Tag Archives: fractures

Worried About Inadequate Calcium on Your Paleo Diet?

Bix at Fanatic Cook has a post on calcium and dairy consumption as regards to protection against broken hips from thin bones (osteoporosis). Or rather the lack of protection!

I’ve worried before that most paleo diets could be deficient in calcium because they don’t include milk products. Osteoporosis in adults or inadequate bone growth in kids are about the only significant problems you might see if that’s the case.

Bix quotes Harvard professor and pediatrician Dr. David Ludwig:

“Humans have no nutritional requirement for animal milk, an evolutionary recent addition to diet. Anatomically modern humans presumably achieved adequate nutrition for millennia before domestication of dairy animals, and many populations throughout the world today consume little or no milk for biological reasons (lactase deficiency), lack of availability, or cultural preferences.

Adequate dietary calcium for bone health, often cited as the primary rationale for high intake of milk, can be obtained from many other sources. Indeed, the recommended levels of calcium intake in the United States, based predominately on balance studies of 3 weeks or less, likely overestimate actual requirements and greatly exceed recommended intakes in the United Kingdom.

Throughout the world, bone fracture rates tend to be lower in countries that do not consume milk compared with those that do. Moreover, milk consumption does not protect against fracture in adults, according to a recent meta-analysis.”

Read the whole enchilada.

Another article mentions Dr. Ludwig:

People with a high-quality diet — those who get adequate protein, vitamin D and calcium from things like leafy greens, legumes, nuts and seeds — may get little or no added nutritional benefit from consuming three servings of dairy a day, Ludwig argues.

Hmmm. Wonder how he feels about grains. Sounds paleoish so far.

I’m just about ready to stop worrying about calcium.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Low Calcium Intake May Not Matter for Bone Health

paleobetic diet, diabetic diet, calcium

Modern “films” are digital

I’ve worried about the relatively low calcium content of most paleo diets. I see lots of little old ladies eating non-paleo with hip, spine, and wrist fractures related to the bone-thinning disease called osteoporosis. The bones break because they’re not adequately dense. Some experts think low calcium intake causes osteoporosis.

A Vietnamese study published in 2009 compared bone density of Buddhist nuns, who are vegans, with omnivorous controls. Dietary calcium content was 330 mg/day in the vegans, 682 mg/day in the omnivores. Nevertheless, bone density and osteoporosis prevalence were not significantly different between the groups. (Unfortunately, fracture rates were not reported.)

So perhaps the relatively low calcium content of paleo diets isn’t anything to worry about.

Steve Parker, M.D.

h/t Jamie Scott

A Paleo Problem: Calcium

paleo diet, Steve Parker MD,calcium, osteoporosis

I worry about her bones 50 years hence

It appears difficult to meet the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for calcium while eating most versions of the paleo diet.  That’s because they don’t include milk products.  The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University has a review of calcium as related to nutrition and health, last updated in late  2010. They say that few Americans hit their recommended daily calcium goal.

I see lots of little old ladies with hip and other fractures related to osteoporosis. Trust me, you don’t want to go there. It’s difficult to reverse osteoporosis, an insidious process that’s been going on for decades before the fracture.

Osteoporosis may be related to years of inadequate calcium consumption. Adequate vitamin D is  an important part of the equation, too. Blood calcium levels are strictly regulated, and if they’re too low, calcium is pulled from the bones to fill the blood’s tank.

Broccoli and bok choy are fair sources of calcium, but pale in comparison to milk. Bok choy isn’t a part of my diet; I’m not even sure I’ve ever had it. Below is a video on bok choy cooking. Looks simple enough.  I need to look into kale, too.

Many paleophiles promote bone broth, but I haven’t figured out why yet. Is it high in calcium? (Hat tip to Wendy Schwartz for the word “paleophile”.)

A can of sardines looks like a good source of calcium: 350 mg or 35% Daily Value.

Can you help me worry less about calcium deficiency?