The Case for Taking Vitamin D Separate from Calcium

Vitamin D is essential to the optimal health of nearly every organ and tissue in the body. Studies have found vitamin D supplementation to be beneficial in strengthening bones, boosting the immune system, reducing the incidence of high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, autoimmune conditions, inflammation (the root of chronic disease), and many other health conditions.

Here’s the paradox: Vitamin D is essential for calcium metabolism and, when taken simultaneously with a calcium supplement or calcium-fortified food, increases the absorption of calcium from the intestinal tract. This might seem like a good thing, except that it may be adding to the already excessive calcium levels in the body. We want calcium in our bones, not calcifying our arteries and triggering inflammation that leads to more calcium loss from the bones. (See Why I don’t Take Calcium).

Studies have indicated that adequate vitamin D blood levels lower the risk of fracture and improve bone mineral density.

Other studies show bone loss and calcifications throughout the body when there is an excess of vitamin D, much like an excess of calcium.

Calcium taken alone showed no protection against fractures. Vitamin D taken apart from calcium showed the same degree of protection against fractures as when it was taken with calcium.

Bottom line: We need optimal levels of vitamin D for good health, without supplementing in a way that contributes to excess calcification in the body. Excess vitamin D levels can pull calcium out of bones. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that can be stored in the body for many months and slowly released, even after supplementation has been discontinued.

To know if you have optimal levels of vitamin D, have your blood levels checked every two or three months until you are in the optimal range. Then, continue to monitor your levels about every six months.

The current recommended target range for vitamin D levels is between 40 and 80 ng/cc. Dr. Levy, in his book Death by Calcium, recommends a long-term maintenance range of between 50 and 60 ng/cc. The best tests measure 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is the preferred form, not vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol).

Read the ingredients on food and beverage labels for the common additive of vitamin D2. Also, consider avoiding these products when calcium has also been added. This is commonly found in plant-based milk alternatives.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

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Magnesium’s Role in Balancing Calcium

For a review of why I don’t take calcium and how an excess is linked to osteoporosis and other chronic degenerative diseases, read Why I don’t Take Calcium Supplements #1, #2, and #3.

When calcium blood levels are high, you’ll most likely have a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium has been called nature’s calcium channel blocker, helping to keep calcium levels in check.

Studies have shown that excess calcium can contribute to calcium deposits (like kidney stones and atherosclerosis) and that magnesium helps dissolve calcium deposits.

Magnesium helps reduce inflammation by lowering excess calcium in cells that induces inflammation. This, in turn, helps keep calcium in the bones and reduces the risk of other chronic degenerative diseases.

Chronic inflammation due to calcium excess is frequently found in those with cancer. Studies have shown that those with a higher magnesium intake seem to have less risk of colon, lung, and rectal cancers. One study showed that post-menopausal women with breast cancer had a higher calcium to magnesium ratio than those without breast cancer.

It is difficult to take toxic levels of magnesium (check with your doctor if you have kidney problems). As long as an excess of calcium is present inside the cells, magnesium is needed to balance it.

Just like prescription calcium channel blockers, magnesium supplements may lower blood pressure temporarily. In those with already low blood pressure, this may be a problem. If this happens, stop taking supplemental magnesium until your blood pressure returns to normal, and then reduce the amount until it doesn’t have a negative effect on your blood pressure.

Just like vitamin C, if you experience diarrhea when taking magnesium, you can adjust the amount until you achieve bowel tolerance.

The word following magnesium (oxide, citrate, glycinate, malate, phosphate, carbonate, etc.) is called an anion. The anion helps you choose the best supplemental form. Dr. Levy, in his book Death by Calcium, recommends magnesium glycinate in his osteoporosis treatment protocol. He says it is well absorbed, is less likely to cause diarrhea, and is made from the amino acid glycine, which has other nutritional uses in the body.

My least favorite forms are carbonate and oxide, and I take Magnesium Complex, which is a combination of malate and citrate.

A good starting point is to get your blood levels checked for calcium. If you have excess blood levels, consider taking a magnesium supplement. If you do take calcium supplements (I don’t), be sure to take additional magnesium. Calcium helps muscles contract, and magnesium helps them to relax.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

The Addiction Summit is online and free this week!

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.