Pocket Medicine (2): Calcium story – from intake experts to metabolic experts
Motto : As soon as healing takes place , go out and heal somebody else. Maya ANGELOU
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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↓).
- 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.
- 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.