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Author Topic: Milk Causes Osteoporosis
Crono
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I was eating dinner with a few friends yesterday and was surprised when two of them admonished another person for drinking milk. They argued that milk actully causes osteoporosis rather than preventing it and that the person was putting himself at risk by drinking milk. Their argument was that the calcium in milk is acidic and therefore causes bone mass to decrease. They both said that they received this information from their doctors.

This goes so much against "common knowledge" that I had to question it. Now, I know that things that are widely regarded as fact are often untrue, but it seems to me that the FDA and other organizations would not be promoting milk so much if it were so dangerous. Therefore, I decided to do a little research.

I did find a few web sites that agreed with my friends, but they give differing reasons for why milk is bad. For example, one site said that milk contains large amounts of protein, and too much protein reduces bone mass (if this were true, too much protein from any source would be bad for you). Another site said that milk causes an excess of calcium to attach to the bones, and the bone cells wear themselves out more quickly trying to rid themselves of this excess (if this were true, too much calcium from any source would be bad). None of these sites talked about the calcium in milk being acidic as my friends stated.

What makes me skeptical is that most of these sites were either vegan or animal rights sites which could hardly be considered unbiased. Furthermore, there is still a load of research that says that milk prevents osteoporosis (although my friends insist that this research is funded by dairy organizations that want to increase the sale of milk). Right now, I don't buy their argument, but I wanted to see if my fellow snopesters had anything to add about it.

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Rhiandmoi
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Well, what about osteoporosis and the rest of the world. Most of the rest of the world does weight bearing exercise on a daily basis. They call it work. Weight bearing exercise increases bone mass.

Besides that, I commence googling for articles. Calcium is required for tons of body functions like muscle contractions and others I can't think of right now. That calcium has to come from somewhere.

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Giselle
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So far the only mention of milk causing osteoporosis i've found was at Peta and that is far from a reliable source. I hate milk, always have and take calcium pills to make up for lack of udder juice, so far so good.

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mrs.hi-c clown fishies
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I recall hearing that milk can aid in causing osteoporosis, but can't remember where I heard or read that. I think it had something to do with your first reasoning about the protein stripping away the calcium...Besides, if it was an article in a magazine or something, they also mentioned that it would be possible only in large portions of milk--like 2-3 gallons a day. ummm....yeah....it's too bad that your friends will bash an evil milk-drinker. Sheesh...do they do that when someone orders a beer?

mrs.hi-"good for strong bones"C

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
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As I understand it, orange juice is a better medium by which to get calcium, anyway, as (as I understand it) the vitamin C helps aid in calcium absorption by the blood stream. Or something like that.

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CynthiaAnn4900
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How the body uses calcium

Above is a link to information about calcium. Very interesting article.

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ranran yousei
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Causes osteoporosis? I wouldn't go so far as to say that, but I'm not of the belief it helps terribly to prevent it either. The protein in milk would have an inhibitory action to a certain percentage of the calcium milk provides. The exact amount, I'm still trying to discern.

Milk/dairy is an excellent source of calcium, hence it's promotion. Meaning, if you pick apart the compound, you will find lots of lovely calcium floating around.

Having calcium does not quarentee you will 'get' much of it, at least for the bones. There are necessary other components that must be present, like magnesium, in goodly amounts. Processed dairy tends to be low in magnesium. Magnesium is like the usher, telling calcium what to do (over simplifying). Added vitamin D helps the absorption.


Having a severe time constraint, I'll briefly explain the protein problem: a byproduct of protein digestion is uric acid, which in low amounts is easily handled by the body. To counter the effects of the uric acid (which is acidic), the body uses calcium. If not enough is available loose in the bloodstream, it will pull it from the banks of the bones.

This isn't to say milk robs the bones, however, the calcium it provides is available to be used to counter the effects of the uric acid. Now imagine you just washed down a nice steak with a cool glass of milk. Basically, what it does is gives a means by which your body doesn't have to pull from the bones (or as much from them, depending on the circumstances of the meal).

