The Truth about Calcium…
A few days ago, we received a call from a client that has been actively using some of our products for over twenty years. I met him at a trade show way back when, and usually only saw him face to face for a little while two or three times a year – at the tradeshows. After we ceased doing most of the Tradeshows back nearly a decade ago, we speak on the phone usually 2 or 3 times a year when he calls in to order for himself, and his family. It’s always good catching up with those people we have been able to actually meet and talk with enough to form a bit of a personal relationship with over time. For those that actually know us, we try very hard to treat people THE WAY WE’D LIKE TO BE TREATED… with honesty, integrity, and ethics! Helping when possible.
During the conversation, one of his questions stuck out: “I heard this doctor guy talking on the radio yesterday about Magnesium & Calcium, and their importance to the body, and I was thinking ‘WOW – that’s what I’ve been taking from MD’s Choice, but do I need to be taking more?’”
The answer to that is generally simple:
If you are an adult male, don’t have any bone breaking or density issues, no recent bone surgeries, or kidney stone issues: NOPE (for him, in particular, the 2 to 4 capsules a day is likely all your body needs. More won’t harm you (at least with our product), but it won’t likely help you either, if you don’t have a deficiency of those nutrients; and most men don’t.) For other males… if you don’t have bone density or kidney stone or heart issues… if your diet is reasonably consistent and balanced, and your health is generally good, you probably don’t NEED more ‘calcium’ – or this product.
However, IF you are a female, especially one with any bone density issues… had three or more children, or are planning to have children, or have either heart or hormone regulation issues, then you likely would benefit from our quality ‘Mag-Cal Plus’ supplement.
However, calcium supplements are as vastly different as ‘transportation.’ Virtually anyone can quickly see and understand the difference between legs, a skateboard, bicycle, car, bus, commercial airplane, and fighter jet… though they are all technically ‘transportation.’ There are at least 17 different forms of calcium, and whether the body can even see or use them, and how much, is equally as different, and important to the reality of biological availability (bio-availability). Knowing THE TYPE is vital to the math, but figuring all that out can be tough, because many manufacturer’s and supplement sales don’t make it easy.
Calcium is probably the most surprising and easiest mineral to misunderstand. There are many different forms: carbonate, citrate, and chelate being the three most common forms found. The most common forms on store shelves are generally not the best, most useful, or most bio-available… especially those ‘big box’ stores; but they continue being on store shelves BECAUSE a) people don’t know any better, b) carbonate and citrate are the LEAST EXPENSIVE FORMS TO PRODUCE, and c) those two have the LONGEST SHELF LIFE (seriously, rocks don’t degrade much in plastic containers). Therefore, FORM MATTERS!
The next most important factor is that calcium REQUIRES stomach acid to be freed, on the molecular level, in order to even be used by the body. This is especially true when in a tablet or capsule form. When a company combines calcium with an antacid (like Tums® has done), the benefit is the antacid, NOT the calcium! Sure, there is calcium (carbonate) in those chewable tablets, but there is also ANTACID which reduces the acid levels in your stomach (raising the Ph level) and making it very difficult (if not impossible) to break down any nutrients, much less the calcium. Talk about defying logic and marketing misinformation! There are some prenatal products and osteoporosis advertisements that actually suggest pregnant women take Tums® for their calcium content. At least one prenatal formula actually included a roll of Tums® (stating the roll is included for CALCIUM content! Really! Talk about misinformation and lacking the reality of nutritional needs). Why the OB/GYN’s and Nutritionists didn’t doubt EVERYTHING THAT company said, did, presented, also proves that many ‘regular’ doctors either don’t know, or really don’t care, about nutrition! Science has repeatedly proven stomach acid is absolutely necessary for effective calcium uptake and absorption. Our doctors knew in in 1995, yet 25 years later, most supplement companies and general health doctors remain either unaware of these findings or continue to completely disregard them.
While ‘form’ of the ‘combination’ of calcium WITH (fill in the blank) is the most vital information you need to know, there are some that claim ‘liquid’ is the best ‘delivery method’ (and ‘form’ to get your calcium in). That is another thing that isn’t always true for a few reasons. Because calcium is heavy, and tends to settle to the bottom in liquid… but more importantly, some of the stuff that is included with the calcium is NOT STABLE IN LIQUID for as long as it is when it’s dry. In general, liquids require refrigeration after being opened and have a shorter shelf life. Of course, that depends on WHAT OTHER nutrients and ingredients are included. But don’t assume that just because it’s liquid it’s some how magically better, it’s usually not.
