ALONG time ago in a London health foods store, I stood almost perplexed before the food supplements shelves, undecided about which of much appealing Calcium supplements I should buy. Back home in Nigeria, the food supplements market was just coming up and there was no fuss about which Calcium salts to buy. But there I was in London bombarded with no fewer than about twelve competing Calcium salts. There were Calcium lactate, Calcium gluconate, Calcium citrate, Coral Calcium, Calcium chloride, Calcium Citrate Malate, Calcium AEP(calamine phosphate), Calcium-Magnesium-Zinc complex(CALMAG).
There are about four important qualities or combinations of them which a good Calcium salt should have. Like us human beings who cannot be 100% perfect on this Earth, a perfect Calcium salt may be a mirage. The four grounds in which to assess a Calcium salt are…
ONE: The quantum of its elemental Calcium contents……This may vary from 9% in Calcium gluconate, 13% in Calcium lactate, and about 21% in Calcium citrate to about 40% in CALCIUM CARBONATE, which provides the highest elemental Calcium content among Calcium salts. So, if you are searching for a large amount of the real Calcium content in the capsule and less of the attachment to Calcium, Calcium Carbonate is the salt to choose.
TWO: This is SOLUBILITY…How easily does the Calcium salt dissolve in water? The more easily a Calcium salt dissolves in water, the easier it is for the body to absorb and use it. Many organic Calcium salts are fairly soluble in water. Among the most soluble ones are Calcium acetate, Calcium citrate, Calcium gluconate, and Calcium lactate. But Calcium acetate and Calcium citrate appear to be the best of the pack. Calcium carbonate, easily the most abundant in elemental Calcium, but one of the least water-soluble, is the most constituents of the shells of egg, snail, pearls, seashells, the teacher’s chalk and is extensively used as filler for PVCs(POLYVINYL CHLORIDE).
THREE: Bioavailability…This is all about how much or physically available and soluble elemental Calcium will eventually be absorbed into the bloodstream and, from there, finds its way into the cells. Calcium carbonate may present at 40% of elemental Calcium the largest stock or holding of this mineral, it is one of the least bioavailable at as low as 15% because of its low solubility. A study of the Bioavailability of Calcium carbonate and Calcium citrate shows that, on empty stomach, Calcium citrate is between 22% and 27% more bioavailable than Calcium carbonate and, with meals, about 21.6%.
FOUR: Vitamin D3…The days are long gone when a Calcium supplement without Vitamin D3 will appeal to a well-informed Calcium consumer. Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin made under the human skin through the reaction of sunlight on fatty tissue. Vitamin D3 is now widely associated with immunity. A deficiency of Vitamin D3, like a deficiency of Calcium, has been linked to colorectal cancer in particular. So well related has Calcium and Vitamin D3 be found that the Vitamin is now added to reputable Calcium supplement. In addition to supporting immune function, Vitamin D3 in Calcium supplements supports the maximum absorption of Calcium into the bone matrix. In other words, Calcium without Vitamin D3 is like a waste of money.
Ever since Coral Calcium stole the show from other Calcium salts about 20 years ago, it has become a regular feature in my herbal medicine chest. Although, it is essentially made of Calcium carbonate which, as stated, is less soluble than other Calcium salts and, accordingly, less available. What has made Coral Calcium remain a star Calcium salt despite these shortcomings is that it is about the only Calcium salt in the market which comes with several other minerals in the right proportions they are all found in nature, particularly in the bone. When Coral Calcium mounted the Calcium throne, its faced opposition from many critics who saw it as no better than Calcium carbonate, the commonest form of Calcium, because Coral Calcium, too, is essentially Calcium carbonate. As stated earlier, the common Calcium carbonate is derived essentially from limestone, chalk, and granite. So, the marketers didn’t see why Coral Calcium should be any better, being a Calcium carbonate product. I am emphasizing the words Calcium carbonate because, as we shall soon see, not all Calcium carbonate is typical Calcium carbonate. Naysayers, who mounted the biggest opposition against Coral Calcium, turned a blind eye to the differences, or he was ignorant about them. He took imaging signs to prove to everyone that while Calcium carbonate derived from limestone, rock, chalk or granite is plain Calcium carbonate. The Calcium carbonate in Coral Calcium is organic and comes not only with Magnesium but also with several micro minerals. In fact, some studies in the absorption of Calcium have shown that Coral Calcium is ionized, i.e, split into its components parts, within about 20minutes of its ingestion and about 60%-70% of it is absorbed into the bloodstream. According to Byron J. Richard, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist:
“Coral are marine invertebrates that secrete calcium carbonate to favorably regulate the pH of the ocean water that surrounds them. This creates a hard skeleton around them, with many coral-building coral reefs. They get their energy and nutrients from single-cell algae that inhabit their tissues. Such algae need sunlight to grow, meaning coral lives in shallow clear waters. The mineral skeleton secreted by coral also contains magnesium and many other trace minerals naturally found in the ocean, making coral minerals a broad spectrum mineral supplement”.