If all you ate was dairy, it'd be fine. If you eat your green leafies, you'll do even better, as they provide calcium, magnesium, and tons of other vitamins and minerals the body uses to build bones.

Bones are mineral banks, not just calcium.


ranran "out of time" yousei


Edit: typos.

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Crono
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quote:
Originally posted by mrs.hi-c:
...it's too bad that your friends will bash an evil milk-drinker. Sheesh...do they do that when someone orders a beer?

Actually, they did tell the milk-drinker that he had no right to criticize smokers because, according to them, milk is just as bad for you as smoking.

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ranran yousei
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quote:
Originally posted by Crono:
Actually, they did tell the milk-drinker that he had no right to criticize smokers because, according to them, milk is just as bad for you as smoking.

Eesh.

That's beyond drastic. Smoking is known to be carcinogenic, whereas milk (particularly those that have been fermented, like yogurt) is showing promise in preventing colon cancers. Seems calcium, possibly vitamin D, the live cultures in fermented dairy, as well as fiber and other nutrients found in veggies and fruit, can all help reduce certain cancers of the intestinal tract.

Google: milk and colon cancer.

Google: veggies and colon cancer.


Whereas, I'm not fond of the whole "Milk, it does a body good" campaign, skim/low fat dairy, along with a healthy diet (we do know what one is, right?), isn't going to leave you in the ICU breathing from a tube like smoking eventually can.

There are hereditary conditions (and geographical genetics) that make digesting dairy difficult/impossible for many people, as well as there are those with sensitivities to certain components (like the casein in it), but likening these to something that has the potential to kill, is just plain silly.

Plus smoking's dangers affect the entire populace, not just a percentage, and it has the potential to inflict harm on others than just the users of the product... I have yet to hear of "second hand dairy dangers".


ranran "yes, I'd like a seat in the 'no milk drinking' section please" yousei

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fictional lie
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protein can indeed deplete bone mass, but not in any amount that could be consumed over the course of a normal lifetime. And not just the protein from milk, either. All protein.
Of course you can take all milk ads in the US with a grain of salt, because they all come from the Dairy Farmers of the US. They are MORE than biased, because they want you to buy their product.
European resaerchers are working on finidng out the effects of milk on the body, and if too much milk can really cause a depletion of bone mass. So far...nothing.

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PJC
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How about The nutritional needs for optimizing bone health easily can be met by a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables (five or more servings/day), adequate in protein but moderate in animal protein, and with adequate calcium and vitamin D intakes through the consumption of low fat dairy or calcium-fortified foods

Abstract courtesy of PubMed, which is put out by the National Library of Medicine. I know that almost all of my doctors use it for their own research.

I say "almost all" because I think they all do, but have only talked about it with most of them.

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Nolly
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quote:
Originally posted by ranran yousei:
ranran "yes, I'd like a seat in the 'no milk drinking' section please" yousei

YOMANK! [lol]

While I have heard that milk doesn't necessarily help build strong bones, I've never heard that it is detriment to them.
Personally, I've never liked dairy in most forms- milk, cream even butter (yes, I actually like margarine)
I really like yogurt and cheese though.
Strange.

Nol 'pass the unhydrogenated, low-saturated fat, cholesterol-free, non-dairy spread please' ly

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ranran yousei
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I do believe that's the first keyboard I owe someone. [Smile]
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Garth
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That's just more PETA propaganda.
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EEEK...It's Lara
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So mothers shouldn't nurse their babies, because they're actually stripping their poor little baby bones down to toothpicks?

Someone should spread the word!!

La "half pint" ra

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Giselle
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I think they mean milk from animals.

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Four Kitties
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Humans are mammals. Doesn't get much more animal than that.

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Giselle
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What I meant was milk coming from an animal other than that childs mother teat.

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Giselle
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waffles.

