Calcium and Phosphorus – Protect yourself from fractures
A study showed some factors that deserves to be known:
- Women whose mothers had hip fractures are at double risk to develop fractures;
- Lack of physical activity increases the risk of fractures;
- Daily intake of a cup and a half of coffee or eating a proper amounts of caffeine increase the risk of fracture;
- Anticonvulsant and antidepressant medicines doubles the risk of hip fractures;
- Vegetable proteins DOES NOT favor osteoporosis, as it happens in animal protein case;
- Insufficient sun exposure and alcohol consumption also expands the risk of hip fractures;
- An adequate calcium intake and relatively small protein ingestion before the age of 30 years reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
Although the risk for women to suffer a fracture is three times higher than in men, the fracture frequency is not neglecteble for them either. In the past, it was assumed that low calcium intake would be an important factor for predicting a fracture, as bones are composed mainly of calcium phosphate and a mixture of calcium phosphate and calcium hydroxide, called hydroxyapatite.
Researchers at the Nutrition Department of the Faculty of Public health, around Harvard University, Boston, observing, for eight years, 51,529 men, found no protective effect of calcium intake from dairy or non-dairy sources against the forearm and hip fractures in men. During life, the risk of suffering a fracture is over 40% for women and 13% for men. If we know that in elder people hip fracture has a mortality of 20%, then we realize how important is to prevent osteoporosis.
For more than 30 years is known that minerals from the skeleton functions as a buffer-base and that the work of a life to buffer the acids from limentation leads to a gradual loss of the bone mass. Alkaline diet consisting of fruits, vegetables and vegetable proteins, through the potassium and magnesium contained, has a buffer effect.
Abundant consumption of fruits and vegetable produce a more alkaline urine by compounds that supports hydrogen ions.
In the April, 1999 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1999; 67: 727-36), Jean Mayer and colaborators from The Human Nutrition Center at Tufts University, USA, demonstrates that high intake of potassium and magnesium from vegetarian food increases the bone density in older men. Hence, no milk, no cheese or meat, but fruits and vegetables reinforce the elderly skeleton preventing hip fractures. Calcium is essential not only for a robust skeleton, but can help preventing the hypertension and the contractile force of the heart.
All varieties of cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, beans, dandelion, soy, peanuts, sesame and figs contain sufficient amounts of calcium.
But today we know that in order to keep the calcium balance, it’s important not only the amount of calcium in a food, but also the proportion in which this calcium is absorbed. Calcium absorption depends, at least in some measure, of the composition of whole, not only the nutrient profile of a food rich in calcium.
Although milk is rich in calcium, 70-80% and as some say, even 90%, of this calcium is not absorbed.
Recent research shows that calcium absorption from vegetables is higher than the calcium in milk. One reason for the very good absorption of calcium from green vegetables is their content low in phosphorus.
Green vegetables have 3 to 5 times more calcium than phosphorus. In contrast, the european and american alimentation contain two to three times more phosphorus than calcium. And the diet where report phosphorous / calcium is more than two produce a loss of calcium in the body, meaning a loss of bone mass.
To be able to make a picture, here are some figures:
- A diet Pepsi dose does not contain calcium at all; in exchange has 40 mg of phosphorus;
- 100g of lean meat contains 6 mg of calcium and 198 mg phosphorus;
- 100 g of oceanic fish contain 14 mg of calcium and 237 mg phosphorus;
- 100 grams of tofu contain 258 mg of calcium and 239 mg phosphorus;
In the preceding pages, we have shown the adverse effects of phosphorus from the food we eat. Here are the main sources of phosphorus:
- 34% of ingested phosphorus comes from milk and cheese;
- 30%, meat, fish and eggs;
- 19% of cereal products;
- 7% of plants;
- 5%, vegetables and nuts;
- 2%, fruit;
- 3% of other sources.
As it shown, to reduce phosphorus intake we just have to exclude meat, milk, cheese and eggs. Instead, soy cheese, ie tofu, has an excellent phosphorus / calcium ratio. Besides the risk of osteoporosis, calcium loss in the urine increases the risk of kidney stones.