Healthy Aging Resources

Live Life to the Full in Optimal Health

  • Jul 31

    The headlines screamed on the 29th July 2010. Results from a study by researchers were published in the British Medical Journal and reported by (Reuters) – Calcium supplements, which many people consume hoping to ward off osteoporosis, may increase the risk of heart attack by as much as 30 percent, researchers reported Friday. What the study found was that there was a 30 per cent increase in heart attacks in the people who were randomized to take calcium. The researchers conducted an analysis of results from 11 studies.

    I am left with a few questions but no answers:
    1) Why were these studies done?
    2) Who paid for the studies?
    3) What type of calcium was used? (Chelated calcium is bioavailable to our cells)
    4) What was the dosage?
    5) Did the calcium supplements also contain magnesium and Vitamin D3? (Magnesium and Vitamin D3 are required to be present for the body to utilize calcium)
    6) Have there been more than 11 studies done? If so, why were they all not included?
    7) What was the initial state of health of the participants?

    It is no wonder that we, the general public get confused when we read these headlines. One minute we are told that calcium is good for us and we need to have more of it…
    (Reuters Health) – Getting a bit more calcium in your diet could help you live longer, new research suggests.

    Another piece of research shows the benefits of calcium:
    High magnesium and calcium intake linked to lower diabetes risk

    It is well known that diet plays an important role in the development of type 2 diabetes, but less is known about the influence of specific nutrients on non-Western populations. A report published in the March 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed a protective effect of calcium and magnesium against diabetes in a large group of Chinese women.

    The study involved 64,191 women participated in the Shanghai Women’s Health Study, living in Shanghai, China. Analysis of dietary questionnaire responses determined calcium and magnesium intake.

    Women whose intake was in the highest group at an average of 649.6 milligrams per day had a 27 percent lower risk of diabetes than those whose intake was in the lowest group at 277.5 milligrams. Women whose intake of magnesium was highest at an average of 318.1 milligrams per day experienced a 20 percent lower risk compared with those in the lowest category of intake. Dairy intake was also related to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

    The researchers did not have information on vitamin D intake, but the protective effect of dairy products could be partly due to their vitamin D content as well as calcium. The combination of vitamin D and calcium has been associated with a reduction in the risk of type 2 diabetes in previous research.

    Source: Am J Clin Nutr 89: 1059-1067, 2009.

    And the latest report implies that we have to stop taking calcium.
    Who do we trust?
    My suggestion is to learn more about supplements. Learn from the experts.

    What do we know about calcium?

    • It builds healthy bones
    • It helps our muscles to relax/contract
    • It is critical for normal nerve conduction
    • It helps with cell division
    • It helps with electrical conduction in the heart
    • It is essential for producing and activating enzymes and hormones that regulate digestion, energy and fat metabolism

    And because Calcium is a natural muscle relaxant it also helps you to handle stress and it’s one of the best used sleep aids around!

    What about Vitamin D?

    • It enhances calcium absorption in the small intestine
    • It enhances calcium utilisation in bone formation
    • It influences the utilisation of phosphorous – another mineral that is important for strong bones

    And magnesium?

    • It is an important component of strong healthy bones
    • It is involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates and amino acids
    • It plays an important role in neuromuscular contractions
    • It helps regulate the acid-alkaline balance in the body

    The synergy of calcium, vitamin D and magnesium form a trio that plays an important part in our health. I have been taking this combination for almost ten years, and I don’t plan on stopping. Become armed with knowledge and don’t let scary headlines frighten you!

    Further Reading
    Here is a rebuttal to the study from Natural News

    Is Calcium supplementation really bad Doctor Gerald Lewis gives his view on the recent paper with authors coming from Auckland New Zealand published in the British Medical Journal (29 July 2010)

    For women 40+ who want to live life to the full and stay younger longer

    If you would like to find out which nutritional supplements are recommended for healthy aging, please request my free eBook, by completing the form on your top right.

    I trust you found this helpful. If you did, please share it with others by clicking on the Facebook and/or Twitter icons below. And be sure to leave your comments and questions below. Thank you!

  • Jul 14

    Soy Food & Isoflavone Intakes Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

    A recent study among Chinese women showed that those with the highest intakes of soy foods and soy isoflavones had a significantly lower risk of breast cancer.

    Soy food consumption and breast cancer risk has been the focus of controversial recently. A recent case-control study was conducted to assess the relationship between soy food intake and breast cancer risk according to the estrogen receptor (ER) and/or progesterone receptor (PR) status of breast cancer.
    Participants included 438 Chinese women with primary breast cancer that were matched by age and residence (rural/urban) with 438 women free of cancer. Dietary intake was assessed by face-to-face interviews using a validated food frequency questionnaire.
    Researchers observed a statistically significant inverse association between soy isoflavone and soy protein intake with breast cancer risk. The women in the group with the highest soy isoflavone intake had a 46% decreased cancer risk compared to the group with the lowest intake. Women in the group with the highest soy protein had a 38% reduced cancer risk compared to the lowest intake group. A preventive effect of soy food was found for all subtypes of ER and/or PR status of breast cancer. The inverse association was more evident among premenopausal women.
    This study suggests that consumption of soy foods and soy isoflavones may reduce the risk of breast cancer, and that the protective effects of soy do not seem to differ by ER and PR breast cancer status.

    Source: Zhang C et al. Cancer Sci. 2010 Feb;101(2):501-7

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