There is no element that is less understood and more ignorantly applied than calcium and its compounds. Calcium is the great builder of the structural parts of the body, not only of the bones and ligaments, but the walls of the arteries, the heart, the walls of the veins, the teeth, the epithelial and connective tissues. It is also an integral and necessary element in both blood and lymph. We know that many malnutrition diseases, such as rickets, and cretinism (though of course there are other causes) are usually the results of calcium deficiency. At the same time, we know that an "excess" of calcium is responsible for arteriosclerosis, (or hardening of the arteries), also for 'scleroma' (or sclerosis of tissue, liver, skin, eyes and so forth).
In fact, we know that old age itself is brought about by a gradual hardening of the whole structural system through deposition of calcium "compounds" that are insoluble and inorganic. Calcium is little understood and often ignorantly administered. While the young growing organism can use relatively large amounts of calcium, a fully matured and solidified body requires less calcium. For middle age, comparatively less than half the amount is necessary. The older age requires a very small amount; above which calcium becomes a very dangerous thing to use, often bringing about most disastrous results, and yet never being thought of as the cause of the chronic suffering, and sometimes death of the patient.
The calcium that does the trouble is the inorganic type.
Of course, inorganic calcium cannot be used in the life process of the cell, but forms instead the greatest number of "obstructions" to the normal life processes of the human organism. Organic calcium, as found in some foods and herbs, is distinctly "alkaline" in reaction such as lemons, limes, oranges, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, lettuce, string beans and onions; while others have an "acid" reaction upon certain fluids and tissues such as milk, cheese meat and so forth. Green and leafy vegetables contain calcium chloride, as do many berries and herbs. Organic calcium chloride is found in red clover, wheat bran, rhubarb, yellow dock, watercress, blue vervain, motherwort, cactus, hawthorn berries, comfrey root, marshmallow, and many others.
It is as though the good Lord knew that millions of us would suffer with some heart trouble, and so made the remedy easily available. Calcium chloride is a great heart tonic. In fact, it is so potent and effective in its action upon a weak heart that the great English scientist, Sir Lauder Brunton, said: "Heart failure, which so often follows influenza and pneumonia, may be averted by the extended use of calcium chloride." When we see how important calcium is in body action, we should never use in our body something that will counteract calcium's power. By the use of refined sugar, we are using a substance that is known as a "calcium destroyer".
As Dr. Bernard Jensen, D.C. - N.D., in his book You Can Master Diseases, (copyright 1952, Bernard Jensen, Pub. Div., CA), states: "White sugar has been called a leacher of calcium." As soon as sugar enters the body, it goes directly into the blood stream and commences "removing" the calcium it comes into contact with and robs the cells of the calcium, from the arteries, veins, capillaries, tissue, muscles, bones, etc.
A prospective mother is carrying the fetus in her womb. If she does not have enough calcium in her body to supply the baby, as well as herself, she is in trouble. The baby, by nature, will get first choice and will draw from the mother's body any calcium it can get for its' own survival. The fetus draws from the veins, arteries, muscles, teeth and bones of the mother. This is the reason for so much varicosity and loss of teeth during pregnancy. The more sugars and starches (which turn to sugar) the mother consumes, the faster the "drainage" of calcium from her body, and trouble from weakened areas.
Forearm and Hip Fractures Most Common
"The principle clinical manifestation of osteoporosis is fracture." Dr. B. E. C. Nordin, professor of mineral metabolism at the University of Luds, points out, "and three osteoporotic fracture syndromes can be defined: the lower forearm fracture, which predominantly affects women between the ages of 50 and 65; the fracture of the proximal femur (the hip), which affects both sexes over the age of seventy; and the relatively rare vertebral crush fracture syndrome, which may be present at any age, but is most common in elderly women" (British Medical Journal, March 13, 1971). So you see that osteoporosis can not be taken lightly, and it most certainly must be dealt with. Every one of us who approaches the half-century mark in age is likely to encounter this unless we do something about it preferably well in advance of that time.
Osteoporosis characteristically occurs in women after menopause and is presumably related to low estrogen output-the female hormone that dwindles when ovulation and the monthly periods cease. In men, fragile porous bones typically develops considerably later in life and disorder is less severe. But though the disease is associated with late middle age and old age, the process probably begins many decades earlier. "I would advise women to start calcium and Vitamin D supplements at age 30, or perhaps 25," says Dr. Jennifer Jowsey of the Mayo Clinic. With the average American diet, there's apparently a long term gradual loss of bone mineral exceeding the rate of mineral uptake and bone formation.
