We’ve all heard that calcium is important for strong bones, and that we need to consume more. But there’s another side of the bone-health coin that’s seldom addressed: how the body actually loses calcium. In this insightful new podcast episode, Emily Rosen, Director of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, describes the mental and emotional states that cause the body to actually break down existing bone tissue and resist absorbing calcium from our food. Could your body be excreting necessary nutrients? If you’re eating in a state of chronic stress, it’s very possible. Tune in and learn how you can use the power of Mind Body Nutrition to get the maximum nourishment from the food you eat. If you’ve ever wondered what you can do to ensure long-term bone health, you won’t want to miss this episode.
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Here is a transcript of this week’s video:
These days, it seems like the subject of women, calcium and bone loss are forever wedded. We’re constantly being sold on the importance of consuming more calcium by adding it to our orange juice, taking it in pills, and of course, drinking milk. But there’s way more to the story of bone health than mere calcium intake alone.
Did you know that our inner world, and particularly our level of inner peace, has a profound impact on bone health?
Research has shown an unmistakable effect of stress on bone density. Mice exposed to a three-week period of living in overcrowded cages showed significant bone demineralization – loss of calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, and iron. (City dwellers take note.) They also showed significant losses in micro-mineral concentrations associated with bone health – zinc, boron, chromium, and cobalt.
The glucocorticoids, a class of stress hormones that includes cortisol, are largely responsible for the bone-wasting effects of stress. These hormones actually block the assimilation of calcium in the intestines and severely restrict the amount of calcium available for bone growth. Excessive glucocorticoid production, as seen in chronic stress, will even increase the rate at which bone tissue is broken down.
America has one of the highest rates of calcium intake in the world and still has one of the highest rates of osteoporosis.
Something’s wrong with this picture. The successful equation for bone density is not about getting more calcium. It’s about excreting less. We literally lose calcium in the urine within minutes of feeling stress; this is the same calcium that moments before was in your bones. One study from the field of Mind Body Nutrition, conducted by the National Institutes of Health and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, confirmed that past or current depression in women is strongly associated with bone loss. Depressed females had bone density measurements as much as 13 percent lower than non-depressed subjects. This study conclusively demonstrated that bone health and mental health go hand in hand.
It’s also instructive to note that stress isn’t the only factor that causes us to excrete calcium in our urine. Caffeine, alcohol, air pollution, cigarette smoke, excess sugar, excess animal protein, and phosphoric acid (found in many cola-flavored sodas) all have this effect. Wrap these all up into the typical American office-worker lifestyle and you’ll see that we’re losing this precious mineral at an alarming rate.
So if you’ve been bombarded with the message to “take more calcium,” it’s time to look at the big picture.
Tune into your body wisdom and let your inner knowing speak. Give yourself the luxury of believing that you have a choice and a voice in the world you create for yourself. Open up to the amazing metabolic changes we can make by empowering ourselves in all our life choices, large and small. Remember that building bones depends not only on the calcium in your food but on the feelings in your heart and the thoughts in your head. Bones, like the rest of us, need more than nutrition. They need to be nourished.
I hope this was helpful.