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Ralphie, get off the stage sweetheart.

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Avril
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I was going to start a new thread but found this one. My former roommate told me just this week when she was visiting that two doctors had told her to avoid milk because it strips the body of calcium, among other things. She said milk was very bad for you and she was going to stop drinking milk/eating dairy products because studies had shown it to have health risks. There were other ways to get calcium in your food, she said. (Like what? Spinach has a little, I guess, but other than dairy products you're pretty much left with supplements, aren't you?)

Looks like this one is going to be with us for a while.

Avril

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blucanary
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No actually all green leafy vegtables have enough calcium that if you consume enough more than make up for lack of dairy consumtion. But there are many more benefits to lowfat dairy than just calcium. I've heard the whole milk causing bone-loss before but only from PETA and the ilk. Never from a serious doctor. The only time I've ever heard a doctor tell someone to cut out dairy was when they had kidney stones.

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GranolaSuicideSpawn
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I seem to recall reading that there are countries which have far lower milk consumption, but also don't struggle with osteoporosis. Some of the areas mentioned were in Africa, and underdeveloped...so I don't know what else they have in their diet that accounts for this. I guess I didn't check it out much at the time, but it's something to look into; because AFAIK there are countless countries who drink a lot less milk than we do and yet don't have osteoporosis problems.

quote:
For example, one site said that milk contains large amounts of protein, and too much protein reduces bone mass (if this were true, too much protein from any source would be bad for you).
Too much protein isn't good. I remember when SlimFast and similar high protein "diets" came out, and the resulting heart problems even in young girls. A good balance of protein/carb/fat is the safest ticket.

On a more personal note I came very close to death two months ago (stopped breathing, heart stopped) and had been debilitated/disabled/in CONSTANT crippling pain - for years before that, all because of one thing - calcium. My parathyroids (which regulate the body's calcium) work ok, but my body for some unknown reason rejects their calcium-balancing output. Parathyroid problems often go undiagnosed for a long long time (20 years or so in my case) so it's a very good idea to have your calcium level checked. Too much calcium is just as deadly as none (I had basically none.)

The treatment is simple - monitoring and (for me) 8 Os-Cals a day, combined with various other nutrients in specific doses - Magnesium, vitamins A&D, etc. Just drinking milk probably won't help much with giving you a lot of extra calcium; considering that for the body to use it you need these other things. It wasn't even suggested to me to start drinking milk or consuming more dairy. Just to continue eating a balanced diet.

So take that, what it's worth, from someone who was literally at death's door for lack of this nutrient.

And for more information than you want on how calcium is used/regulated by the body, do some searches on the parathyroids.

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Johnny Slick
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quote:
Originally posted by Crono:
quote:
Originally posted by mrs.hi-c:
...it's too bad that your friends will bash an evil milk-drinker. Sheesh...do they do that when someone orders a beer?

Actually, they did tell the milk-drinker that he had no right to criticize smokers because, according to them, milk is just as bad for you as smoking.
*Spits an entire glass of milk on said smoker*

That was second-hand milk. Sorry, it's a hazard of hanging out with a chronic milk-drinker.

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medtchva
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Quoting from the web site:

http://www.cyberparent.com/nutrition/osteoporosiscausemilk.htm

"Yoffe explains, "Our bodies contain 2 pounds to 4 pounds of calcium, 99 percent of which is in our bones and teeth, the rest circulates in the blood where it is necessary for nervous-system function. Eating animal protein, which is high in sulfur-containing amino acids, requires the body to buffer the effects of those amino acids. It does so by releasing calcium from the bones, literally peeing them away."
"Americans commonly eat twice the amount of necessary protein with about 70 % of coming from animal sources. Vegetarians, the world over, obtain virtually all of their calcium from plant sources, in particular from leafy green vegetables."