In later years, when hormonal changes increase the susceptibility to osteoporosis, the skeleton has already lost a good deal of its substance. By then, because of previous loss, the rate of bone formation must not only equal the rate of bone demineralization (the normal condition) but must exceed it if bone strength is to be restored. It is far more difficult, Dr. Jowsey warns, to induce new, compensatory bone formation than it is simply to slow down bone demineralization. Adequate calcium and Vitamin D in the diet will go far to accomplish the latter. But preliminary finds, the Mayo scientist says, indicate that "lost bone" will not be automatically restored by such dietary correction.
Osteoporosis, Puff By Puff
We can believe from what Dr. Jowsey says that long term marginal deficiency in calcium and Vitamin D is the principal villain in the tragedy of osteoporosis. However, other factors, too, influence bone health. We now know, for example, that cigarettes contribute to bone demineralization and that we should swear off smoking, supposing we are still hooked on this altogether harmful habit. In a letter appearing in the Journal of American Medical Association, (July 31, 1972), Dr. Harry W. Daniell reports his findings that heavy cigarette smoking appears to be a prominent factor in inducing osteoporosis. Dr. Daniell, who practices in Reddings, California, was prompted to undertake his study when he realized that most of his under 65 patients suffering from osteoporosis were habitual heavy smokers. (When it occurs before 65, osteoporosis is considered "premature".)
The west coast physician and his associates then studied records from the three small hospitals in the area, coming up with the cases of 17 women who have had at least one characteristic osteoporotic bone fracture prior to age 65. Follow-up interviews with the patients of surviving relatives revealed that of the 17, only one was a nonsmoker; one smoked less than 20 cigarettes a day; and 15 of the 17 had smoked 20 or more cigarettes daily for many years. An 88 percent correlation between heavy smoking and early incidence of osteoporosis is "statistically significant!"
As to how cigarette smoking could so affect the bones, Dr. Daniell points out that bone minerals (mostly calcium and phosphorus, responsible for the bone's hardness) are "known to be strikingly more soluble in acid solutions," and cigarette smoking is known to increase the acidity of bone tissue. Thus the bone minerals could be expected to dissolve and be absorbed into the bloodstream at a much faster rate when smoking provides the acid environment. Studies, have shown, Dr. Daniell says, that three consecutive cigarettes cause a prompt transient "hypercalcemia"- or high content of calcium in the blood. This finding, he explains, suggests that the act of smoking is associated with rapid calcium loss from bone structures.
Still other factors can influence the onset of osteoporosis. Writing in the British Medical Journal (June 2, 1973), Dr. P. E. Belchotz and colleagues suggest that taking your calcium supplement just before going to bed might make a difference in preventing excess mineral loss. Here's the rationale: regular meals during the day constantly provide at least some calcium to the bloodstream. But calcium absorption from the gut continues only three to five hours after eating, and therefore from about midnight on, the lack of incoming calcium from the intestinal tract triggers the action of the parathyroid hormone (parathormone), which stimulates bone "demineralization" or "resportion."
The female hormone, estrogen, the authors note, to some extent, desensitizes bones to the action of parathormone. But in postmenopausal women, this protection has been reduced. Initial clinical studies by the investigators tend to confirm their hypotheses. So take your bone meal or dolomite or glass of goat milk just before retiring and you may counteract those bad night hours when your bones are most likely to dribble away their substance.
Another factor that triggers the action of parathormone, according to Dr. Jowsey and her associates at the Mayo Clinic, is a mineral imbalance, with phosphorus intake grossly exceeding calcium intake (Postgraduate Medicine, October, 1972). Heavy meat-eaters are at risk of this condition because meat, while very poor in calcium, has a high phosphorus content. It's meat eaters' unbalanced high "phosphorus" intake, in Dr. Jowsey's opinion, that accounts for the now established fact that longtime vegetarians are less "susceptible" to osteoporosis than are omnivores.
