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From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Calcium-free diet
Date: 22 May 1997

In <>
(KMitch429) writes:

>This is another view -- my 24-year-old godson has kidney stones
>(calcium), had sound wave lithotripsy today and must be on a very strict
>calcium-free diet. The urologist gave him a list of foods he cannot have
>-- but they want to read all they can and understand why he cannot have
>those certain foods.
>Does anyone know anywhere online that I can access to obtain information
>on this subject. I have gone to Lycos and Yahoo but cannot find
>calcium-free, rather there is a lot on putting more calcium into a diet.
>Thank you

   A calcium free diet would give you osteoporosis after a few months.
I'm not sure, as a gerontologist, that a low calcium diet over a
lifetime is a good idea.  If you want to lower the amount of calicum in
a person's urine, putting them on alkaline supplements (magesium oxide
or potassium citrate or potassium carbonate) plus perhaps a thiazide
diuretic, is a lot more humane.  And magnesium does double duty in that
it blocks a lot of calcium stone formation.   I suggest a second

                                          Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Calcium absorption from milk
Date: 6 Sep 1998 06:21:30 GMT

In <35F2035C.C1FFD241@email.plzl> Jay <no@email.plzl> writes:

> wrote:
>> As for milk drawing calcium out of the bones - there is simply no
>> plausible mechanism for such an effect. Got milk? Drink up.
>There are indeed plausible mechanisms for that effect. Animal protein is
>known to have a calciuretic effect. However, the evidence seems to
>indicate that milk is not calciuretic, although other sources of animal
>protein are.

   Any protein with methionine has a calciuretic effect.  And that
includes plant proteins, although they have it in lesser amounts.

   However, there's so much calcium in milk that it more than makes up
for the extra urinary loss.  If you're in a high risk calcium loss
group (like post menopausal women or growing teens or women who've just
finished weaning a child) calcium balance increases when you drink
milk, just as advertised.  If you're an adult in your prime, milk
doesn't make much difference.  You get enough calcium in most any diet
to keep you in good shape.

                                      Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Too much protein linked to osteoperosis and kidney trouble?
Date: 18 Jan 1999 06:12:23 GMT

In <77tt0o$> (Annette C.
Hollmann) writes:

>In article <77tpjo$> "AgentBlue" <>
>>Journals are a double-edged sword, all the sources you have listed (and
>>I don't dispute their reliability) are also sources for studies showing
>>the exact opposite, but if the above studies were true then why do
>>countries (Western of course) who have the highest meat/dairy
>>consumption also have the highest rates of osteoporosis?

   Genetics, mostly.  Northern folks tend to raise more dairy, and
genetically they also have thinner bones, lighter skin, and (one
suspects) funny calcium metabolism (in order to reproduce without
giving the kids rickets, even with a lot less vitamin D in the diet and
from the sun).  If you want to separate out these effects, you need to
look at controls.  Osteoporosis in the African Masai herders, who live
on milk and blood?  Nope.  Gosh, maybe it's not the dairy and protein
after all.  More osteoporosis in Japanese women who drink milk than
those who don't?  Nope.  Less.  Hmmm.  Same result in every homogenous
population study ever done, so far as I can tell.   And there are even
a couple of papers showing that postmenopausal women who are randomized
to drink milk have improved calcium balance, not the reverse.  Can't
get better evidence than a direct study.  (It doesn't seem to affect
younger women either way-- apparently they're not in as bad a shape,

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Too much protein linked to osteoperosis and kidney trouble?
Date: 18 Jan 1999 06:17:10 GMT

In <> (Ken Stuart)

>You should be aware that the studies that correlated calcium loss with
>high protein diets used isolated, fractionated animo acids from milk or

   There have been some dietary studies also.   The big problem with
most of them is that they're short term studies.  Sure your calcium
excretion goes up if you increase your dietary protein.  For a while.
Then you increase your absorption until you're back in balance again.
If you don't run your experiment long enough, you predict very bad
things.  But the body has a bit more wisdom than that.

                                    Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: calcium question
Date: 31 Jan 2000 03:46:58 GMT

In <> (Smo
23915) writes:
>I am taking Calcium Lactate, on the bottle it states:
>Calcium Lactate         740mg
>Calcium (from calcium lactate)          100mg
>does that mean I am only getting 100mg of calcium from this or only 100
>is in the form of lactate?  I'm confused, what is the best form of
>thanks so much

   It means you're getting only 100 mg of calcium, tied up in 740 mg of
the lactate (a spectacularly expensive and wasteful way to get it).

   The best form of calcium doesn't have an easy answer.  Cheapest per
mg absorbed is probably the calcium in milk.  Next would be calcium
carbonate, but this is somewhat dependent on your stomach acid
production (and thus on your age, sometimes), and calcium carbonate
preparations from oyster shell or chalk sometimes contains a fair
amount of polutants like lead if your government doesn't monitor this
carefully in law.  Which is too bad, since there are some calcium
carbonate preparations which are outstanding in palatability, if you
know you have normal stomach acidity, don't mind paying the money, and
trust the company (for example, a Viactive chewable has 500 mg calcium
and tastes more or less like a Walnetto). I have no idea what the lead
content is.

  A pretty good tradeoff between cost, purity, and bioavailability is
calcium citrate.  To get the citrate prep they have to process raw
carbnates in ways that usually remove the lead and a lot of other crap.
And it's absorbed a bit better than carbonate, over all. The cheapest
citrate preparation I know of is the Citrical+D in the large size
marketed by COSTCO.  About 330 mg per tab for a cost around 5 cents.

