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Food for Your Bones
by Ken Babal C.N. – Healthy Living Article

Bone is not a hard and lifeless substance. It is living tissue that is continuously renewed throughout life, reaching peak mass around age 30. Later in life, bone tissue begins to break down faster than new bone can be formed due to an imbalance in bone remodeling. Remodeling is accomplished by osteoclasts, which absorb aging bone tissue, and osteoblasts, responsible for building new bone. If the process is unbalanced and the bone loss severe, a person will develop osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a common, but not inevitable disease that occurs around age 50, most often in postmenopausal women but also in significant numbers of men. Features of the disease are bone thinning and brittleness, causing fractures, gum and jaw loss, dowager’s humps, back pain and loss of height. It is unfortunate that, for many individuals, the first sign of osteoporosis is a fracture. Each year, nearly 1.5 million Americans over 50 suffer fractures caused by osteoporosis, often leading to complications and death.


Achieving optimal peak bone mass is important for reducing the risk of osteoporosis later in life. Irrespective of age, three critical factors must be addressed to protect skeletal health throughout life. The bone-building trinity consists of:

  • proper diet and supplementation
  • weight-bearing exercise
  • hormone balance

Estrogen replacement therapy has been a conventional treatment for postmenopausal osteoporosis. Since estrogen replacement therapy is known to increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer, heart disease and stroke, many alternative practitioners now recommend bio-identical hormones, including natural progesterone body cream. According to the late John R. Lee, M.D., a pioneer and expert in hormone therapy and co-author of “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause” book; natural progesterone has a positive effect on bone health and is protective against many risk factors associated with estrogen.

Just as a muscle gets bigger and stronger the more you use it, a bone gets stronger and denser when worked. Bone loss caused by inactivity is evident in people who are bedridden as well as in astronauts experiencing zero gravity.

Sodium intake is one of the most often ignored dietary factors related to calcium metabolism and bone health. Most people think of its relationship to high blood pressure. However, there is overwhelming evidence that a dietary excess of sodium from fast foods coupled with a lack of potassium (fruits and vegetables) is possibly the single largest contributor to osteoporosis plus a host of other diseases.


It’s rare to find a whole food that exceeds dairy products in calcium and bone-building trace minerals. But that is what scientists discovered upon analysis of a unique marine alga known as Algas calcareas (AlgaeCal). AlgaeCal is a proprietary multimineral plant source of calcium and magnesium plus 71 trace minerals, including silica and strontium. It is available in a product called Bone Strength Take Care from New Chapter.

AlgaeCal is harvested from the pristine shores of a protected national reserve in South America. Much like the vegetables from an organic garden, the alga is harvested live and then cold-processed to retain its nutritional value. Compared to inorganic calcium carbonate found in common calcium supplements, this plant-based biologic calcium is porous, which dramatically increases its surface area. Stomach acid can then come into greater contact with the calcium, making it easy to dissolve.

Tests show that the calcium in AlgaeCal is highly absorbable and a better source than other foods, including dairy products. In a test simulating the human digestive tract, AlgaeCal demonstrated higher calcium absorption (75 percent) compared to pear (67 percent), yogurt (43 percent), orange (39 percent), cauliflower (34 percent) and spirulina (8 percent).


Recently, AlgaeCal was part of a clinical trial conducted in response to the U.S. Surgeon General’s call to develop bone health programs that incorporate nutrition, physical activity and health literacy. Participants were 216 adults who completed a DEXA scan at outset to assess bone mineral density (BMD). All were provided with a pedometer-based physical activity program, a health literacy notebook, a strontium supplement, and one of two formulas containing AlgaeCal plus vitamins D and K. (During the study, it was decided that some of the participants would be tested with a higher-potency formula that included additional nutrients boron and vitamin C.)

After six months, 176 subjects had completed the trial. Results provided evidence that following the AlgaeCal protocol (either study formula) can facilitate positive increases in BMD. Both groups experienced greater mean increases than expected based on age-adjusted national norms. Moreover, those who were highly compliant with the plan significantly out-performed those who were not.

I have read many case studies and testimonials provided by users of AlgaeCal. One was of a 61- year-old male who lost 8 percent of his bone mass due to cancer. So far, he is on an overall annualized bone growth rate of approximately 8 percent. Most calcium supplements are only able to slow bone loss. Other users report improvements in joint pain, blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, fibromyalgia, menopausal symptoms and insomnia.


Most people know that calcium is important for strong bones. While it is true that calcium is required in larger amounts than other minerals, many nutrients are essential for directing the calcium into bone tissue. What is often overlooked, even by many doctors, is that calcium cannot be utilized properly if the body is lacking key vitamins and minerals. If they are in short supply, healthy bone building will not occur, and calcium may deposit inappropriately in soft tissues such as skin, arteries, muscles and kidneys.

Magnesium is a major mineral involved in more than 300 chemical reactions in the body. Like calcium, most of it is stored in bone. Surveys indicate that many people do not get enough magnesium.
Calcium and magnesium both depend on vitamin D for absorption in the small intestine. New research suggests that our requirement for vitamin D is a lot higher than previously thought. Most vitamins are found in a variety of foods. Not so with D. Initially, we didn’t require food sources because humans developed an ability to produce it in the skin from sunlight. Today, people spend less time outdoors and wear sunblock.

Research on vitamin K is equally exciting. It demonstrates that K is a critical factor for bone and cardiovascular health. Without sufficient vitamin K, calcium regulation is disrupted, causing calcification of arteries and less calcium being deposited in bone.

Silica is a trace mineral that plays an important role in new bone growth. It contributes to a connective tissue lattice that is later filled in with calcium by the osteoblasts. Silica nourishes all connective tissue, including skin, hair, nails and joints.

Strontium is a common element found in bone. Bone growth stimulation with strontium has been found to be much better than calcium supplementation alone. Large clinical trials in France have found that it has an exciting double benefit of inhibiting bone resorption while stimulating bone growth, something that drugs cannot do.

Most remarkable about AlgaeCal is that since it is a whole food source of calcium, it also supplies these and other critical major and trace minerals necessary to proper utilization. The Bone Strength Take Care formula also contains whole food probiotic nutrients for improved assimilation. For example, the formula’s vitamin D3 and vitamin K are cultured in organic media consisting of friendly beneficial bacteria. This fermentation process makes nutrients body-ready for great bone health.


AlgaeCal is a perfect match with New Chapter, an industry pioneer leading the way in whole food nutrients. Plant-sourced, whole food calcium from a pristine source appears to be a breakthrough in bone health. With Bone Strength Take Care, strengthening bones is possible at any stage of life.

For more information on the Bone Strength Take Care, click here.

Also see the articles: “Bone Health – Beyond Calcium” by Dr. Taryn Forrelli, ND and “A Whole-Food Approach to Calcium Supplementation by Dr. Taryn Forrelli, N.D.”


Ken Babal has a nutrition counseling practice in Los Angeles and is author of numerous books including Seafood Sense: The Truth About Seafood Nutrition and Safety.


Note: The content provided in this article is intended for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to take the place of professional medical advice. You are encouraged to consult with your medical health care provider regarding any health concern or health-related condition you may have.

The statements contained in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information contained here is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Suggestions and ideas presented in this article are for information only and should not be interpreted as medical advice, meant for diagnosing illness, or for prescriptive purposes. The information in this document is not to be used to replace the services or instructions of a physician or qualified health care practitioner.

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