer beyond biochemistry and toward psychical /mental factor. Indeed the copper  (intracellular) excess is due to excessive, permanent stress –  a genuine plague of contemporary Western society:

Stress↑ → Cortisol↑→ Metallothionein↑→ Cu b↑

  • Fourth revelation : How much ( Calcium ) is too much ? About a decade ago I was very interested to read / analyze  the interview of  a celebrated international expert in Calcium supplementation ( believe me : his name is less important than his ideas ). Here and now I want to elaborate  just about  his very curious response to an innocent question : What you think, Dr. X , about the Calcium excess ? His reply was / is indeed a… ( fourth ) revelation: “ I think Calcium is the only one of which you can take  as much as you want…” Please forget immediately this …expert advice because otherwise your health , maybe even your life,  is / are  profoundly endangered. Why? Because  the calcium excess constitutes a genuine metabolic bomb! Have a look to how many  crucial  minerals and vitamins are  drastically diminished :

Cab ↑ → P ↓,Cai ↓, Zn ↓, Mn ↓, S ↓, Cr ↓, vit. C ↓,….

Let me  translate this chemical algebra in plain English- excessive calcium equals: low protein synthesis; underactive thyroid ( suboptimal metabolic rate that is stubborn obesity and much more ); estrogenization; hyper-oxidative stress, etc. Now you can understand my ” weird ” opinion  that an arthritic pain could be a God send message to you : hello, friend , you just got a small calcium ( excess ) problem, resolve it carefully to avoid that unending chain of …expert complications. Now, please, compare the Dr.X’s opinion to/ with  the  balanced, responsible answer/ solution   to the same  problem, due  to one of  my preferred metabolic experts Dr. Paul ECK : ” Without calcium  you can’t live. The problem arises  when calcium starts to deposit  in your body in a bound form , instead of a free  ionic form that is biologically active. Even in its free form  you need very tinny amounts of calcium.” Dr. Eck’s  response seems to be  incomparable more accurate, right? Of course it is, but…Not so fast! If you re-read it carefully you’lldiscover some …shaky Dr.X ‘ s type  implications. For instance , and the most important of them, is that the bound form of calcium( Ca b, in my notation )is not some  neutral /passive  issue  ( according Dr. X  conviction ) but it is even more biologically active than  the free ionic form, the best proof being  the unfinished chemical algebra painted by meabove.In other words, Ca b ↑ is indeed a genuine metabolic bomb and this is the only crucial point of this post because  most Americans ( 8 out of 10 ! ) have  Ca b ↑ and they ( and their  medical professionals  ) don’t know how exactly  to diagnose and normalize it.

Fifth revelation – MAGIC IS BALANCE:  Fruits and… Calcification

There is a general agreement that the metabolism is a  dynamic  complex system / process containing  a lot of  feed- backs and feed-back systems, meaning that any simple ( more correct simplistic ) solution could actually be counterproductive, harmful. In these situations the rescue comes from a golden rule (with a definite Asian flavor): see the whole picture. One example: in 2002 in the Wilmette area, Illinois two older people (let’s name them Linda and Greg) were advised by a superficial nutritionist, former construction engineer (let’s name him Igor) to liberally consume vegetables (fruits / legumes) especially as juices. To reach this goal Igor provided them with a  latest juice extractor and recommended replacing the drinking water and even their  regular daily soups with freshly squeezed juices. After a promising but short start the surprises followed: arthritic complications here and there, muscle cramps, vestibular dysfunctions (loss of balance = Mn↓), all of them explained by Igor as…normal   aging effects. When Linda and Greg started to have some heart problems (angina)  they’ve realized that their situation is much more serious and that aging is not the  true culprit, this way they approached me as a metabolic expert. After a minimal examination my diagnosis was clear: the main culprit was none else but…Igor, respectively the excessive consumption of  fruits / legumes. Indeed the two patients on the course of a few months arrived to a state of advanced mineral – hormonal dishomeostasis having the PTH (para thyroid hormone) mechanism permanently deregulated, also  involving an uncommon hypercalcemia with the well-known consequences: arthritis, atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, cardiovascular complications, … Interesting : all these problems were mainly  generated by a huge potassium excess K ↑↑ (to note that bananas for example contain 500 times more potassium than sodium!) which together with other biochemical factors such as sugar, vitamin C, etc. have determined a drastic chromium deficiency (the normal chromium being crucial for the optimal functioning of para thyroid gland): K↑↑  →  Cr↓↓; Sugar↑  →  Cr↓; Vitamin C↑  →  Cr↓ (Fe↑  →  Cr↓).

