One is really good, and one is awful. The good one we call mineralization. So calcium is an important part of forming bone tissue. Helping our muscles work right. Helping our nerves to conduct signals properly. When we lack it, we can have more muscular tension. More fatigue. More stress. So it is a really critical thing.
So now the calcifying. That is like a pearl forming in an oyster. When there is an irritation. When there is inflammation in the body, calcification can grow around that and cause masses to form. Calcified masses. Some of these are small. Some are more significant in size. Even the small ones can be critical. So when there is irritation in the blood vessels, calcium growth creates calcification. That is a big part of how plaque forms in the body, and that is how heart disease sets up. That is why studies have shown that many vitamins cause heart attacks. Because those that have insoluble calcium will cause more plaque to form.
Calcification is also a bad deal for your joints. When we talk about joint calcification with arthritis, it’s the same process. It’s an area that is chronically inflamed. It’s calcified. It’s material built around that. This is also the process behind kidney stones and gallstones. There are many ways it can go wrong.
So why does calcium do bad things sometimes and good things other times? There are a couple of reasons for that. The first one is what type of calcium we are consuming. Calcium is soluble if it dissolves, or it’s insoluble if it doesn’t dissolve in water. Simple distinction. The insoluble types are more concentrated. They have more calcium per dose than others. They are just denser, but they are also harder for the body to put in the right places. They are more apt to move around in the system and just passively attach to inflammation rather than actively contribute to mineralization and tissue repair. So that is the downside.
So insoluble calcium, what does that mean in terms of our diet? Pretty much dairy foods. So dairy foods contain calcium carbonate, which is very dense calcium. So per serving, you will see more impressive numbers per milligram. In the body, that is calcium that does not do as many good things, and we have seen that. It’s a paradox, but many papers have shown that the cultures with the highest dairy intake have higher rates of bone thinning. It does not help the things that calcium should do for mineralization. We have also seen that those same cultures have higher rates of arthritis and then cardiovascular events. So that is the double edge sword. Regarding supplements, the insoluble calcium would be calcium carbonate and bone-derived calcium or coral-derived calcium. Those are all types that do not readily dissolve in water.
So what about the good kind of calcium? Well, it’s the type that is more water-soluble. As a generalization, this is the type of calcium we get from plant foods. You may hear about green foods and green leafy vegetables containing calcium. Often they are not given as much attention as they deserve because the amount they contain is much lower in milligrams than you would find in calcium from dairy, for example. So even though it is fewer milligrams, it is much better absorbed. It is much more beneficial for the body. So leafy greens have very helpful types of calcium.
In supplements, citrate is best. It is the least apt to interfere with thyroid medication and has been proven to improve bone health. You do not need more than 300 milligrams because they are more efficiently absorbed and are more extensively used for mineralization. There is not a whole lot of loss in absorption, and there is not a great amount of calcium lost to calcification and inflammatory reactions. So they are safe, and they are much more efficient. They are much more important to us. That is one big distinction of calcium doing good stuff not bad stuff and that is just what type we have.