Bones that are osteoporotic are like beams in a frame house that have been eaten away for years by termites. But instead of termites, what's eating away the calcium from the bones of an osteoporotic person is their own blood. That's because every nerve in the body-including those which cause the heart to beat and the brain to function-needs a precise amount of calcium to carry out its' job. Our bodies are strictly programmed to keep this calcium at the required level. And if there is not enough of this mineral coming in from dietary sources, complex metabolic machinery immediately removes this required amount from the legs, hips, spine, ribs and arms. Ordinarily this is a slow but relentless undermining process. But with cortisone administrations, it is swift and relentless. Just as bad, it usually produces no symptoms-until the patient discovers that a minor bump or fall has broken an arm, a leg or worse of all, a hip.
Increased Risk Of Fractures
An article on the subject was published in the newsletter (February, 1974) of the Jewish Hospital of St. Louis. It begins by pointing out that 'cortisone' and its derivatives are being administered to several million patients in the United States who suffer from a number of chronic disorders, rheumatoid arthritis being just one of them. It warns that however useful these compounds may be in alleviating these disorders, they result in a number of serious side effects, including the production of often severe "bone loss" with an increasing risk of bone fractures. It is not unusual for patients to have a "loss" of 30-50 percent of their bone mass after several years of high-dose cortisone treatment. Dr. Theodore Hahn, a spokesman for a bone research team at the Jewish Hospital, says it appears that cortisone directly "blocks" the activity of the bone forming cells and at the same time decreases "intestinal absorption" of calcium.
As if these two effects weren't bad enough, the calcium deficiency in turn can produce "secondary hormonal changes" which increases bone breakdown." But Dr. Hahn and his coworkers have some good news for people who have been taking cortisone drugs; large, but carefully controlled doses of Vitamin D, along with calcium supplements, can reverse this severe degeneration of the skeleton.' The article "Preliminary Results from a Group of 30 Patients Treated with this Regimen", states indirectly that bone mass can be increased by as much as 25-30 percent of over six month period, thereby greatly decreasing the risk of bone fracture in cortisone treated patients.
Doctors Are Warned - But Are Patients?
How many people who are taking cortisone-all those several million of them-are aware that the drug can cause brittle bones? And how many doctors are going to tell their patients that it is a good idea to get substantially more calcium and Vitamin D into their diets before they begin splintering their bones? It does seem that many doctors pay scant attention to the possible side effects of drug therapy, particularly when those side effects are intimately linked to nutrition. This attitude seems to be reflected even in the Merck Manual, a standard reference book for physicians. In the section on adrenocortical steroids, which includes cortisone and its derivatives, the medical text says under the subheading "Management during Long-Term Treatment": If back pain occurs, X-ray of the spine should be made for possible osteopetrosis... If Pathologic fractures occur but the patient's condition warrants continuation of hormonal therapy, additional calcium and protein probably are more effective than the anabolic steroids."
No advice about giving more calcium as a preventive measure is offered. Presumably, the doctor is not expected to do anything until the patient begins complaining of back pain or comes in with a fracture that results from a slight bump. It has been mentioned in this article the difference between organic and inorganic calcium, and other minerals. The 'inorganic' minerals are the ones that can be accepted into the body, but not assimilated. The inorganic minerals are "accumulative", lie in "deposits" in weakened or injured parts of the body, to later give side effects or after effects. Often times in purchasing calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, etc., we buy minerals of the inorganic type that has not gone through plant life and by osmosis made organic and given life so it can be assimilated.
The type that can be assimilated is from herbs, fruits, vegetables, grains, raw nuts and seeds. These are nontoxic, nonpoisonous and non-habit forming, if chosen by one who knows assimilable herbs. We have been using a calcium formula for years to aid our patients and students in regaining a more perfect body structure. The one way we can change the condition of the bowel structure is to treat it like we would a sick plant, and we do not want to be guilty of "casting seeds out on barren soil." The bone must be fed, must be given exercise, and must also be accompanied by faith-in knowing it will improve. One of the finest foods we have to furnish calcium is a calcium formula we have used for many years. The combination of herbs used in this herbal formula is:
Herbal Calcium Formula
- Horsetail Grass: Contains manganese, zinc, silicon, iron, magnesium, chlorine, sodium, potassium, calcium and phosphorus.
- Nettle: Contains calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron and allantoin.
- Oat Straw: Contains calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chlorine, magnesium and iron.
- Lobelia: Contains potassium, sodium, iron, phosphorus and calcium.
In these four herbs, which work together so well, you will notice they are all high in calcium, high in potassium and have all the other minerals needed in the construction of bone-all accentuated with allantoin from the comfrey leaf for the speeding of cell proliferation.
