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Calcium Metabolism

Calcium balance is absolutely crucial for your health and wellness. Calcium is the only mineral that has its very own glandular system devoted to maintaining its balance: the parathyroid glands. Why is the balance of calcium so important? We mostly think of calcium in terms of bone loss as we age and with arthritis or coronary artery calcification. Yet, every muscle contraction and every nerve impulse in your body depends totally on the proper calcium physiology.

Calcium exists either bound to proteins or as ionized (free/non-protein bound) calcium. Think of it like most of the calcium rides on a bus (protein bound) while the rest of the calcium walks as a pedestrian (free). It is kept in a tight ratio. Calcium also depends on phosphate, and the proper ratio of calcium:phosphate in the blood is 1:2.5. Thus, if the ideal calcium is 10.0, the ideal phosphate level is 4.0.

Information is delivered to the cells via calcium that can enter cells through special doors on the cell membrane. If you have too much calcium things can get overcrowded, and the opposite problem occurs if there is too little calcium. The other interesting thing about calcium is that it is the body’s band-aid for chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation creates destruction of connective tissues, and the body responds by depositing calcium to try and strengthen the tissue. This is what happens in arthritic joints and inflamed coronary arteries.

It is important not to over supplement with calcium. As long as the ratio of calcium to phosphate is balanced, it is safe to supplement with calcium. However, if phosphate is deficient or low (this occurs in states of extreme acid stress), you need to be very careful with supplementing calcium. Over-supplementation of calcium could lead to an excess of ionized (free) calcium, and that can tend to promote tissue deposition of calcium.

Author: Dr. David Luce

W. David Luce, M.D., P.C. is a Board Certified Internist in private practice in Boulder, Colorado. He is recognized as a innovator and thought leader in the integration of Western medicine with complimentary therapies.

Dr. David Luce | MD

W. David Luce, M.D., P.C. is a Board Certified Internist in private practice in Boulder, Colorado. He is recognized as a medical innovator, educator, public health advocate, and a leader in the integration of evidence-based Western medicine with complimentary therapies. Educated at Dartmouth, Harvard and Yale, Dr. Luce has over 20 years experience designing and implementing innovative treatment programs that restore health and wellness to his ...

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