Recent Clinical Developments

Women who have troubles with menstruation may simply have deficiencies of calcium. Premenstrual tensions, such as nervousness, irritability, crying, tremors or trembling, restlessness and lower back aches, indicate that the blood calcium levels are low as the cycle approaches each month. Then, if the calcium is still low as the cycle begins, further problems with spotting, cramping and irregularity may occur.

Women also suffer the symptoms of a deficiency of calcium during menopause. Some women during menopause feel like they are "going crazy" and seek professional help; many others suffer silently. But nutritional supplements may relieve the discomforts of menopause. Adelle Davis suggests that 5,000 units of vitamin D, 500 milligrams of magnesium and 2,000 milligrams of calcium will help women get through such periods of changing hormone levels without tranquilizers, therapists or silent tears.

Elderly people in general can suffer several effects of deficiencies of calcium. For instance, denture wearers who complain that their dentures fit improperly may really have calcium deficiencies, which produce nervousness associated with wearing dentures. Instead of repeated appointments with frustrated dentists, these people should improve their diets to include more calcium-laden foods.

Many elderly people contract osteoporosis, a dreaded bone condition. The parathyroid gland (four pealike glands located on either side of the thyroid at the base of the throat) is responsible for how much or how little calcium enters the bloodstream. It is postulated that the hormone released by the parathyroid and thyrocalcitinon, which prevents the loss of calcium, are out of kilter with one another, causing the bones to lose too much calcium and become porous, brittle and easily breakable. Doctors can successfully keep thyrocalcitonin in check so that the other hormone does not rob the bones of needed calcium. A diet rich in calcium also helps the condition. And a little-known herb called springtime horsetail {equisetum), rich in silica, is being used on osteoporosis patients in California with tremendous success: patients' bones are beginning to knit and mend within two weeks of their taking the tablet-form herb under a physician's guidance.

Victims of osteoporosis are usually deficient in magnesium, vitamin D and phosphorus, as well as calcium, an indication of how closely these vitamins and minerals work as a team. Magnesium is especially important: it calms the pituitary gland, the master controller for the entire endocrine system. With too little magnesium the pituitary sends out a hormonal signal for the bones to give up their calcium and send it to the blood, part of the probable cause of osteoporosis.

A lack of calcium, magnesium and potassium can also trigger spasms of the colon, inducing constipation.

The cooperation of calcium and vitamin D is essential to good bodily functioning as well, and it is important to have the right balance of the vitamin and mineral. For example, kidney stones can form when there is not enough vitamin D to keep the tubules ready to resorb calcium as it flows through them; however, too high a dose of vitamin D by itself will cause heavy loss of both calcium and phosphorus through the urine. In addition, people who have high blood pressure often have too much salt in their bodies: adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D will increase salt loss via the urine, thereby helping to alleviate some of the potential dangers associated with this ailment.

Vitamin A is another important ally of calcium. For instance, the vitamin and mineral together can alleviate the symptoms of sinusitis (infection of the sinus tissue and membranes causing sniffles, stuffiness and blockage of air passages): vitamin A helps repair the sinus tissue, and calcium helps straighten out the faltering metabolism. (A diet restricted from white flour also helps.)

Vitamin A in conjunct with calcium may help prevent skin cancer, too. Skin cancer can, in part, be blamed on a person overexposing sensitive skin to the ultraviolet rays of the sun: in long-term tests vitamin A and calcium carbonate were found to protect the skin from sun damage, although the role of the calcium carbonate in preventing the effects of sunburn is still largely unexplained at this point. (Vitamin A is directly concerned with the elasticity and longevity of the life of skin cells: if skin is constantly exposed to the drying conditions of the sun, more vitamin A may be required to keep the cells supple.)

Two seemingly unrelated ailments partially caused by a deficiency of calcium are conjunctivitis and lead poisoning. With conjunctivitis (pink eye) the eye burns, itches and tears: it has been found that calcium, along with vitamin D, alleviates this condition without the use of antibiotics. Lead poisoning, especially prevalent in cities, where people are constantly exposed to automobile exhaust emissions, manifests as confusion, psychosis, irritability and eventually kidney damage, convulsion and paralysis: lead, rapidly absorbed by the bones instead of calcium, will build up when there is insufficient calcium to stop it from being ingested into the body.

Children who wake up screaming in the middle of the night because of spasm and cramping in their muscles are also lacking sufficient calcium to keep up with the accelerated growth processes their bodies are undergoing. A diet high in calcium and/or supplements can bring relief.

Lower back pains may be related to a deficiency of calcium as well. Furthermore, the disks that act as shock absorbers for the bone vertebrae to cushion themselves against also rely on a continued supply of calcium so that they do not harden, become brittle or deteriorate.

Bruxism (the grinding of one's teeth during sleep) was once thought to be an emotional disorder. Instead, it is caused by a deficiency of calcium and pantothenic acid and is easily corrected.

In many cases people whose bones are slow to knit have low levels of hydrochloric acid necessary to help assimilate calcium: without adequate calcium bone healing takes much longer.

Anytime sugars are eaten, whether in the form of sweets, white sugar or the type found in baby formulas, calcium is barely absorbed because sugars trigger alkaline digestive juices instead; however, in experiments using milk sugar or lactose absorption of calcium was increased tremendously so that within 30 minutes the mineral was being whisked to the bones.


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