Calcium, the most prevalent mineral in the human body, is incorporated into bones and teeth and also plays vital roles in cell conduction, muscle function, hormone regulation, vitamin K dependent pathways, and cardiac and blood vessel function.* Typically about 2-4% of an adult’s skeleton is remodeled each year. This involves a process wherein osteoclasts breakdown bone and osteoblasts rebuild it. However, in the presence of catabolic factors such as suboptimal nutrition, abnormal hormone levels, sedentary lifestyle, stress and aging, the body leaches calcium and other minerals from the bone creating tiny holes or pores (hence the term osteoporosis), which renders the bones weak and brittle, especially if collagen protein is also being lost.
About two out of three Americans do not meet the Recommended Daily Allowance for calcium, which partly explains why osteoporosis or osteopenia (inadequate bone density) affects the majority of post-menopausal women and is increasingly common in men. For that reason, next to multivitamins, calcium pills are the most commonly consumed daily over-the-counter supplement.
Unfortunately, recent studies suggest that traditional mono-nutrient calcium supplements might increase risk of heart issues by accelerating calcified plaque build-up in your coronary arteries. So how do you optimize bone strength, while at the same time promoting heart health? Look to our hunter-gatherer ancestors for advice.
In contrast to supplements, the main dietary sources of calcium for our hunter-gatherer ancestors were animal bones and plants. Indeed through millions of years of evolution, we are genetically adapted to consume a large proportion of our dietary calcium from bones, where calcium is absorbed along with a matrix of nutrients including: magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, iron, copper, collagen protein and osteocalcin - all of which also support robust bone formation.
How to Consume Bones Practically
Pure bone meal supplements may provide a more practical means to ensure adequate calcium intake while supporting the health of your heart.* Ingestion of microcrystalline hydroxyapatite (MCHA, the form of calcium found in bone) produces less of an acute spike in blood calcium levels compared to typical calcium used in standard supplements, and thus may be more likely to promote overall heart health.*
MCHA also stimulates bone osteoblast cells and contains virtually all of the essential building blocks (calcium, phosphorous, zinc, strontium, silicon, iron, proteins and aminoglycans) needed to be to build bone tissue.*