Bone Construction & Growth
Mostly made of Type II Collagen the bones in your body are living, constantly changing matter and cells. Bones require calcium for strength and maintain stores of calcium for use by other parts of the body. There are two different types of bone tissue that comprise the 206 bones found in the adult body. The first is the outer layer called cortical, or compact, bone that accounts for 80% of bone mass. It is dense, durable, and rigid, protecting the inner layer of bone from damage caused by external forces. Muscles and tendons are attached to a fibrous membrane called periosteum that covers cortical bone. Capillaries run through the periosteum to supply cortical bone with blood and nutrients. The inner layer of bones is called cancellous, or spongy, bone and is less far less dense. Cancellous bone has a latticework of small chambers that contain connective tissue and bone marrow, where new red blood cells are produced. Cancellous bone provides structure and flexibility to the body with the ability to absorb shock inside the bone.
Ossification is the process by which cartilage is transformed into new bone, beginning the third month of fetus life and is fully completed by late adolescence. Calcium and phosphate cells accumulate on cartilage cells, and once minerals surround these cells, they begin to die off and leave small pockets of separation. Small blood cells start to fill these spaces delivering osteoblasts, specialized cells collecting calcium and producing a substance filled with collagen fibers, called osteoid, to help build cortical bone. Osteoid is made stronger by minerals. Osteoblasts build bone by piling it up around themselves and become trapped inside turning into osteocytes. They are star shaped cells with long reaching arms that connect them to neighboring osteocytes from which they communicate and exchange nutrients. Some osteoblasts becoming lining cells that help control the movement of molecules in and out of bone.
Your bones are constantly under reconstruction. Bones need repair from breaks, fractures, and damaged blood vessels, nerves and veins. The cells responsible for breaking down and reabsorbing existing bones are called osteoclasts. They often contain more than one nucleus and work with other osteoclasts as a team to reshape and rebuild bone. Bones that are used less often are often broken down to support other calcium and bone needs in the body. Your bones are like muscles in that they grow, thicken, and build endurance when challenged and used consistently.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one in six Americans has osteoporosis or early signs of the disease (osteopenia), and that one in four senior women in the United States have osteoporosis. It is predicted that one quarter of men over the age of 50 will suffer an osteoporosis-related fracture. The bones most affected by osteoporosis are the hip, spine, and wrists. When you are young you have more osteoblast cells than osteoclasts cells resulting in bone gain. As you age osteoblasts are unable to maintain the pace of osteoclasts that are still able to efficiently break down bone, leading to loss of bone mass. Other factors that contribute to bone loss include a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, malnutrition, drinking alcohol in excess, and low estrogen.
There are many types of calcium, hence the confusion in picking the right supplement to effectively strengthen and build your bones. You body absorbs calcium better when taken in small doses.
Calcium also helps blood vessels regulate blood flow, assists in muscle contractions, supports nerve cell communication, and contributes to blood clotting. You body also absorbs calcium better when taken in small doses.
–Calcium Carbonate is the most common and cheapest form of calcium supplement available. It is found in rocks, limestone, shells of marine animals, coral, pearls, eggshells and snails. It is highly concentrated in elemental calcium but is not highly bioavailable. Meaning, it is hard for your body to digest this type of calcium and utilize it for bone strength or any other health purpose and has very poor solubility in water. It also requires more stomach acid to be absorbed, and as you age your body produces less and less stomach acid. This further decreases its bioavailability and assumed potency. This is also the type of calcium that has been clinically shown to increase your risk for heart attacks and strokes because it leaves deposits in the arteries, increasing arterial plaque. It is about 40% calcium with an approximated bioavailability of 40%.
–Calcium Citrate has an acidic base meaning it is more easily digested because is requires less stomach acid, but it is low in elemental calcium thus creating low bioavailability. It is about 20% calcium with an approximated bioavailability of 40%.
–Oyster Shell Calcium, dolomite and bone mean are marketed as natural forms of highly absorbable calcium because they are mostly made from calcium carbonate. However they have all shown to have high toxic levels of lead.
–Calcium Gluconate has very low levels of elemental calcium, about 9-155. Large amounts would need to be taken to have an impact on bone health, and its bioavailability is unknown due to contradicting studies.