From: "Steve Harris" <>
Subject: Re: Hard and soft water
Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2001 18:02:59 -0600

"DRCEEPHD" <> wrote in message
> >Subject: Re: Hard and soft water
> >From: Jean P Nance
> >Date: 4/13/01 9:14 AM Central Daylight Time
> >Message-id: <9b71kh$g6e$>
> > I believe that drinking hard water is preferable. The calcium and
> >magnesium in hard water are healthy
> I can't agree with that.  Nutritional calcium is always complexed with a
> protein moiety.

Nonsense. Your gut absorbs Ca2+ ions. It doesn't care where they come from.
Numerous studies have been done on the bioavailabiliy of Ca from a great
many salts, and the short version of the results is: it varies a little
between them, but not much. Calcium complexed with fancy amino acids isn't
absorbed any better than calcium citrate. And it's a lot bulkier and more

> The ionic Ca and Mg in water is toxic to the human and not healthy.

You're out of your mind, bub. Magnesium, like calcium, cannot be absorbed
*unless* it's ionized (disolved). If it doesn't disolve, it goes right
through you. Calcium sulfate is exactly analogous to barium sulfate in this

Wouldn't it be nice if some of the people on the nutritional forum giving
advice about "ionized" stuff had had some basic chemistry 101?

> They are
> more apt to contribute to the diseases of "ossification" than health.


> I drink only distilled water to which I have added 5-10 drops of fresh
> squeezed lemon juice to add flavor and taste.

No doubt. It's pretty silly, though, when you can get the same slight sour
tang from a little magnesium in your springwater. Mg+2 ion tastes a lot like
a little lemon juice. Surprise.

Steve Harris

From: "Steve Harris" <>
Subject: Re: Eggs again
Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2001 15:23:59 -0600

"DRCEEPHD" <> wrote in message
> Since you are unconcerned about "peeing your bones away", checking your
> urine is a simple means to verify this for yourself.  The unabsorbed
> minerals will show up in the feces.  Whatever amount is absorbed will
> show up in the urine.

No. Whatever is absorbed plus or minus what is put into or taken out of your
bones, will show up in your urine.Since you have no way to tell how much is
being absorbed, your urine calcium tell you exactly zip about what's
happening in your bones.

Now there are some lab tests which ARE beginning to do this. For example,
you can do urine levels looking at the amount of the N-telopeptide digestion
fragment of collagen type II, which gives an index of how fast your
osteoclasts are resorbing bone. There are some indices of osteoblast
activity as well (one particular form of acid phosphatase) The gross urine
minerals, however, are not worth much, because they can be exactly the same
whether you're in calcium balance or not (depending on your diet, your
absorption, etc).

> Does you GP check your level of calcium excretion, or do you have a home
> test kit?

I should hope not. If so, quack, quack.

> What about the newer bone density instruments?  Is your GP getting this
> type of data to plot any changes?

Good question. DEXA and other measurements are worth doing, in conjunction
with the chemical tests. Certainly in risk groups, such as women over 40.

> Again, just interested, not preaching.

Try getting interested enough to read some modern papers on osteoporosis and


From: "Steve Harris" <>
Subject: Re: How does calcium work to make you sleepy?
Date: Fri, 21 Jun 2002 12:36:41 -0600
Message-ID: <aevs68$uem$>

"wuzzy" <> wrote in message

> Better Nutrition for Today's Living, August 1990 v52 n8 p16(3)
> Restless nights: end insomnia naturally. (Vitamins and
> Supplements)(includes 'do's and dont's' of sleep) James F. Scheer.
> Some biochemists believe tryptophan is the agent in milk that acts as
> a sedative. However, the late Carlton Fredericks, Ph.D., once told me
> that the amount of tryptophan in milk is not high enough to induce
> sleep.
> "Calcium is the main sleep-inducing ingredient in milk, because it
> soothes neuromuscular irritability, acting as one of nature's
> tranquilizers," he explained.

This is complete nonsense. While it is true that low levels of calcium cause
muscle irritability, it is not true that higher levels "tranquilize"
anything. It's almost impossible to affect your blood levels of calcium much
by taking a couple of pills, but we DO have lots of data from people whose
blood calcium levels go over normal from parathyroid disease or malignancy,
and they are NOT "tranquilized".  They have anxiety, odd personality
changes, and most of all-- anorexia (interesting in light of recent reports
that calcium supplements might help in dieting). However, hypersomnia is not
a feature of hypercalcemia.

> References:
> Hendler, Sheldon Saul, M.D., Ph.D. The Complete Guide to Anti-Aging
> Nutrients. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1985.


A guy repeating some other guy's old wives' tales. And here they are
spreading on this group.

Well, it's crap. Nonsense. There's a lot of reason to believe calcium is NOT
a soporific, and none whatsoever to believe that it is.

You disagree?  Show me your clinical evidence.


From: "Steve Harris" <>
Subject: Re: How long does it take for the effect of calcium supplement to 
Date: Thu, 8 May 2003 12:56:20 -0700
Message-ID: <b9ecp2$b6v$>

"Gym Bob" <> wrote in message
> Well...let me see now...if you have osteoporosis then your blood levels
> of calcium will be really high because your bones are shedding it.

Except that doesn't happen because your parathyroid
regulates blood levels, and all that happens is that your
total urine calcium goes up. And even that doesn't do you
any good, unless you know how much calcium you're absorbing
from your diet. Osteoporosis in progress involves such a
tiny mismatch between Ca absorption and excretion that it
can't even be measured except in very careful metabolic ward
studies, or with isotope techniques. Neither of which are
useful clinically

Which is fine, because there are other better markers of
bone density and rate of bone absorption that are better.


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