Do you rely on dairy products to optimise your calcium levels?
The milk myth is based on the belief that this protein and calcium-rich drink is essential to support good health and bones. It is easy to see the confusion about milk’s benefit, the fact that it contains calcium – around 300 mg per cup.
Years of research has shown various detrimental health effects linked to milk consumption, not only do we barely absorb the calcium in cow’s milk (especially if pasteurized), but it actually increases calcium loss from the bones.
For decades now studies contradict that milk and dairy consumption help reduce osteoporotic fractures and studies demonstrating that milk and dairy products fail to protect bones from fractures outnumber studies that prove otherwise.
“Consumption of dairy products, particularly at age 20 years, was associated with an increased risk of hip fracture in old age. (“Case-Control Study of Risk Factors for Hip Fractures in the Elderly”. American Journal of Epidemiology. Vol. 139, No. 5, 1994).
Like all animal protein, milk acidifies the body pH. Calcium is an excellent acid neutralizer and the biggest storage of calcium in the body is in the bones. But the calcium that our bones need to stay strong is utilized to neutralize the acidifying effect of milk. Once calcium is pulled out of the bones, it leaves the body via our urine, that results in a calcium deficit.
Statistics show that countries with the lowest consumption of dairy products have the lowest fracture incidence in their population
Cow’s milk is an excellent food source for calves. Weighing about 50kg at birth, a calf typically gains eight times its weight by the time it is weaned. But unlike humans, once calves are weaned, they never drink milk again, the same applies to other mammals.
Today, milking cows are given antibiotics and most are also injected with a genetically engineered form of bovine growth hormone (rBGH). A man-made or synthetic hormone used to artificially increase milk production, rBGH also increases blood levels of the insulin-growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in those who drink it. Higher levels of IGF-1 are linked to several cancers. However, at least organic milk is from cows that are not given antibiotics or rBHG.
Excellent alternative sources of calcium are kale, spinach, tahini paste, sesame seeds, almonds, tinned sardines, tinned salmon, sea vegetables, spinach and broccoli – all easy to include daily.
Also, if supplementation is necessary look for only bioavailable and organic calcium, rather than the carbonate form. Options like MCHA (Microcrystalline Hydroxyapatite), glycinate, aspartate and malate.
Magnesium, Vitamin D3, Vitamin K2, Zinc and boron are also vital for optimum bone health
My favourite milk substitutes are coconut, oat and unsweetened almond milk, versatile and tasty, – yes it can be an acquired taste especially in tea and coffee, but for porridge, cereal, making yogurt and cooking they are perfect substitutes.
Keep your dairy intake to a minimum and look after those bones!!
For further advice, dairy-free recipes and support on bone health contact Suzanne www.vitalnutrition.eu or follow on facebook and instagram