Calcium retention, a lesson in economics?

In The Paleo Diet, Cordain advocates a no dairy diet (correct me if I’m wrong here).  Probably the first thing that pops into your mind, and Cordain prepared for this reaction, was “Hey, what about my calcium?!  Won’t my bones disintegrate like Kevin Costner’s fictitious father when he walks into the corn fields in  “Field of Dreams” if I don’t drink my milk?!!”  No need to re-invent the wheel here, I’ll let Cordain rebut this one:

  • “Most of us have gotten the message about consuming calcium.  But the other part of the equation –how much calcium you excrete– is just as important.  It is quite possible for you to be in calcium balance on a low calcium intake if your calcium excretion is also low.  On the other hand, it’s easy for you to fall out of calcium balance –even if you load up on cheese at every meal– if you lose more calcium than you take in.”

Cordain goes on to explain that an out-of-kilter pH balance will send calcium excretion off the charts, and will require you to consume huge amounts of daily calcium to make up for this loss.  The alternative is to keep your pH in balance by consuming large quantities of fruits and vegetables, and luckily enough those same fruits and veggies contain enough calcium to more than adequately exceed your now very low calcium excretion rate.  In a sense, when you are pumping yourself full of milk in order to keep up with your ridiculous calcium excretion rates, you are likely treating the symptoms, and not the actual cause of your real problem.

Picture trying to keep a bucket with a pin-hole leak full by filling it with a dixie cup instead of trying to keep a bucket with the bottom missing full by filling it with a garden hose!  Wouldn’t it make sense to try to plug up the hole, or at least make it as small as possible, instead of running up your water bill using the hose?

So how does economics come into play here?  Well in a sense, we have just talked about the economy of body calcium levels, so now we’re just going to talk about the economy of money.  What if, just like with calcium, there was a way to bring yourself into monetary balance not by making more money, but instead by “excreting” less?  Now this is hardly a new concept.  Take Thoreau in Walden Pond, Jesus sending out the disciples, the Buddha, Ghandi, etc. for examples.  But the reason I bring this up today is because of its possible implication for the US economy!

I don’t really want to go into this in all that much depth, so I’ll just ask a few questions:

What if, instead of trying to get us out of this economic recession by increasing our monetary intake…. [wait for it, waaaait for it]… we tried to get ourselves out of this recession by decreasing our monetary excretion rates?!  Please bring back that mental image of yourself trying to keep that bucket full with a hose, now pretend there are trillions of dollars coming out of that hose instead of water.  Is the only answer to this recession to create new jobs which create new products and services that we didn’t know we needed, and then create demand for these new products and services by telling people that they need them?

For myself, I’m going to experiment in both realms, physiological and economic.  My guess is that just like the calcium, in money not only will I be able to be in balance by lowering my excretion rate, but I’ll be healthier and happier to boot. What about you?

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2 thoughts on “Calcium retention, a lesson in economics?

    • Don, Thanks for the fantastic link. Excellent research on ways to “plug the hole” instead of “opening the throttle on the garden hose.” Isn’t it “funny” how taking in so much calcium can actually do the exact opposite of what you are trying to accomplish? As in prohibiting magnesium uptake thereby decreasing the same bone density the calcium was supposed to be helping…

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