It's not that we drink too much milk or take too many calcium supplements - we eat too much protein. Instead of having a small steak, we eat the 16 oz. one. Instead of a single hamburger, we go for the double or the triple. The body has to buffer the effects of protein metabolism, which causes acids. It does it by using calcium - the same as Tums, etc. use calcium to buffer stomach acid. So we are using up all the "extra" calcium - and possibly pulling calcium from bones if that's not enough.

There are two types of cells in bone - osteoblasts, which build new bone and osteoclasts, which break down bone. Theorectically if these cells are continuously working harder than normal, they could age faster and led to osteoporosis if they wear out before the rest of the body.

So drink low fat milk, take calcium supplements, cut back on protein and eat more vegetables.... and while you're at it, pass me the 12 oz sirlion....

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Friend of a Friend
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Believing anything that a PETA website says without reliable independent verification....... duddnt git much stoopeder then dat.
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TB Tabby
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No kidding:

http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Nebula/8085/mst/peta-xcap.txt

Here's a MiSTing of a PETA survey encouraging college students to drink beer rather than milk.

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Crono
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I posted this on the other thread on this topic, but I thought it would be helpful to put it here as well. This is an e-mail I received from someone who saw this thread. He or she gave me permission to post it but asked to remain anonymous. It is quoted exactly as it was in the e-mail, typos and all, except I wasn't able to reproduce all of the html formatting. All of the bolding and italics is from the author, not me.

quote:
Hi, I saw your notes posted on Snoopes.com. I read two dozen of scientific articles about the relationship between calcium and osteoporosis. I compiled the information below hopfully it helps you. By the way I am a research Biochemist by training I hope that helps.

*******************************************************

Excessive Calcium Causes Osteoporosis

1. The number of times a cell can be replaced is fixed. Accelerated aging of cells is about a higher turnover of cells; new cells replacing old cells more frequently. the replacement capacity will be exhausted eventually.

2. Ridiculously changing the definition of osteoporosis from “porous bones” into “low bone mass”. Osteoporosis is not about the inability to build strong bones, but about premature degeneration of the bones. High BMD (Bone Mineral Density) means (temporarily) stronger bones, but not healthier bones. BMD by itself does not predict osteoporosis risk. A natural low BMD due to a low calcium intake is protective against osteoporosis, for calcium turnover has been structurally low. A low BMD caused by excessive calcium turnover is dangerous and accelerates osteoporosis.

3. Chinese consume very little milk (8 kg / year), and hip-fracture incidence, therefore, is among the lowest in the world; hip- fracture incidence in Chinese women is 6 fold lower than in the US (The average American consumes 254 kg milk / year). If less calcium is consumed, the bone-cells age slower, and a low calcium intake throughout adolescence has been shown to both retard and prolong longitudinal bone growth in rats.

4. Estrogen inhibits both the uptake of calcium into the bones and deportation of calcium from the bones. Estrogen prevents the death of osteoblasts

5. The absorption of calcium requires the activity of specialized cells: osteoblasts. Only osteoblasts can compose pre-calcified bone-matrix, upon which the calcium can precipitate without the matrix, the calcium cannot precipitate, and new bone cannot be composed while old bone is constantly being decomposed. When replacement cannot occur, porous holes will begin to appear. 50 to 70% of the composing osteoblasts die in the composition of new matrix. There is only abou t 200 mg of calcium is absorbed into the blood daily. In order to absorb the right amount of calcium, absorption rate decreases when we consume more calcium. If we consume too much calcium, the absorption rate cannot be sufficiently decreased. . Why is extra calcium absorbed in the bones. it is to prevent blood-calcium level from rising too much. Muscles can only function if calcium from inside the muscle cells can be deported outside the cells. If blood-calcium level were too high, this wouldn't be possible; it would be lethal since breathing requires muscle-action. To save your life exce ssive dietary calcium is temporarily stored in the bones, prior to excretion.