Co-factors (cooperative nutrition):
With nearly all nutrients, there are certain combinations of OTHER nutrients and factors, that make them MORE (or LESS) effective within a body. For Calcium, the form it’s initially in (i.e., type of calcium), the Ph level of the stomach acid are just two of the key factors… next are the addition of certain key nutrients: Magnesium, Boron, Zinc, and Vitamin D. (All key active ingredients to Mag-Cal Plus, already combined in the proper quantities to optimize absorption and function within a mammal’s body, which the doctors & nutritionists with MD’s Choice formulated back in 1998 for Women’s Health Group… and those other people AND ANIMALS in need of supplemental calcium). These co-factors & co-enzymes participate as either ‘carriers’ or ‘the catalysis’ (the process of increasing the rate of a chemical reaction) by adding a substance (electrons or ions) that works with, or helps, the other substance (in this case Calcium) work better, faster, more. These ‘cooperative nutrients help the calcium actually get optimized within your body more efficiently, more completely, and in ways that taking calcium by itself, in whatever form, could never accomplish.
Some other Calcium factoids:
It is impossible for more than 250mg of elemental calcium to be in a single capsule or even compressed tablet that can be swallowed by a normal human being (not counting chewable tablets, or sword swallowers). This means that all those products claiming 500mg (or higher) calcium tablets on the market are not really giving a person that much calcium. It’s ‘marketing magic’ and scientifically untrue. So, the question then becomes what actually makes up all those milligrams beyond the 250 and what is the density of everything else INCLUDED IN THAT TABLET or capsule?
Take a look below to learn HOW to ‘do the math’ to find out if you can determine exactly how much of a nutrient is actually in a supplement.
In the nutritional supplement world, it is truly a “Buyer Beware” and you better seek facts from the right people (that know NUTRITION), or you are going to be wasting money trying to solve problems or maintain health with products that just aren’t doing the job; not to mention the fact that you might actually harm your health because you’re not really giving your body the nutrients it needs! (either not enough of some things, or too much of others)
Here are two different ways that the amount of minerals (such as calcium and iron) are listed on bottles:
- In the combined form (no mineral can be delivered to a body in its pure form), which has the name of the mineral and the name of whatever it is combined with listed after the name of the mineral. Or,
- The elemental form (the actual amount of the mineral minus whatever it is combined with).
You ALWAYS want and need to know what the elemental amount (real amount of the minerals) that you will be ingesting. How do you tell the difference? Well, if the company is dishonest, it is nearly impossible. However, based on the March 1999 FDA labeling regulations, all nutritional supplements are supposed to designate the difference between the two forms. This is still a little challenging, but here are some examples that might help:
- Combined Form – “Calcium Carbonate…..500mg”. Only about 50mg is actually the calcium, approximately 10% of the carbonate version, but there are 500mg of “Calcium Carbonate” in total in that serving.
- Elemental Form – “Calcium (as carbonate)…..500mg”. There is actually supposed to be 500mg of calcium, which means that there really are about 5,000mg (or 5g) of the ‘Calcium Carbonate’ to get that elemental amount (500mg).
Then, there is:
- Not Specified – Nothing is stated in the Supplement Facts box. It just says “Calcium” with nothing, or meaningless numbers following some unique name (proprietary formula they claim… which supposedly contains a TOTAL of _____ from either a generic list of ingredients, or just ingredient names listed in the “Other Ingredients” (listed at the bottom of the facts box). Down there, it might say “Calcium _______” (fill in the blank) with the combined form of calcium that supplement uses, but no one can really tell just how much calcium is in the product. It is likely just ‘trace amounts’ OR even more commonly, just a bi-product of something else that it’s counting above (for example dried BROCCOLI contains some calcium, as well as a few other key minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants). Odds are they listed the total combined amount in a ‘proprietary formula’ or are trying to maintain some flexibility in the formula, knowing that it changes from batch to batch. Either way, primary actives are supposed to be listed in nutritional supplements box, and failure violates the March ’99 FDA label regulations.
The differences on the science side, are as big as the Grand Canyon; but on the consumer side, are down played, subtle, and even hidden a bit. Until the doctors involved in the start of MD’s Choice, and the formulation of all the key products, pointed it out to be in the 90’s, I would have never understood the real world meaning of these subtle differences. They weren’t taught in my college nutrition courses in the 80’s. Sure, I may have noticed the differences in a side by side label comparison, but I thought it was just a “style thing” different companies did. NOT TRUE! It’s important and something we, as consumers, need to learn & pay attention to if health and nutrition are important to us. Not only is it a real FDA regulation, it is also the main difference real science-based companies employ to designate the differences between the forms of ingredients and calculating formula ratios and balances. It’s akin to the difference between a REAL ROLEX and a cheap knock-off sold on some street corner. One is designed with a specific value, clear functional purpose to really work, and do what it’s supposed to… the other designed just to GET YOUR MONEY, and give warm fuzzies for a short time allowing you to fake it! The two are nothing really alike. They do not serve the same purpose, and their results are nothing alike. It’s not like ‘generic drugs’ vs prescription, which – by law – are both regulated and HAVE TO BE VERY CLOSE TO THE SAME in function, usability, efficacy, and contraindications (side effects, and negative interactions with OTHER drugs or treatments).
