The benefits of calcium are strong teeth and bones, a healthy nervous system (signaling), proper muscle contraction, and the proper secretion of certain hormones and enzymes. While a deficiency can lead to numbness in extremities, muscle cramps, convulsions, lethargy, appetite loss and abnormal heart rhythms. For kids it is very important to get the right amount each day, but for adults…. an excess of calcium has shown potential health problems like kidney stones, vascular diseases (stroke and heart attack).
According to some studies, the need for calcium in adults is less important than in children and lactating and/or pregnant women, and the consumption of milk by adults appears to have some health issues. No one quite knows the exact reason for the increase in disease, but some studies show A1/A2 protein, lactose, and D-galactose are the instigators that trigger inflammation and the formation of free radicals, linked to aging, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
The Holstein cow, a favorite in the milk making industry, produces a very large amount of A1 protein, and some people find this very hard to digest, exhibiting symptoms that can be similar to those with lactose intolerance. It is thought that the 1 in 4 Americans who exhibit symptoms of lactose intolerance could actually be unable to digest A1 protein found in high amounts in cows like the Holstein.
“We’ve got a huge amount of observational evidence that a lot of people can digest the A2 but not the A1,” says Keith Woodford, a professor of farm management and agribusiness at New Zealand’s Lincoln University and author of Devil in the Milk: Illness, Health, and the Politics of A1 and A2 Milk. “More than 100 studies suggest links between the A1 protein and a whole range of health conditions”—Josh Harkinson, Your’re Drinking the Wrong Kind of Milk.
But it’s not just the protein in dairy that may be harming adults consuming large amounts of dairy products. Harvard University nutritionist, Mark Hegsted, conducted a study on the dietary need of calcium in the adult diet. He claimed that adults need very little calcium, and that too much dairy can actually be harmful for adults. “One sweeping study found that women who drank 2.5 or more glasses of milk a day had a higher risk of fractures than their counterparts who drank less than one glass a day.”–Josh Harkinson, Cowed.
Another study looked at consumption of milk by men, finding those that consumed more than 2,000 milligrams of calcium a day were nearly twice as likely to get prostate cancer as those who consumed less than 500 milligrams a day. Something to think about the next time you reach for a glass of milk.
Calcium is found in some commonly used herbs and condiments like Thyme, parsley, capers, garlic, basil, chili powder, and even molasses, so eating a healthy diet maybe all an adult needs to obtain enough calcium. As always, you should consult your physician if you are ever in doubt as to whether or not you are getting enough vitamins and minerals in your diet.
For more information on calcium rich food, watch the slide below. Happy healthy eating!
Darky leafy greens: Kale 140mg/100g
Mozzarella cheese 961mg/100g
Sardines 383mg/100g; Anchovies & Salmon 60mg-85mg
photography courtesy of Pixabay