So many people supplement with calcium in hopes to prevent osteoporosis. Is this something that is necessary?
Our ancestors did not take calcium supplements yet they did not get osteoporosis. This has led many to ask what is different about our society that makes osteoporosis so much more prevalent than it was, even 100 years ago.
I believe there are several factors that contribute to this including weight bearing exercise, but this article will address one that many people may not have considered: grains.
“Cereal grains have a calcium/phosphorus ratio which is quite low and which can negatively influence bone growth and metabolism. The net effect of a low calcium content, a low Ca/P ratio, a low Ca/Mg ratio, and low bioavailablility of calcium via a high phytate content frequently induces bone mineral pathologies in populations dependent upon cereal grains as a staple food.”1
Our culture eats more grain than any other society. Breakfast is cereal, pastries, pancakes, muffins, granola, oatmeal, the list goes on. Lunch we have sandwiches with bread. Snacks we have chips. Dinner we have pasta, breads or rolls, and then there are cookies for dessert. Besides the sugar, does this lifestyle have a negative impact on our health?
“Generally, in most parts of the world, whenever cereal based diets were first adopted as a staple food replacing the primarily animal based diets of hunter-gatherers, there was a characteristic reduction in stature, an increase in infant mortality, a reduction in lifespan, an increased incidence of infectious diseases, and increase in iron deficiency anemia, an increased incidence of osteomalacia, porotic hyperostosis and other bone mineral disorders, and an increase in the number of dental caries and enamel defects.”2
The intent of this article is not to convince you to stop eating grains although there may be health benefits to you if you did. The intent is to encourage you to begin questioning why you or someone you know may not be as healthy as you should be.
What if there is a connection between grains and osteoporosis?
What if there is a connection between grains, a hump in the upper back and maybe even dental issues. Weston Price, a dentist, did some fantastic research on this, even suggesting that the need for orthodontics is traced back to grains.
So perhaps instead of focusing so much on taking calcium to make your bones strong and prevent osteoporosis we should be considering what is in our lifestyle that is different than our ancestors that would require calcium supplementation?
1,2. Cereal grains: Humanity’s Double Edged Sword. Loren Cordain 1999