–Calcium Lactate is found in food sources like aged cheese and baking powder. It is added to many fresh fruits to help maintain their firmness and extend shelf life. This form of calcium is what you find in antacids and has a medium bioavailability in the body. This is why you hear many doctors suggesting people take Tums for calcium supplementation! However it only contains 9-13% elemental calcium and is not a good choice for people who are lactose intolerant.
–Calcium Phosphate is from cow’s milk, nuts and seeds, beans, broccoli, dark leafy greens, black-eyed peas, figs, oranges, tofu, and salmon or sardine. Tooth enamel and bones are made mostly of calcium phosphate. It contains 39% elemental calcium. However supplement forms of this type of calcium, found as tricalcium phosphate are not bioavailable. The best way to get this form of calcium is from whole food, organic sources.
–Calcium Citrate Malate is a water-soluble form of calcium that is created when calcium salts found in citric acids are mixed with malic acid. It is has more bioavailability than any of the previously listed calcium’s, as high as 42%, however it only contains roughly 26% elemental calcium.
–Calcium Hydroxyapatite and Microcrystalline Hydroxyapatite Complex (MCHC): Calcium hydroxyapatite is found naturally in human and animal bones. MCHC is elemental calcium from bone that is combined with other minerals, proteins, and nutrients that functions a bone growth factors. The calcium content of MCHC varies with each brand but typically is around 22%. Recent studies show use of MCHC over several years can inhibit bone loss and increase bone density.
Plant Based Calcium
Foods and plants supplying calcium also contain other nutrients and trace minerals that support bone growth and increase bone density. Plant based calcium does not contribute to arterial plaque. You do not need large doses or milligrams of food and plant based calcium, which also makes it more safe and efficient.
Algae based calcium supplements are the superior choice for building and strengthening bones. Highly concentrated in calcium, magnesium and minerals from the sea water, these nutrients are recognized by your body as food, making them highly bioavailable & being used in your body in as little as thirty minutes. Numerous studies have shown algae based calcium to be significantly more effective than all other forms of calcium in every tested parameter.
Vitamins & Minerals
Vitamin K2 (menaquinone) helps to active proteins responsible for keeping calcium directed to the site of bone regeneration and out of arteries. Vitamin K also supports the ability of your bones to absorb impact ensuring bones are less likely to break from falls and accidents. Studies show that taking high doses of K2 can reduce the risk of spine and bone fractures. Vitamin K2 is found in natto (fermented soy), organ meats, egg yolks and dairy products. Do not confuse this with vitamin K1 that goes directly to your liver to help you maintain healthy blood clotting factors. Vitamin K2 does not get processed through the liver and is safe to take for those on blood thinning medications.
Vitamin D is critical to calcium absorption and supports the function of osteoblasts and osteoclasts. People with lower levels of vitamin D are more susceptible to osteoporosis and broken bones. Studies have shown that supplementing with higher doses of vitamin D may increase bone density before the onset of osteoporosis or osteopenia.
Vitamin C is necessary for collagen synthesis done by osteoblasts and is required for normal bone development. New research shows that vitamin C may significantly contribute to the prevention of bone loss.
Magnesium is an important mineral in the bone matrix, and supports calcium absorption. Magnesium may also be helpful in reducing bone loss. Magnesium is often found abundantly in foods that also provide calcium such a spinach, tofu, almonds, broccoli and lentils.
Strontium is a mineral that is found in the human body in bones and connective tissue. Studies have shown using 680 mg of strontium daily can reduce the risk of facture by over 40% in those with osteoporosis. Strontium is also credited with showing large gains in bones density and may improve cartilage metabolism. While it absolutely contributes to increasing bone density, many increases in bone density are overestimated with strontium supplementation. Strontium has a larger atomic weight than calcium, and when calcium is replaced by strontium in bone, the density of the bone appears larger. Calcium and strontium both utilize the same carrier protein required for transportation and absorption for use in bones. You should always take strontium four hours away from calcium and at night. Calcium supplements from algae naturally contain 3-5mg of strontium and that amount will not interfere with elemental calcium absorption.