6. Deportation of calcium from the bones requires the activity of osteoclasts. Normally the blood contains a total of 500 mg calcium. The difference between highest and lowest blood-calcium level is only 26%, thanks to the three different hormones that prevent our blood from containing too much (or too little) calcium. When too much calcium is consumed, the calcium-hormones are very active, stimula ting absorption of calcium into the bones, and subsequently deportation and excretion. The more this processed is accelerated, the more the bone erode.

7. Three Hormones that regulate calcium : Calcitonine , PTH (Parathyroid hormone), Calcitriol (Vitamine D).

8. Calcitonine inhibits deportation of calcium from the bones. Calcitonine stimulates excretion of calcium through the urine.

9. Calcitriol increasing the uptake of dietary calcium into the blood, also the uptake of calcium into the bones. Calcitriol also inhibits secretion of PTH. And because PTH is much stronger than calcitriol in stimulating the uptake of calcium into the bones and the subsequent deportation. Supplementary calcitriol can in fact strongly decrease uptake of calcium into the bones and subsequent deportation. Since calcitriol also increases intestinal calcium absorption, therefore increases blood-calcium level. Too much calcium in the blood can precipitate in the arteries, joints and ligaments and kills muscle cells (since muscle cells can only contract by deporting calcium outside the muscle-cells, which is harder if the blood contains more calcium). Too much calcitriol / vitamin D can cause arterioscler osis, bone-deformation , muscle cramps and fibromyalgia.

10. Parathyro id hormone (PTH) stimulates uptake of calcium into the bones and deportation of calcium from the bones , and inhibits excretion of calcium, generally increasing a low blood-calcium level and inhibits excretion of calcium. Logically elevated RTH level accelerate aging of the bones. Low level of PTH prevent bone loss. PTH also stimulates secretion of calcitriol



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moonfall86
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First thing I thought when I saw this topic title was "Were you reading PETA propaganda?"

I think I started a thread exactly like this one a long time ago.

Too much calcium isn't a good thing, no. If the concentration of calcium ions is too high, it can cause problems with heart contractions. (can't remember if it was arrythmia or too many contractions. Too much potassium isn't good either)

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ranran yousei
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quote:
Too much calcitriol / vitamin D can cause arterioscler osis, bone-deformation , muscle cramps and fibromyalgia
[Confused]

The body creates Vitamin D from cholesterol in the liver when our skin is exposed to sunlight (without sunblock). The amount we can get from say 20 minutes in the sun is far greater than a single supplemental source. I forget the exact numbers, but it was at least 10,000 IU or some number that made me literally go [Eek!] when I was reading the research last year.

Too little Vitamin D can cause bone deformation. Look at rickets. While rickets and osteomalacia are extreme examples of vitamin D deficiency, osteopororsis is an example of a long-term effect of vitamin D insufficiency. (I'll be linking to that same page later.)

Muscle cramps have various reasons. To blame only one thing would be grossly inaccurate (agreed the author wasn't necessarily blaming only Vitamin D). Vitamin D excess being a cause for some cramps would be news to me, but then, I've heard stranger things. Usually lack of nutrients, especially minerals, is suspected.

Now, to do the quote and link thing. Pardon the annoyingly loooong post. (Am I famous for this yet?)

From a PubMed Abstract:
quote:
Vitamin D deficiency is often misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia.
(Huh... that's new to me. But knowing some of the symptoms of D deficiency, such as muscle weakness and joint pain, I can see that possibility.)

From the rest of the article (obviously snipped):
quote:
The vitamin D content in milk is often less than the label proclaims it to be, and thus the contribution of vitamin D from the diet is highly variable.
Milk containers need to be ones that don't let light in. Glass bottles and even those semi transparent plastic jugs allow light in, destroying certain nutrients, like Vitamin D.
quote:
The skin has a large capacity to produce vitamin D3. Blood concentrations of vitamin D3 were compared in healthy young and middle-aged adults who were exposed to simulated sunlight that was equivalent to being on a sunny beach and obtaining enough sun to cause a slight pinkness to the skin (1 minimal erythemal dose) and who took an oral dose of vitamin D2. The exposure was equivalent to an oral dose of  - 20 000 IU vitamin D2.
Do not attempt to take that high of a dose in supplement form. It won't kill you, only make you sick until the body processes it through. Supplemental D and 'home made' are metabolised slightly differently. Doses (accidental) as large as over a million IU supplemental form have been documented with no permanent side effects, just illness and hospitalization until the body metabolizes it.