Some emphasizes:

  • Health XXI is an educated choice
  • Fruits/ legumes are essential but only in normal quantities; consumed in excess they may become dangerous even lethal!
  • Seniors do not have osteoporosis because of lack of calcium as much as because of chromium deficiency
  • Some experts (especially those belonging to the intake expert group) focus their attention toward the primary effects ignoring / undervaluing the secondary ones.

Sixth revelation : Calcium & Magnesium – a very atypical relationship

Several years ago I’ve asked a professional nutritionist if Ca / Mg intake ratio of 2:1 is a correct one. His answer was: no, things have changed, presently the correct ratio is 2Mg: 1Ca. In reality taken in abstract all these ratios are just simple arithmetic games since the correct, scientific ratio depends rigorously on the biochemical individuality (genetically established) and it can be 5:1, 1:1, etc. A prime organizational impulse in this no man’s land was brought by the Metabolic Typing science. Dr. George Watson for instance, was the first one to caution us that a fast oxidizer does not need any Mg supplementation since he already has intracellular Mg  excess ( related to the calcium ), the right solution in this case being the metabolic control of this excess. In other words, the Mg / Ca supplementation in ratio 2:1 for a fast oxidizer represents a toxic supplementation just as in the case of prescribing  Ca supplements for slow oxidizers, of whose cells are already saturated in calcium. It results that the specialist questioned should have answered me that there is no magic ratio, valid for all patients, but that it has to be taken into account their metabolic type ; for details see the book : The Metabolic Typing Diet, by William Wolcott and Trish Fahey, BroadwayBooks, New York, 2000. Another important aspect that unfortunately is often omitted:  normal metabolic concentrations of Ca and Mg ( 1 : 1 or so ) can be concomitantly administered since their relationship is synergistic, but if any of the two minerals is in excess (for instance 10:1) then their inter-relationship is radically changed becoming an antagonistic one:   Ca↑ → Mg↓    or     Mg↑ → Ca↓ There are real situations when this antagonistic relationship becomes very important such as in the case of  slow oxidizers (about 90% of the American population !) who consume milk and dairy products (containing 10 parts Ca to 1 part Mg ). This type of consumption can be considered toxic twice: on one side, Mg absorption is blocked becoming extremely deficient (  Ca↑↑ → Mg ↓ ↓ ) and on the other side, Ca in excess amplifies the slow oxidizer character. I will quote here the opinion ( especially valid for the slow oxidizer group )  of a metabolic expert Dr. M. Laux: “Calcium is the last thing you need to build healthy bones.” If you think this  phrase is  somehow weird, think again : seriously speaking ,osteoporosis is not at all a decalcification but rather a  complex demineralization process ,  involving no less than 45 minerals! Therefore , administering  a feast of minerals (calcium, magnesium, strontium…) means not a genuine regeneration of the bone but at best  a slow degeneration ! What you need to start / maintain a  real regeneration ? Anyway, not  some  magic ( ? ) supplements but, first of all, a new  life style, including a  regenerative diet, replacing the previous , degenerative one.

