1. How Important Is Calcium?
So I believe it’s common knowledge that calcium is one of the most vital/essential minerals, right? It is needed by our body, most significantly, to ensure bone health, maintain strong bones, for healthy bone ageing, but it also provides quite a few other benefits that are worth mentioning.
Just to give you guys an idea of how vast its benefits are, here’s a list of science-backed health benefits that calcium provides:
a) Supports bone health
b) Promotes dental health
c) Balances blood pressure
d) Promotes weight loss
e) Erases PMS symptoms
f) Reduces risk of colon cancer
g) Combats kidney stones/disease
I think these benefits are good enough to make all of us realise how important calcium really is and why you must make sure it’s part of your diet.
2. What Happens If You’re Calcium Deficient?
It is obvious that a deficiency of this mineral would be the cause for problems with your bones. Without sufficient calcium, your bones become brittle or weak and result in a condition called osteoporosis – which makes your bones thinner and more susceptible to fractures. It can cause pain, issues with posture and eventual disability.
In order to avoid this, you must get sufficient amount of calcium in your diet. The recommended daily value is 500 to 700 mg for adults below the age of 50 & 1000 to 1200 mg for adults above the age of 50 (this is because bone loss increases as you grow older). However, people often find it hard to fulfil this need for calcium through their diet and that’s why calcium supplementation is recommended.
The most common calcium supplement people opt for or know of is the traditional rock-based calcium (their labels read calcium carbonate or calcium citrate). However, through studies, we’ve learned that there is a better or superior type of calcium – that is derived from a plant (red algae) and is organic in nature. In this article, I’ll discuss the benefits of this organic calcium over the conventional kind.
3. Organic Calcium vs. Conventional Calcium
Let me first explain to you guys what is this conventional calcium we’re talking about and then talk about organic calcium, highlighting the superiority of the latter.
This is the traditional type of calcium supplement that has been available for years. It is rock-based, which means it is made from rock – particularly limestone or marble. Yes, they are made from actual rocks. That means they’re inedible and poorly absorbed (you’re a human, not a building). You’ll see rock-based calcium supplements with the names ‘calcium carbonate’ or ‘calcium citrate’ on their labels. Unfortunately, 90% of calcium supplements that are available today are of this type.
This is the type of calcium that is plant-based, which means it is derived from plants. The plants can be land or sea based – red algae ( Lithothamnion calcareum) being the best source. Unlike rock-based, this is untouched and contains the bounty of minerals that are found in the ground it grows in. It is better absorbed than its rock counterpart, giving your bones and body the most benefits of calcium, along with additional minerals.
4. Three Reasons Why Organic Calcium Is Superior To Conventional Calcium
A. It Is Body Friendly & Better Absorbed
Organic calcium is derived from plants, not rocks. It is derived from red algae (mostly) and not limestone or marble (which might be great as renovation supplies but not bone building).
So why body-friendly? Red algae are more complex than other algae, both at a cellular and structural level. The beauty of this is that it mimics the mineral composition of human bones, in both quantity and variety.
Further it is incredibly absorbable by the human body because it is plant-based. It is highly bioavailable. The algae predigests calcium and minerals, so your body has to do a lot less work to break down and digest all the goodness. This is just like consuming any other nutrient dense plant like broccoli, for example. To make clearer to you guys, I assume we all know that our bodies cannot absorb raw metals from the soil. This means it cannot absorb the calcium/magnesium/phosphorous without a bit of “processing” first. That is where plants come in – plants “predigest” the minerals in the soil and rocks. This makes the minerals in the plant completely absorbable to you now! Thanks to the plant’s hard work, these minerals are available in exact amounts now, just the way nature had intended.
B. Contains Abundance of Minerals
Red algae is an extremely mineral-dense organic plant. It thrives on the ocean floor and what’s best is that mimics your bones’ mineral composition. So what this implies is that organic calcium derived from red algae basically naturally contains almost all of the mandatory bone-building minerals (including calcium, magnesium, boron, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorous, nickel, vanadium, zinc, silicon, selenium, strontium, for good measure) in it, along with a whole lot of other minerals, all of which in roughly the same proportion as found in your bones. Isn’t that incredible?
Yes, organic plant-based calcium comes naturally with trace minerals in it. This is unlike conventional rock-based calcium in which a couple (most likely 2-3) of minerals are added later in labs, creating a modified product. So rock-based calcium supplements are you giving you 2-3 nutrients with the promise of improving your low bone density, but devoid of the other nourishing minerals that your bones crave.
Hence, organic calcium coming with the bounty of minerals naturally is obviously the better choice if you’re actually looking to strengthen your bones. What’s more? The minerals are better absorbed, thanks to the “predigestion” of plants as I mentioned earlier.
C. Better Digestive Health
To add icing to the cake, organic calcium derived from plants is also easier to digest as compared to the rock-based calcium. What’s obvious is that our bodies are more inclined to digesting plants as opposed to rocks and this is because the nutrients from plants are body-friendly molecules. Another factor is that rock-based calcium is artificially processed, for making calcium absorbable as well as to add minerals to it, whereas organic calcium is relatively less processed as it already an absorbable calcium and comes with minerals naturally. This is another factor for the easy digestibility of organic calcium. The constipation, bloating and digestive discomfort from traditional rock-based calcium disappears when you switch to organic calcium.
Additionally, what I find most interesting, is recent research suggesting that organic calcium (containing calcium, magnesium along with the natural trace minerals), could also help tackle chronic inflammation in the gut. This is an emerging study but it is exciting, nonetheless.
Conclusion – Organic Calcium Is The Superior Choice When It Comes To Calcium Supplementation
I can sum it up for you very simply –
Conventional calcium supplements provide you with calcium, but they do not cater to all your bone health needs. It is enough to slow down bone loss. It is better than nothing. But it’s a compromise.
Organic calcium, on the other hand, is a far superior choice for calcium supplementation as it virtually provides you with every nutrient (natural multi-mineral) your bones need to be strong and healthy. It can potentially increase bone density. It’s not a compromise, it’s a solution.
That is my clear recommendation when it comes to calcium supplementation.
However, as you probably know, I am a strict advocate of ensuring your diet is wholesome (rich in nutrients) before you look towards supplements for help.
Obviously then I’d like to discuss obtaining calcium through your diet.
So we’ve been made to believe that dairy and dairy products are the numero uno source of calcium. Doctors and the media have advised us to take in plenty of dairy everyday to make sure we’re getting enough calcium. However, what they don’t tell you is that calcium is of two types – organic and inorganic. Organic calcium is the kind of calcium that the human body recognises and utilises with ease (as I’ve discussed at length in this article). This is a highly bioavailable type of calcium that is derived from plants (red algae in the case of supplements), fruits, nuts etc.
Animal dairy calcium is inorganic. Yes, it is calcium still but it is not the kind that is easily recognised or used by our body.
Medical studies (not funded by the Dairy Council) have found that excess inorganic calcium in the bloodstream not recognised by the body is removed from the blood and stored in the kidneys, which could lead to kidney stones.
I believe it is clear that organic calcium should be your choice of calcium for both – supplementation and dietary intake. This will ensure you enjoy all the benefits of calcium, without any side effects. Olena’s Algae Calcium is a brilliant example of a great organic calcium supplement.
Here’s a list of foods that are rich in organic calcium –
Plant milks, tofu, collared greens, orange juice, soybeans, kale, broccoli, almonds, almond butter, okra.
Try to incorporate them in your diet and supplement with a quality organic calcium if needed. Nourish your body and bones!