Vitamin D is always needed in bone construction and this comes from the powerful sun. By following the routine of the three oil massage program, Vitamin D can be obtained in adequate amounts, without burning.
This program consists of entire body massage with castor oil each day for two days, the next two days with olive oil and the following two days with wheat germ oil. Rest one day and repeat this cycle week after week. Immediately after the oil massage, lie in the sun-entire bare body exposed-two minutes first day on front and two minutes on back. Each additional day add two minutes front and back. With this procedure there will be no burn. In fifteen days in the sun you are up to one hour a day. Also eat plenty of whole, presoaked (in pure water) and low-heated grains and plenty of good fresh green vegetables such as watercress.
Activity Fortifies The Bones
In 1970, at the annual meeting of the Swedish Medical Society held in Stockholm, Drs. Nils Westlin and Bo Nilsson of Malmo, Sweden reported that when they measured bone densities in young men they found that 64 athletes had significantly higher bone density that 39 non-athletes of the same age. Density was found to rise with increases in physical activity (Medical Tribune, February 6, 1970). Dr. Carlton Fredericks has said that women with bones weakened by osteoporosis should, if they are capable of doing it, skip rope as a means of therapeutic exercise.
The impact on the spine, vertically exerted, generates the electrical forces that drive calcium to the bone areas requiring reinforcement (The Carlton Fredericks Newsletter of Nutrition, July 1, 1972). Obviously, an elderly man or woman isn't suddenly going to take up jumping rope after having not exercised for several years. But much the same effect could be gained from walking. A brisk walk at least, for those unable to perform more vigorous exercise, is essential if bones are to stay healthy.
Over the years of practice I have had a number of patients who have had broken bones from osteoporosis. One case was a woman in her middle eighties with a fractured hip. After three months in a cast it showed no sign of healing, any more than two pieces of stick growing together. This woman was frightened because she was told that if the hip bones did not knit after putting on another cast for three months, they would cut her leg open and use stainless steel rods, bolts and nuts to make it possible for her to at least get around on crutches.
This was in the early sixties and not much comfrey was available then. The lady's daughter was in one of my classes, and we asked the students to help out by donating as much comfrey as they could. We had enough donated from the class members that the patient had from a pint to a quart of comfrey green drink or comfrey tea each day, six days a week, week after week. At the end of this "three months," the cast was removed and the doctors were amazed, because during the first three months were was "no knitting" of the bone even evident, but with the comfrey being taken orally during the next three-month period the leg was healed. The daughter told us her mother was out square dancing within a couple of weeks after the cast was removed!
1. Tooth Grows Back: My oldest daughter age 13 now, had a dental cavity at age 7 (the only dental cavity among our six children). We had the cavity drilled out and a filling put in by our local dentist. Two years later, the filling came out and a hole was left in her tooth. Nothing more was done about it except the herbal calcium formula [Calc Tea] that you recommend in your book, School of Natural Healing, made up of: comfrey, horsetail, oatstraw, and lobelia. This combination of herbs has been used very consistently by the entire family over the last two years. We have recently discovered that the hole where the filling was is now completely grown over and is absolutely unnoticeable even under close inspection.
2. Insomnia Cured: I have found great relief by taking Dr. Christopher's calcium formula and thyroid formula through the night which was recommended in his "How Important is Calcium" newsletter. I have recommended this treatment to others and to my mother and they all have found it helps their insomnia also. -A.R., Williston, ND
Newsletter Volume 1 Number 11, used by permission.
A breakdown in calcium regulation is implicated in diseases ranging from cancer to diabetes, heart disease and neurological disorders, but for calcium to function properly magnesium and vitamin D are a necessity, which is why calcium, magnesium and vitamin D are referred to as "the inseparable trio." In order to absorb calcium, the body needs comparable amounts of magnesium. Vitamin D also plays a major role in calcium absorption. The relationship between calcium absorption and vitamin D is similar to that of a locked door and a key. Vitamin D is the key that unlocks the door and allows calcium to leave the intestine and enter the bloodstream. Vitamin D also works in the kidneys to help reabsorb calcium that otherwise would be excreted. Optimal calcium function may also reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Calcium supplementation in the face of magnesium deficiency can lead to deposits of calcium in soft tissue such as joints. This promotes arthritis.
Sources: American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting. Feb 16, 04; Science 1986; Report on Calcium & Related Nutrients, Food & Nutrition board, 1997; Lose Weight with the California Calcium Countdown, Betty Kamen.