An interesting paradigm: How can a woman have soft bones and kidney stones at the same time? The bones are the biggest depository for calcium in the body. Women with osteoporosis can lose calcium from their bones and have it be deposited in her kidneys. From there it is flushed out as hard, jagged crystals that are excruciatingly painful to pass. Bones are actually made from 17 essential nutrients including magnesium which is the most important mineral along with calcium.

Dr. Susan Brown, Ph.D., director of the Osteoporosis Education Project in Syracuse, New York, advises that “the use of calcium supplements in the face of magnesium deficiency can lead to a deposition of calcium in the soft tissues such as the joints, promoting arthritis, or in the kidney, contributing to kidney stones.” Dr. Brown recommends a daily dose of 450 mg of magnesium for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.

Low levels of magnesium can compromise calcium metabolism and hinder the body’s production of vitamin D, which further weakens the bones. It is clear from scientific studies that too much calcium (especially from calcium supplementation) impairs magnesium absorption and results in worsening osteoporosis, the formation of kidney stones, gall stones, heel spurs, arthritis, breast tissue calcification, and heart disease.

Calcium cannot build bones or prevent osteoporosis without adequate levels of magnesium. If our bones were made entirely of calcium, they would become brittle. They would shatter just like a stick of chalk falling on the sidewalk. But with the correct percentage of magnesium, bone develops the proper  density and matrix that actually makes it flexible and more resistant to shattering. Diets high in protein, refined salt, alcohol, and caffeine all adversely affect bone health.

Minerals constitute 60 percent of bone (calcium and phosphate are the most prevalent). Magnesium provides the resilience factor. Bones also include water and a protein matrix. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and forms the scaffolding (like a honeycomb) where minerals are deposited.

Drugs like Fosamax, and other bisphosphonates, cause brittle bones and jawbone deterioration. Fosamax destroys osteoclasts, the cells that break down bone as it ages. Osteoclasts also sculpt the bone as new bone forms shaping it into a strong, stable platform. Without osteoclasts bones have no  blueprint to follow and minerals get deposited chaotically. Bones look dense but they are extremely brittle and break easily-something the drug companies did not realize until too late. For more information on calcium and osteoporosis, see my book.

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