Could what your drinking be damaging your bones? or Too much Calcium?

I ran across this article yesterday and felt the need to share it.  So many of us think about bones and calcium, in fact it has been drilled into our heads by the dairy industry.  But calcium and magnesium have a tight relationship that is often misunderstood.  So many foods and beverages have been fortified with calcium that we are in danger of getting too much of it.  In this case, too much is not a good thing.  A really good question then becomes, are we balancing out our magnesium intake with all the calcium we are taking?

 “Magnesium is involved in over 500 different enzymatic reactions,
far more than any other nutrient. Additionally, the over-emphasis on Calcium (primarily
due to aggressive marketing by the dairy industry) has led to even further imbalances
in Magnesium. Calcium and Magnesium have a somewhat interdependent and competing
relationship. Generally speaking a person needs about twice as much Magnesium as they
do Calcium yet most don’t get anywhere near that.”  – NAFC

And what about Vitamin D?  It is a vital part of absorption of Calcium.  Without the right amounts of these three, that extra calcium finds places it doesn’t belong to build arteries and our organs.  Ideally, the ratio of Magnesium to Calcium should be 2:1. The right key is balance of these nutrients and moderation in intake.  Be sure your multivitamin provides an adequate amount of Magnesium in relation to Calcium (2:1 ratio).  Yes, 2x the magnesium to calcium!  Consider increasing your Vitamin D intake during winter months or times when you know you won’t be outside to get natural Vitamin D in regular doses(ie. busy work months infront of the computer).  Not only will you balance out your nutrient intake, but your moods may be effected positively as well.  If you are concerned that you are not getting enough Vitamin D or Magnesium, do your research and consult your doctor.

What about what you are drinking?  Could it be damaging our bones also.  Interestingly, this study links the consumption of Colas and Coffee to loss of bone density in women: however, some colas (clear liquids) and teas (with or without caffeine) do not.  This points to the fact that it is not the caffeine in these beverages that reduce bone density, but scientists are not quite sure yet what the influencing factor is exactly.Check out the following study by the Cleveland Clinic about bone density studies and their connection to different common beverages.

Sodas, Tea and Coffee: Which Can Lower Your Bone Density?

Studies show cola connection in women, but not men


Colas and coffee appear to have some effect on women’s bone density and could lead to osteoporosis. But tea — even the kind with caffeine — and other sodas do not. And men are not affected at all.

Confused? You’re not alone.

While scientists have gathered data that links consumption of colas and coffee with loss of bone density, researchers are still looking for the reason why,  says rheumatologist Johnny Su, MD.

“Whether there is a causal relationship, and what the exact mechanism of that relationship is, is unclear,” Dr. Su says. “While several studies have shown those relationships, the data overall are not entirely conclusive.”

Possible connections

One reason drinking cola or coffee could impact bone density is that drinking more of these beverages means you’re drinking less beverages like milk, which do promote bone health, Dr. Su says.

Another reason could be that the phosphoric acid in cola leaches calcium out of the bone. Supporting this line of thought is that sodas such as lemon-lime drinks or ginger ale, which are not linked to osteoporosis, lack phosphoric acid.

But, Dr. Su points out, doctors do not recommend cutting back on other foods with high levels of phosphoric acid, like chicken and certain cheeses.

Lastly, it might be caffeine intake that might lead to lower bone density in women. Supporting this theory is that colas — which contain caffeine — and coffee are linked to osteoporosis, while ginger ale and lemon-lime sodas are not. That, however, could be explained by the non-cola drinks’ lack of phosphoric acid.

Further confounding the caffeine theory is that black tea, which contains caffeine, does not impact bone density, Dr. Su says.

Everything in moderation

So while it’s not entirely clear if caffeine consumption lessens bone density, physicians agree in general that excessive amounts of caffeine may have a negative impact, Dr. Su says.

“If you drink those beverages in low amounts — less than 400 milligrams — that’s probably OK,” Dr. Su says. “That means less than four cups of coffee per day might be fine, and less than two cans of cola a day. But if you can cut these beverages out altogether, that’s even better.”

If you still want to drink carbonated beverages, one alternative could be switching to non-caffeinated beverages, Dr. Su says.

A lifetime of weight-bearing exercise and consuming adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D are the best protection against brittle bones and the health risks associated with osteoporosis, Dr. Su says.

Dairy products, such as non-fat milk and yogurt, are naturally high in calcium, as are vegetables such as kale and broccoli. Also, some foods and beverages, such as orange juice and cereal, are enriched with calcium.


 Don’t take my word for it, do your research and decide for yourself!  My goal here is to keep you “in-the-know!”