Many other Coral salts do not have this assembly or synergy. In fact, it has been suggested in some studies that the consumption of plain Calcium does not necessarily translate into denser, stronger, and healthier bones or a solution to osteoporosis. Coral Calcium and its assembly of alkaline minerals make it a first choice Calcium salt for the resolution of ACIDOSIS and healthy management of many human diseases it causes. The Coral Calcium balloon was flown by the NEW BIOLOGY OF HEALTH, a hypothesis now accepted as a theory. The New Biology of Health teaches that on a 0-14 scale in which SEVEN is median and every count below seven is acidic and above is alkaline, diseases begin to occur as the body falls into ACIDOSIS while it is healthy in a slightly ALKALINE regime (7.364 or 7.4).
Coral Calcium overshadowed other Calcium salts. When medical disciples of the New Biology of Health anchored its flag on OKINAWA, an island in JAPAN where some of the Earth’s oldest persons were found, some 120 years old and still working, and women over 70 were still menstruating and fertile. Their diet was not any better than the standard Euro-American diet which was causing many diseases. But their water was different. It was collected above Coral reefs and drunk or used for cooking without prior chlorination or fluoridation, which often alters the cellular status and biochemistry of the thyroid gland and other glands. The Coral reefs were naturally produced from the sedimentation of the remains of small marine animals accumulated over millions of years. As the underground water came up through sieves of coral remains, it leached coral minerals which then came up with it. Byron J. Richard adds:
“Coral minerals, even though they are carbonates, are different than rock-based calcium carbonate. They are geometrically structured mineral arrangements created by a living organism, making them organic minerals with unique properties. The latest advanced imaging science shows they have organic matrix molecules embedded in the mineral crystals; this is far different than calcium from rock. The second group of researchers has also confirmed the transfer of organic molecules into the calcium structure. Technically, this means that coral minerals are the highest mineral content food that is known, sort of like picking a mineralized apple from a coral tree”.
In the 1990s, Coral Calcium became an alkalizing agent and became an adjunct food supplement in the treatment or management of many diseases, including the enfant terrible of them all, CANCER.
CA is the chemical formula for Calcium, MG is for Magnesium and ZN is for Zinc. There are CALMAG formulas and there are those which accommodate Zinc in the complex as CAL-MAG-ZN. These formulas are cheaper in a single bottle than the salts are purchased as single salts. In the complex, dosages are usually smaller or maybe as high as expected in a RECOMMENDED DAILY ALLOWANCE(RDA). This is not the issue at stake. Many people prefer the complex because they do not have to swallow many pills at the same time. Imagine the time we had to swallow four tablets of TIANSHI Zinc three times a day for a 15mg Zinc RDA, which is now obtainable in one or two Cal-Mag-Zn capsules. The concern of many people with the complex is that Calcium and Magnesium are higher than Zinc in the ELECTROCHEMICAL SERIES. This means that, at the absorption stage, Calcium will get the upper hand, followed by Magnesium and so little of Zinc or none may be absorbed.
I first learned about this from Dr.Stephen Davies and Dr.Alan Stewart in their book NUTRITIONAL MEDICINE. Doctors gave Zinc to some infertile women but were surprised that their serum Zinc levels did not rise as expected over the months. The prescriptions are the included Zinc in a group of minerals which included those higher than Zinc in the electrochemical series. So, the doctors change their tactics. They said the women should take the Zinc supplements separately and on an empty stomach with warm water first thing in the morning and last thing before they went to bed at night. To the joy of everyone, the seeing Zinc levels dramatically rose. I have not stopped taking my Zinc in this fashion ever since I read of it in their book. Calcium and Magnesium are different kettles of fish. They need to be taken with a meal for their digestion and absorption. We must not forget, though, that science is on the move and that technology has now made it possible to have Ionic minerals that can be absorbed from right under the tongue.
This Calcium salt is also called Calcium 2 or Colamine Phosphate. The AEP in Calcium stands for Amino Ethyl Phosphate. It was discovered in 1941 by ERWIN CHARGAFF. His work as a biochemistry researcher would lead later to the discovery of the double Helix structure of DNA, Deoxyribonucleic acid in 1953.
Producers of Calcium AEP sell it for the treatment of a disease called MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS. This is a condition in which the immune system, rather than protect the body, eats up the protective covering of the nerves called the MYELIN SHEATH. This disrupts or damages communication between the brain and the body, and this results in many symptoms. Some of them are vision loss, fatigue, impaired coordination of body functions and pain. Some challenged persons may be symptoms free for life while some others may live disturbed existence. As Google summarises it:
“People may experience:
Pain areas: in the back or eyes
circumstances: can occur in the back due to head nod or with eye movement
Tremor: can occur during precise movements, in the hands, or limbs
Muscular: cramping, difficulty walking, inability to rapidly change motions, involuntary movements, muscle paralysis, muscle rigidity, muscle weakness, problems with coordination, stiff muscles, clumsiness, muscle spasms, or overactive reflexes
Whole-body: fatigue, dizziness, heat intolerance, poor balance, or vertigo
Urinary: excessive urination at night, leaking of urine, persistent urge to urinate, or urinary retention
Sensory: pins and needles, abnormality of taste, reduced sensation of touch, or uncomfortable tingling and burning
Speech: difficulty speaking, slurred speech, or impaired voice
Visual: blurred vision, double vision, or vision loss
Mood: anxiety or mood swings
Sexual: erectile dysfunction or sexual dysfunction
Also common: cognitive deficit, constipation, depression, difficulty swallowing, flare, foot drop, headache, heavy legs, numbness of the face, nystagmus, sleep deprivation, tongue numbness, or weakness”.