One last aspect that I wish to emphasize regards a fact ignored by most professionals: definitely, calcification is one sided phenomenon. Just as shown by Dr. Ronald Roth (see his Acu-cell blog) the excesses and deficiencies are usually distributed in the organism not only symmetrically,based on blood circulation but even asymmetrically, based on neurological articulation of cellular receptors that can be left sided or right sided. For instance, cramps to the right leg show Mg↓ in this leg and, eventually, in the whole  system , while cramps in the left leg show Ca ionized deficiency, respectively Ca bound ↑ ( Similarly, conjunctivitis to the right eye means Cu f ↓ and to the left eye means Cr↓). Now , believe me or not : most intake experts , including the ” legendary ” ones , consider  this specific detail as pure folklore and if you ask  help for  the  right leg cramps, they say : no problem, take some …calcium pills, so aggravating your problem ( Ca ↑ → Mg ↓ ). Of course , this is the shortest ( and …painful ) way to become a folklore fan! Be sure, I did it years ago.

Coffee / Caffeine and loss of taste: the 7th revelation

This 7th revelation is dedicated to an unusual but extremely important physiological aspect since it affects the health of numerous people, big coffee lovers (such as myself), who after a relatively long period of daily above average consumption (2-4 cups) could find themselves exposed to a very dramatic surprise such as the loss (partial or total) of taste. This physiological surprise has at the base the following scheme:

 

Coffee / Caffeine Calcium ionized ↓

In the last few years the Japanese researchers have published interesting data in regards to some taste metabolic enhancers such as the dipeptides GluVal and GluLeu that act on the taste buds, respectively on the Calcium channels on the tongue (see the picture above, for the sweet taste only) amplifying reactions due to calcium ions. After 2005 I was rather more interested by the reverse process of finding some taste inhibitors as well as to clarify the metabolic mechanism of their action. My approach was based on the simple fact that some hard coffee drinkers after the first coffee cup have their sweet taste  drastically diminished (50% or less). Alternatively the disappearance of the taste due to Ca 2+deficiency is often accompanied by the so-called canker sores (small painful ulcerations) in bucal cavity that last several days, being associated with the Helicobacteri Pylori amplified action. The explanation of the fact summarily represented by the above scheme can be translated in plain English as follows: Coffee (due to its copper content) and caffeine (due to its well known antagonism toward ionized calcium) reduce in a combined manner the intensity of taste through desensitizing of taste buds and the afferent calcium channels on the tongue. In a broader context this process – which can result in a total loss of taste as well as the dangerous diminishing of immune system activity – can be connected with intense, chronic stress according to the scheme:

Stress Copper bound→ Calcium bound↑ → Calcium ionized ↓ → Taste↓ + Risk of Infections↑

Traditionally the doctors were inclined to correlate the deficitary physiological status of calcium with the suboptimal bone metabolism (osteoporosis) and atherosclerosis; from the seven revelations presented in this article we can infere that the metabolic implications of this vital mineral are much more ample. Now the question is : knowing the mechanism of taste loss what can be done to restore it?

From the proposed solutions (which are strictly referring to coffee / caffeine excess) the best one seems to be Salba seeds taken twice a day, 5 gr each between meals, doubled by a capsule of D3 (cholecalciferol) vitamin, every capsule containing 800 – 1200 IU. If after 1 -3 weeks you can restore your initial taste my suggestion is to dedicate…your first coffee cup to the 7th revelation. Attention : don’t forget  my  basic  distinction : the Salba procedure  ( be it successfully or  not )  means  no more than an intake expert  try : looking to the above chemical equation , you’ll observ immediately that the toxic deposit ( Calcium bond  ↑ ) is still there , stubbornly  waiting for a …metabolic expert.

 

Conclusions:

 

  • The main ( attention: I didn’t say ” the only one ” ) cause of soft tissue calcification is stress via intracellular copper excess;
  • The maximum calcification takes place during winter (due to diminishing levels of vitamin D in the organism) and during nighttime (due to blood acidifying and correlatively the activation of PTH (para thyroid hormone) mechanism;
  • The vitamin D excess is also dangerous since the main function of this vitamin is to bring calcium in the bloodstream; you will need some fatty acids to transport the calcium to target tissue. If fatty acids are deficient, the target tissues ( bones, especially ) are…out of business and  toxic calcification of soft ( not target )  tissue is produced.
  • The main explanation for the rising number of slow oxidizers (over 80% of population) is the uncompensated stress, see details in section “Copper Overload – the Western Metabolic Bomb” on this site.

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