Calcium is an essential nutrient that we should try to be incorporating into our daily diet. Calcium serves a number of important functions in the body but the most talked about include aiding in bone and teeth formation and muscle growth. But did you know that calcium also helps with heart function, blood clotting and nerve transmission? In pregnancy, calcium helps prevent general muscle cramps, toxaemia (high blood pressure), and fluid retention.
When most people think of calcium we automatically think of dairy however, please note that we have not yet mentioned dairy once. Dairy corporations have invested a lot of money in cleverly marketing their products. The multi-million ads have led us to believe that we need dairy in order to meet our body’s daily calcium requirements but that’s not exactly true.
The Bad News About Milk and Dairy
- The pasteurization process of dairy destroys beneficial enzymes and bacteria that help us digest the milk. What remains after pasteurization is often toxic and stressful for the body. For example- lactase is an enzyme necessary for the breakdown of lactose but it is lost during the pasteurization process. Phosphatase is also lost during pasteurization and scientific studies show that without phosphatase, our bodies are unable to utilize the calcium found in milk.
- Vitamins B12 and B6 are destroyed in processed milk as well as 50% of the vitamin C and 80% of other water-soluble vitamins.
- Pasteurized milk has chemicals added to it to suppress odour and improve taste.
- Processed milk is often fortified with synthetic vitamins (vitamin D2 and D3). Synthetic vitamins are cheap, man-made substances which are stressors to our nervous system.
- Casein, a protein found in milk which binds calcium, is extremely irritating to humans’ immune systems. This stimulates mucous production leading to chronic bronchitis, sinusitis and ear infections.
- As adults, most people are unable to digest lactose. As we age, our bodies stop making the enzyme needed to break down lactose and, as a result, we can experience major digestive upsets when we drink milk.
- Dairy products commonly contain residues of antibiotics, steroid hormones and pesticides which weaken the immune system.
- The five-highest dairy consuming countries in the world also have the highest rates of osteoporosis. Counterintuitive? Research is showing that casein actually binds calcium, leaching it from our bodies.
A publication in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that 18 years of milk consumption did not prevent hip fractures in post-menopausal women. Scientists determined that milk consumption was in no way related to reduced hip fracture risk.
Taking all of this into consideration, can we really consider dairy a “health food?”. Let’s look at some of the benefits of certain types of dairy.
The Good News About Certain Dairy Products
When searching for good dairy sources, look for dairy products that have been fermented.
- Dairy products that are partially fermented (like yogurt) can be a great source of calcium. Good quality yogurt is reported to have twice as much calcium than milk and is also rich in B vitamins. Please make sure to check the label when buying yogurt. Most store bought varieties are like “liquid candy”. Avoid yogurts with added sugars are artificial sweeteners, which are often hidden as words ending in -ose (sucrose, galactose)
- The fermentation process breaks down casein and lactose so those who are lactose intolerant can enjoy dairy without experiencing major digestion distress.
- Kefir is a dairy product that tastes a lot like yogurt. The lactose in kefir is completely digested at the time of ingestion. Kefir also contains several strains of good bacteria that are not found in yogurt.
If you’re still not sure about dairy and are trying to avoid it (like us), try to incorporate these sources of calcium into your diet- green leafy vegetables, tinned fish (with bones in), sesame seeds, nuts, egg yolk, and hummus.
Neurostructural Chiropractic Care and Calcium
Calcium may be a mediating factor in the initiation and regulation of responses of your nervous system to injury, according to a study published by the "Journal of Neurotrauma”. Researchers found that when a cell becomes injured through trauma, your central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) sends calcium into the injured cell as a possible protective measure against further cellular damage.
Another way to speed up repair after an injury is to ensure that your nervous system is working at its peak potential. A NeuroStructural chiropractic adjustment ensures that all of you vertebrae (bones of your spine) are in proper alignment. This allows nerve signals to flow freely through your body, allowing the messages of healing to reach their target. Ask your NeuroStructural chiropractor for more details.
Reference: How To Have Well Adjusted Babies by Dr. Jennifer Barham-Floreani