Although some doctors have been prescribing CALCIUM AEP, the United States National Multiple Sclerosis Society does not approve it in protocols for the disease, saying it was fraught with side effects and risks. Society says Calcium AEP may contain a “powerful drug” that upsets the immune system. But this drug is neither officially stated nor mentioned in their websites.
In his book, DR. ROBERT ATKINS VITA NUTRIENT SOLUTION, these frontiers doctors in the 1998 edition called it COLAMINE PHOSPHATE, “the most underrated nutrient, autoimmune saviour”, adding:
“For a nutrient with an almost priceless medicinal value, Calcium AEP(colamine phosphate) is tragically underused and pitifully underresearched. It’s the first mineral I turn to when treating Multiple Sclerosis, Type I diabetes, and most other illnesses that stem from a self-destructive immune system disorder. The Calcium salt of 2 aminoethanolphosphate, or Calcium AEP, is widely distributed throughout our bodies, yet we do not know its function. But the few doctors who work with it understand that it offers true therapeutic hope against autoimmune diseases, conditions where the immune system turns on the body’s own cells, attacking joints, nerves, or other tissues as if they were a virus or some other foreign substance. Conventional medicine offers no effective therapy for autoimmune disorders other than Prednisone like steroids and drugs that suppress the side effects. Calcium AEP doesn’t do that. For an autoimmune condition like MS, it allows for real neurological improvements. And it doesn’t work for just a handful of people, it works for a majority.
“One physician, Hans Nieper, M.D., deserves all the credit for discovering the impressive benefits of Calcium AEP over thirty-five years ago. The German oncologist and cardiologist have administered it with great results to more than four thousand people. I’ve treated more than one thousand or so of my own patients with it and can attest to Nieper’s clinical findings. The hardest part is notifying the rest of the world. Since the initial publications of Nieper’s research in 1966-68, virtually no other researcher has bothered to experiment with this remarkable substance. For reasons unclear to anyone, the FDA disapproves of this harmless substance and frequently interferes with attempts to use it in the United States. Thus, sadly enough, it is invaluable but remains largely ignored”.
CALCIUM CITRATE MALATE
This Calcium salt considered by the European Food Safety Authority to be one of the most bioavailable Calcium salts, combines 21% elemental Calcium with citric acid and malic acid. When it dissolves, the Calcium ions enter intestinal cells directly while the citrate complex goes into the body through Paracellular absorption. The calcium Citrate Malate complex was patented in the 1980s.
Some studies have suggested that CCM, as this salt is also called, has helped Calcium nine retention in children and older people. As stated in the National Library of Medicine(pubmed.gov Advanced) post on THE HEALTH BENEFIT OF CALCIUM CITRATE MALATE: A Review Of The Supporting Science (by) Susan Reinwald et.al:
“In adults, it effectively promotes the consolidation and maintenance of bone mass. In conjunction with vitamin D, CCM also decreases bone fracture risk in the elderly, slows the rate of bone loss in old age, and is of benefit to the health and well-being of postmenopausal women. CCM is exceptional in that it confers many unique benefits that go beyond bone health. Unlike other calcium sources that necessitate supplementation be in conjunction with a meal to ensure an appreciable benefit is derived, CCM can be consumed with or without food and delivers a significant nutritional benefit to individuals of all ages. The chemistry of CCM makes it a particularly beneficial calcium source for individuals with hypochlorydia or achlorydia, which generally includes the elderly and those on medications that decrease gastric acid secretion. CCM is also recognized as a calcium source that does not increase the risk of kidney stones, and in fact, it protects against stone-forming potential. The versatile nature of CCM makes it a convenient and practical calcium salt for use in moist foods and beverages. The major factor that may preclude selection of CCM as a preferred calcium source is the higher cost compared to other sources of calcium commonly used for fortification (e.g., calcium carbonate and tricalcium phosphate)”.
The global calcium market is much bigger than we can mention here. Calcium chloride alone is accounted for 1.06 billion U.S. Dollars in 2020. It is expected to hit 1.5 billion U.S. Dollars by 2026 when Calcium carbonate is projected to fetch 30.3 billion U.S. Dollars for its producers. Calcium silicate hit 1.5 U.S. Dollars in 2020. Calcium hydrochloride was in the slow lane at 586 million U.S. Dollars. The long and short of it all is that the Calcium supplements industry is growing with the increasing awareness of diet supplements, especially in developing countries, and the market is becoming ever more complex.