Death by Calcium: Five Myths That Could Cost You Your Life
From childhood on, we've all heard it: "Milk does a body good." And most of us accept this "truth" at face value. But Thomas E. Levy, MD, JD, says that not only is our country's commitment to calcium not bringing about the desired benefits, but it's also actively sabotaging our health.
"Calcium is essential for bodily function, but as many non-mainstream healthcare practitioners have long known, there's a real and grave danger in pumping excessive amounts of it into our bodies," says Dr. Levy, author of Death by Calcium: Proof of the Toxic Effects of Dairy and Calcium Supplements. "Believe it or not, most of the adult population has no need for significant calcium intake, and that need rapidly decreases with age."
Here's the really scary part: An excess of calcium reliably promotes heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, cancer, and other degenerative diseases.
In Death by Calcium, Dr. Levy presents compelling scientific evidence that systematically debunks much of what Western society believes about calcium. The book explains why calcium is dangerous in excess quantities, why limiting it promotes health, and provides strategies to help readers begin to get their calcium levels in balance.
Here, Dr. Levy addresses five dangerous myths you probably accept as fact:
1. Calcium is good for you. "While osteoporosis involves a lack of calcium in the bones, it does not mean that there is a calcium deficiency in the rest of the body or in the patient's diet," explains Dr. Levy. "Excess calcium promotes health problems including heart attacks, strokes, cancer, and virtually all chronic diseases. In fact, it increases all-cause mortality by 250 percent."
2. You need to eat dairy products to get enough calcium. The government's recommended daily allowance of calcium is far too high, and you don't need dairy to get "enough" calcium. "Cultures that drink little to no milk have a much lower incidence of osteoporosis than Americans," Dr. Levy shares. "The average person's need for calcium is more than met with a diet including meat, eggs, and vegetables."
3. If you have osteoporosis, you have a calcium deficiency. If you have osteoporosis, you do have a calcium deficiency—in your bones. But throughout the rest of your body, it's likely that you have an excess of calcium. "The problem with osteoporosis is that the body is unable to synthesize a new structural bone matrix and integrate calcium into it—an issue that more calcium doesn't even begin to fix!" explains Dr. Levy. "In fact, much of the calcium leached from the bones simply moves to other parts of the body, where it does you harm."
4. Increased bone density means stronger bones. Your bone density test score may well improve a bit with calcium supplementation, but this is not associated with stronger bones or a decreased risk of fracture. "When you treat a disease like osteoporosis with increased calcium, the density can legitimately increase, but the quality of the bone itself doesn't improve unless other important factors are addressed," explains Dr. Levy. "The structural matrix of the bone still isn't normal and has no greater resistance to fracture than the diseased bone before the new calcium deposition."
5. When you have osteoporosis, the biggest danger is breaking a bone. When a person with osteoporosis fractures a bone, it's serious business. But would you say that sustaining a fracture is more serious than suffering (or even dying) from a heart attack, stroke, or cancer? "A groundbreaking study indicated that there was a 60 percent increase in the risk of death for individuals in the lowest quintile of bone density compared to those in the highest quintile," reports Dr. Levy. "And most of those deaths did not relate to a fracture.
"A lot of fiction about calcium is currently accepted as fact," concludes Dr. Levy. "But raising calcium concentrations in your body is never going to be beneficial, and often is actively toxic. You need to realize this, change your diet accordingly, and start taking steps now to reverse the damage—before it's too late."
Thomas E. Levy, MD, JD, is the author of Death by Calcium: Proof of the Toxic Effects of Dairy and Calcium Supplements. He is a board-certified cardiologist and is also the author of Primal Panacea and Curing the Incurable: Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins.
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