Are You Absorbing Enough Calcium to Prevent Osteoporosis?

Preventing osteoporosis takes a lot more than calcium and exercise. Find out how your ability to digest your food affects the strength of your bones.

Nutritional and medical experts often urge us to get more calcium in our diets, and to use calcium supplements. 

You are what you eat, right? 

Not necessarily.

Rather, you are what you digest. Digestion and absorption of your food is probably the most overlooked, and yet the most essential part of nourishing the body.  You may consume the healthiest diet imaginable, but if you don’t absorb the nutrients in the food you eat, your body does not benefit from all of your careful planning.

Are You Absorbing Enough Calcium to Prevent Osteoporosis

We need minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus, and potassium, to build our bones. If you are not conscientious about your diet --- or even if you are--- your ability to digest and use protein, carbohydrates or fats can create imbalances of bone-building minerals. As we mature, our bodies change through the aging process. Prescription or over-the-counter medications can also modify how our body functions.  Medicines, or age related reductions in digestion capacity can contradict the intended effects of even the best nutritional plans.

Protein + Calcium = Osteoporosis Prevention.  

Protein plays an essential role in bone health for two reasons.  First, when bone is formed, calcium and other minerals are deposited on a matrix or lattice of protein fibers.  Secondly, the protein in our blood transports calcium throughout the body. During our growing years, protein is essential to the process of bone formation.  After adulthood and into our senior years, protein continues to be essential to our overall health. Yet older adults have compromised protein digestion.

Poor protein digestion affects the body’s ability to absorb and carry calcium.  Age related decreases in stomach acid, or antacid use reduce the amount of stomach acid that’s necessary for protein digestion. After age 40 our ability to make stomach acid declines. By age 60 approximately half of all people do not make enough stomach acid to effectively digest their food. If you don’t have enough stomach acid, you will not digest your protein efficiently.  You will be unable to absorb your calcium, because stomach acid must be present for calcium and other minerals to be absorbed.  

Medical experts have acknowledged that antacids and acid-blocking drugs promote weak bones.  A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that people over the age of 50 who took acid blocking drugs for a year or longer had a 247% increased risk for hip fractures.  While the pain of heartburn shouldn’t be ignored, there are natural ways to eliminate heartburn without causing bone loss.

Learn more about the natural approaches to prevent the pain and damage of heartburn and acid reflux without putting yourself at risk for osteoporosis at one of our free seminars.

You take a calcium supplement, is that enough? 

Again, not necessarily.

Anyone who eats large amounts of sugar and white flour can develop a calcium deficiency.  Diets rich in simple carbohydrates promote imbalances between calcium and phosphorous which results in the body losing calcium.

Even if you don’t consume large amounts of refined white flour and sugar, excessive fat intake, poor digestion, and utilization of fats also promotes calcium loss.

Signs Of Calcium Deficiency

• History of bone disorder, spurs, osteoporosis

• Muscle soreness and weakness

• Loose teeth

• Anxiety, hyper-irritability, insomnia or restlessness

• Cold hands and feet

• Low back pain, weak joints or ligaments

Taking antacids or acid blocking prescription medications

If you have compromised digestion, or take acid blocking drugs, no amount of calcium supplements will protect you from osteoporosis.  Anyone who tells you different has forgotten basic biochemistry and physiology.  Fortunately, dietary modification combined with the right enzymes can improve your digestion and restore the absorption of the essential nutrients.  To identify and correct the cause of your calcium deficiency and help you to maintain strong bones we use a thorough fasting and non-fasting digestion challenge test combined with a 24-hour urine analysis.   

Dr. Patrick Giammarise, DC, Internal Health Specialist, Founder of the Digestion Relief Center, in Chico,  specializes in effective, natural relief for IBS, food sensitivities and digestive problems. Learn more at

Published in the Chico Enterprise Record Healthbeat April 2009.

2009, © Dr. Patrick Giammarise, DC. All Rights Reserved.

Digestion Relief Center 

2639 Forest Avenue, Suite 120 Chico, CA 95928


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