Calcium – Is Milk a Good Source?
A Review of Calcium Supplements
Calcium is an essential mineral required by our bodies. Calcium deficiency is one of the primary causes of osteoporosis. Milk is hailed as one of the best sources for calcium.
But if milk is a such good source of calcium, why is it that countries with the highest dairy consumption (most modernized, Western cultures) also have the highest rates of osteoporosis? “According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, the United States and Europe account for 51% of all fractures from osteoporosis.”
The problem seems to be not with the amount of calcium in milk, but the fact that homogenized, pasteurized milk is rendered acidic by those processes. And it’s the acid levels of processed milk that are the culprit. When our body’s pH level drops too low from taking in too much acid (drinking milk contributes to this problem), our body looks for alkaline elsewhere in the body to maintain a healthy pH level. And the most likely place for the body to find alkaline substance is in the bones.
Over time, this continual leaching of alkaline substance from the bones makes them weak and osteoporosis is one of the results. So while milk does contain a high level of calcium, milk’s negative impact on our pH level counters any good it might have provided.
Calcium—an Essential Mineral
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body with 99 percent of it residing in our bones and teeth. The other 1 percent of this essential mineral is vital for:
- Blood clotting
- Helping muscles and blood vessels expand and contract
- Secreting important hormones and enzymes
- Sending messages through the cells and nervous system
Calcium also helps:
- Regulate and lower blood pressure
- Lowers the risk of preeclampsia in pregnant women
- Lowers cholesterol
- Is used for treatment of Lyme’s disease
- Prevents rickets (softening of the bones)
We cannot live without calcium and sufficient amounts of this important mineral help determine our overall health.
We don’t often realize that our bones are living tissue and are constantly in flux. The body uses our bones as the storehouse for calcium, so when calcium is needed elsewhere in the body, our body takes it from our bones. The body cannot manufacture calcium, so we must bring it in from outside sources to replenish the stores in our bones. The best source of calcium is food because of our ability to absorb it.
Foods Rich in Calcium
In light of what we said earlier about processed milk, raw milk retains its alkaline pH characteristic and can provide a good source of calcium. Just 8 oz. of organic plain yogurt provides 42 percent of your daily need for calcium. While processed milk has that negative impact on our health, a major study conducted in Sweden found that fermented milk products (cheese and yogurt) have a positive effect on preventing bone fractures.
Another reason to try raw milk is if you’re lactose intolerant. Numerous individuals who are lactose intolerant have found that they do not react to raw milk. If you cannot tolerate any dairy products, there are plenty of other foods that offer good amounts of calcium.
Other foods that contain good amounts of calcium include: