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Apr, 2015

You Can Have Incredibly Healthy Strong Bones AND Skip the Dairy.

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Dairy would make a great condiment, not food group!

In the chiropractic industry, we are constantly being asked questions about bone density.

So I thought I’d tackle bone density AND dairy.

One of the main reasons people consume dairy is for the calcium to prevent osteoporosis. The problem is countries that have the highest dairy consumption also have the highest level of osteoporosis.

Why is that?

There are certainly theories out there.

The protein made me do it.

One is the protein theory. Proponents say that the protein in milk is too large for human consumption so it actually robs the body of calcium.

Hey man, this acid thing is wrecking my bones.

Another is the acidic theory.

This theory say’s that milk causes an “acidification” of the body and that robs the body of calcium, actually causing osteoporosis rather than preventing it.

The problem is the evidence doesn’t support the acid or protein theroy. 1 2 3

The evidence supports dairy consumption for increasing bone density.

So why do cultures that consume more dairy have more osteoporosis? My opinion is that because dairy comes with a bunch of other problems and is still not THE BEST way to get calcium into your body.

In the end it actually causes more harm that good.

But why do I think dairy should be a condiment and not a food group?

Because we’re not cow’s.

Milk is for baby cows, not humans. It’s been linked to increased risk of prostate cancer in men, increased ovarian cancer in women, diabetes and heart disease. It also comes with a huge allergic potential for most adults, whither you manifest symptoms or not.

Dairy can be tolerated in small amounts but anything more than cream in coffee, butter on toast and some cheese sauce on your broccoli, we need to stay away from dairy.

And for many people, even the slightest amount of dairy set’s off a series of chain reactions in their body that is absolutely horrible.

As mentioned, it’s highly allergic and if that wasn’t enough, the modern day “processing” of dairy makes it even more toxic.

If we could access, non-processed, raw milk the story would be different.  

There are healthy fat’s in raw, unprocessed milk and yes, the calcium is helpful. But the cost of consuming volumes of modern day hyper-processed milk, cheese and milk products is not worth the cost to our health.

Moving milk to the condiment section of your nutrition and getting your calcium from dark green vegetables is a far better move.

There is a great article from the Harvard School of Public Health that does a great job on summarizing a terrific strategy for beating “the bone density blues”. You can find that article here

This article does a good job of hitting the top strategies for maintaining and restoring bone density, mainly,

  1. Getting Regular Exercise
  2. Getting Enough Calcium (1200-2000mg/day)
  3. Getting Enough Vitamin D (5000 IU/day in non sun exposure months)
  4. Getting Enough Vitamin K

Then there is what you need to avoid, mainly,

  1. Soda and carbonated drinks
  2. Acid Addictions, for more on that see my post here.
  3. Commercial Milk

Where does supplementation fit in?

Very rarely do I recommend supplementation. I really believe we need to be getting our nutrients from our food but if you are osteoporotic you need to be supplementing with 1200 to 2000 mg of calcium. I also actually recommend almost double the magnesium that nutritionist’s recommend. Around 500mg a day, and even more if you are generally “stiff all over”.

This may seem counterintuitive, but there is a metabolic type that without adequate magnesium they store calcium in their muscles and become super stiff.

This group of people can consume huge amounts of calcium and their bone density continues to plummet.

When they start to supplement with larger amounts of magnesium their stiffness goes away. If they are seeing a bone specialist, after a few more bone density tests, they come back to me and say their specialist can’t explain why they are getting better. Osteoporosis is only “supposed to get worse.”

My #1 recommendation is to ensure lots of dark green vegetables and minimizing dairy and your bone density will look after itself.

Think of dairy as a “condiment” and you’ll be far better off.

Adult human physiology was not built to deal with dairy, especially in the amounts the dairy industry is telling us to consume.

In the case of dairy, more is not better, BUT complete elimination is not necessary for most Canadian’s either.

Notes:

  1. The association between osteoporosis and hypertension: the role of a low dairy intake.Calcif Tissue Int. 2013 Jul;93(1):86-92. doi: 10.1007/s00223-013-9731-9. Epub 2013 May 8.
  2. A dairy and fruit dietary pattern is associated with a reduced likelihood of osteoporosis in Korean postmenopausal women. Br J Nutr. 2013 Nov;110(10):1926-33. doi: 10.1017/S0007114513001219. Epub 2013 Apr 12.
  3. Phosphate decreases urine calcium and increases calcium balance: a meta-analysis of the osteoporosis acid-ash diet hypothesis. Nutr J. 2009 Sep 15;8:41. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-8-41.

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