Vitamin D: The Tonto to Calcium's Lone Ranger

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: Heart Health, Food and Nutrition, Nutrients and Additives
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

There’s new evidence that 800 IU’s of vitamin D daily—with or without that calcium—would reduce the risk for both falls and fractures at an older age.

Being deficient in vitamin D, as well as phosphate, appear to limit our body’s ability to absorb the calcium we are taking. And, in terms of phosphate levels, calcium citrate can reduce the phosphate absorption needed to build calcium into the bone, so we have to be savvy about what kind of calcium is in the preparation we’re using.

Additionally, many of the drugs people take for osteoporosis can actually make things worse! Fosamax, Boniva, and Actonel, (basically all biophosphates) may increase bone density, but they do it by destroying the osteoclasts in your bone, so all you have left is osteoblasts. Osteoclasts tear down bone, while osteoblasts build it up, but osteoclasts are an important part of the natural bone regeneration process. With lone osteoclasts you’ll have denser bones, but they’ll be weaker! Again, so much for big pharma!

The bottom line: less IS more when it comes to calcium! Taking too much to prevent osteoporosis may put your body out of balance and lead to deficiencies in other minerals that, in turn, can put you at risk for a host of other diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, hypothyroidism, kidney stones, osteoarthritis, and gallstones.

Looking Forward


New research suggests that there is something we can do as mothers and grandmothers to build stronger bones in our kids. A recent study showed that a higher metaquinone 7 (vitamin K2) supplement intake improves osteocalcin in children. So, we may be hearing more about how to maximize bone strength in childhood to prevent osteoporosis in adulthood.

We are blessed with three granddaughters, so we’ll be following that story and keeping you posted!


For more information on preventing osteoporosis, visit www.drsinatra.com

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