Another PubMed Abstract, mentions Vitamin D subnutrition (inadequate nutrition) is often found in fibromyalgia patients.

More on fibromyalgia, from Medline.

One woman, severe muscular cramping, Vitamin D deficiency.

Back to my first link, the Office of Dietary Supplements (yes, the government has such an office) regarding Vit D:
quote:
In adults, vitamin D deficiency can lead to osteomalacia, which results in muscular weakness in addition to weak bones [5-6,9]. Symptoms of bone pain and muscle weakness may indicate vitamin D deficiency...
(Note: many researchers disagree with the RDA of Vitamin D, considering it much too low, especially in this day and age of lack of sunlight - sunblock, indoor jobs, etc - and are requesting the FDA review and rethink the minimum.)

Pretty much everything I could find at PubMed linked Vitamin D with a possible connection to atherosclerotic calcification and arteriosclerosis, but it's not 100%. There were a minority of studies showing it might help prevent it. So far, looks like it might contribute however.


Just for kicks: Harvard School of Public Health page on milk, calcium, Vitamin D, etc etc etc...


Moonfall, calcium can interfere with the heart, yes. Magnesium on the other hand is used to help aid it. Potassium is used by the body to help regulate heart beat, it can also help lower blood pressure and risk of stroke (among other things). It is rather difficult to overdose on potassium or magnesium, unless you do so with supplements. Too much supplemental magnesium can result in diarrhea. If you get past that, then you can start seeing things like muscle weakness and extremely low blood pressure. Beleive it or not, you would have to well excede the upper intake limit by a few thousand milligrams on a regular basis to get there. Diarrhea on the other hand can happen at a low dose, and on the first time taking it. Too much potassium. Hard to get that though, unless there's a medication interfering or a medical condition. Supplemental potassium, unless by prescription, cannot exceed 99mg a pill (a few slip past this in a loop hole, most trustworthy companies won't do that). It's rather difficult to pass the upper intake levels at 99mg a pop. Expensive too.

Generally speaking, if you have a good diet that includes lots of fruits, vegetables and grains, potassium supplementation is unnecessary. Diets high in sodium added processed foods on the other hand should either be switched to a healthier diet (preferred), or have added potassium to counteract the sodium (for the stubborn salt lover). Same goes for magnesium and calcium, really. A good diet covers them pretty well.

"Early signs of magnesium deficiency include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. As magnesium deficiency worsens, numbness, tingling, muscle contractions and cramps, seizures, personality changes, abnormal heart rhythms, and coronary spasms can occur [1,3-4]. Severe magnesium deficiency can result in low levels of calcium in the blood (hypocalcemia). Magnesium deficiency is also associated with low levels of potassium in the blood (hypokalemia) [1,19-20]."

Magnesium listed in treatment for arteriosclerosis.

Not only can calcium harden tissue and arteries, interfering with the innerworkings of our circulatory system, calcium is used also in the electrical impulse sent by the nerves to contract muscles. Magnesium is used in the impulse to relax them. Magnesium and potassium are both used to help lower blood pressure, where limiting calcium is also recommended. Magnesium is also considered and used as a calcium channel blocker, since it vies for the same receptor sites in the body, and when a calcium channel blocker is required, the added benefit of magnesium is that not only does it block, it has a fairly opposite affect on the body than calcium.

Pretty cool, huh?


ranran "I talk too much sometimes, I should just take a pill and relax" yousei

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