by Dr Nina Bailey BSc MSc PhD
Calcium requirements change as we age and many older people supplement to strengthen bones and prevent fractures. However, depending on the source of the calcium within a supplement, some supplements, it seems, may do more harm than good. People who take commonly available calcium supplements derived from rock sources could be increasing their risk of heart attack, according to researchers in Germany.
The study published in the journal Heart followed 23,980 people for more than a decade and found that those taking calcium supplements were 86% more likely to have had a heart attack than those who were not.1 These results would undoubtedly make anyone sit up and take note.
Calcium is not naturally found in its elemental state but occurs most commonly in sedimentary rock, thus the majority of calcium supplement available on the market is cheaply made from natural sources such as rock deposits, limestone or oyster shell. Unfortunately, unlike food-derived calcium, the body struggles to absorb this source of calcium which is therefore then free to travel around the circulation and become deposited in arterial plaque. It is this calcified arterial plaque clogging arteries that leads to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
In keeping with Igennus’ strong ethos of sourcing the purest, safest and most bioavailable raw ingredients, the calcium in Omegaflex DUO is derived not from limestone, but from a form of calcium-rich seaweed. Considered to be a natural food source, and in contrast to commonly available calcium products, Algas Calcareas is a novel ocean derived red algaethatabsorbs essential minerals from the sea before breaking down naturally and settling on the sea bed. The calcified skeletal remains provide a pre-digested, highly bioavailable, source of bone-supporting trace minerals and co-factors. Similar to consuming root vegetables that are rich in trace minerals from the soil in which they have grown, algae provides a plethora of nutrients that the body can easily digest and absorb.
Calcium is one of the most important minerals within the body, making up more than 99% of the structural support for bones and teeth. However, this important mineral also aids in numerous other functions including muscle contraction, dilation and constriction of blood vessels, the secretion of hormones and enzymes, as well as a role in the central nervous system sending messages between nerve cells. When calcium intake is low, the body leaches the calcium needed for these functions from our bones, which undergo constant remodelling through resorption and the deposition of calcium into newly formed bone. In the ageing adult, particularly among postmenopausal women, this bone breakdown exceeds new formation, resulting in bone loss, which increases the risk for developing osteoporosis.
With the popularity of calcium supplements rising in the UK, and concerns regarding their safety highlighted in the media, it is wise to consider highly bioavailable algae-derived calcium as a safe supplement source. As well as being rich in bio-available calcium, Algas Calcareas is also rich in magnesium and over 70 other trace minerals known to play a role in bone health, making it a superior choice for bone support. Studies suggest that the unique mineral composition of red algae not only promotes bone formation, making it useful in treating bone diseases such as osteoporosis, but also has potent anti-inflammatory potential.2-4
- Li K, Kaaks R, Linseisen J, Rohrmann S. (2012)Associations of dietary calcium intake and calcium supplementation with myocardial infarction and stroke risk and overall cardiovascular mortality in the Heidelberg cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study (EPIC-Heidelberg). Heart 98:920-5.
- Ryan S, O’Gorman DM & Nolan YM. (2011) Evidence that the marine-derived multi-mineral Aquamin has anti-inflammatory effects on cortical glial-enriched cultures. Phytotherapy research 25:765-7.
- O’Gorman, DM, Tierney, CM, Brennan, O & O’Brien FJ. (2012) The Marine-derived, Multi-mineral formula, Aquamin, Enhances Mineralisation of Osteoblast Cells In Vitro. Phytotherapy research 26:375-80.
- O’Gorman, DM, O’Carroll C. & Carmody RJ. (2012) Evidence that Marine-derived, Multi-mineral, Aquamin Inhibits the NF-kappaB Signaling Pathway In Vitro. Phytotherapy research26:630-2.