FORM MATTERS! IT really is important. Without knowing the form, a person CANNOT figure out the actual (elemental) amount of a given ingredient in a product, making it impossible to calculate, much less even approximate, the amount of the actual mineral that is available to your body for actual use. Without knowing the form, it is impossible to make serious educated decisions and ensure you are getting enough (or not too much) of the specific mineral your body needs.
Most blood pressure issues react positively to calcium and magnesium supplementation. Under no circumstances should ANYONE stop taking their prescription medication without their doctors’ knowledge, as their doctor has done many tests and knows the individual patient’s medical history. However, there are many (over a thousand) studies that show increasing calcium and magnesium intake (in the proper forms) can help the body maintain a healthier state of being and better regulate the blood pressure levels. Magnesium & Zinc are also key to proper cardio support, and we do have an amino acid chelated (AAC) Magnesium product that can really help most people. It might be worth talking to your doctor about.
Mood swings and PMS are just part of life, and all women have to deal with that. Not True! This is another thing that is only fractionally true. Calcium, magnesium, boron, and zinc can definitely have dramatically positive effects on women suffering from such chemical imbalances. There is a whole lot of real science on those topics, and we’ve personally experienced it with our family, friends, and clients for over 25 years!
Kidney Stones are NOT caused by too much calcium, like many of us were told growing up. They are actually caused by not having enough calcium in your diet (food and supplementation). So, if you have an issue with getting Kidney Stones, odds are you are either NOT GETTING enough of the right type of calcium OR you are eating something that is leaching the calcium from your bones, and having your body think it needs to store calcium some place other than your bones for future use.
The following are some scientific abstracts (research results) that might help you understand the importance of nutrition to your body, and life. We broke out many on the topic of Calcium to help those looking for more specific information.
The doctors formulated the “MAG-CAL PLUS” product to specifically address the body’s needs. Combining the correct nutrients, in forms the body can readily use and benefit from. Further, these Mag-Cal Plus capsules aren’t just for people… as they’ve been used by veterinarians to help speed the healing process in dogs, cats, and other mammals that have had broken bones, bone surgery, or other issues requiring these special nutrients. (which are discussed in the Why Supplement? article)
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask; and we’ll try to help get you an answer.
I know I’ve said this before, but when we are asked the same questions by different people, we try to write up an article, add or adjust a web page, or otherwise create some type of document so many others can see the generic answer and hopefully benefit also. THANK YOU to those that bother to read these emails, our websites, and those that offer help & make suggestions. Education & quality information has been one of our primary goals since 1995. We sincerely appreciate the interaction, and try to respond to all calls and emails in a timely fashion. If ever you don’t hear back from us with 72 hours, PLEASE REMIND US. Odds are we are either looking up or searching out the answers, or the confirmation for the correct answer, or you’ve sadly fallen through the proverbial cracks for some reason. Maybe it was a busy order fulfillment or government inspection day, or something needed repaired, or else required our immediate attention. Orders and phone calls nearly always come first… with emails next.
If you read our last email, the following is just a reminder: We sincerely hope the information we share, and the doctors we’re able to get answers from, can help those of you bothering to read, listen, and interact with us. Our team is here, ready to serve and answer questions when we can; however, we are NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR YOUR DOCTOR, but here to help supplement them in their treatment protocols. We will continue to do things to the best of our ability, and will always hope everyone is doing well.
Our ‘products’ are for joints, bones, digestion, and general broad-spectrum health. We have been SHIPPING our product TO doctors, clinics, pharmacies, and customers all around the USA since 1998, and continue doing so on a daily basis.
If you order something you normally get from us before 3pm EST, know that it will usually be processed the same business day, or the next business day. In general, orders of 1 to 12 bottles, or shipments under 20 pounds total, will ship USPS (Postal Service), heavier orders will ship UPS or by semi-truck (if pallets are required). We prefer to ship in quantity to resellers, but if we don’t have a reseller in your area let us know. If you help us get one started by referral or other means, you can earn a rewarded for your help.
If you are curious what we have, you can find a list of our most common products at www.VetSupplements.com or www.mdschoice.com You are welcome to call, email, or contact us if you have any questions… or are looking for a reseller in your area.
For all those that have emailed, called, and ordered over the last month… THANK YOU.
Warmest Regards, Best Wishes… and Stay Safe…
Terry Mercer, President
MD’s Choice, Inc.