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From: Jeff Novick, MS, RD, LD, LN (
Subject:         Re: Calcium?
Date: September 2, 2007 at 1:28 pm PST

In Reply to: Calcium? posted by Steve on September 2, 2007 at 1:33 am:

Hi Steve

You make some interesting points, mostly that following a vegan lifestyle doesn't always equate to a healthy lifestyle. I agree.

So while we are at it, lets not forget compassion for the 'human" animal, and treat them right and take care of them also.

Vegan or not, there are certain components of a healthy lifestyle that we need to follow if we want to be healthy. These include adequate sunshine and adequate exercise.

>>Some vegan nutrition authors have also expressed the belief that vegans need less calcium due to a lower protein intake, differences in food pH, and getting more of other nutrients.

Excess salt intake is also an important contributing factor as is lack of Vit D. Some studies have shown that Vit D is actually more important to this equation than the "extra" calcium. Newer recommendations for Vit D are upwards of 800-1000/day

>>Several vegan nutrition authors have recently come out and told vegans that they should try to get the US RDA, telling them it is likely they do need all of that calcium. They have cited factors like lack of equivalent exercise or sunlight exposure to the populations that thrive on low calcium diets.

The solution would be to first make sure you get enough weight bearing exercise, Vit D preferably from sunshine and avoid excess salt.

Also, osteoporosis is a complex process that involves so much more than just adequate calcium and the few things we mentioned. We cant fix these complex processes by just throwing more calcium on the mix. If lack of calcium is the only problem, than yes, fix that. But for most Americans, vegan included, its much more than just calcium.

>> It seems tough to get in the neighbourhood of a gram of calcium a day or even slightly less even eating vegetables like collard greens, kale, broccoli and other cooked cruciferous greens regularly. The only salad green with significant amount of calcium, that is absorbable that I found is watercress. Yes, I know that some salad greens look impressive as calcium sources when measured by calorie, but those foods are low calorie and high bulk. Not everyone likes eating massive salads at the majority of their meals and those massive salads would need to get more ginormous to keep up with the US RDA.

Maybe not everyone likes being healthy or eating ideally. :)

We all make choices and trade offs. To answer your question, a well planned unprocessed unrefined whole food diet can meet ones calcium needs. Enter the foods in a program like CRON-O-Meter and see.

Dark green leafy veggies like kale, bok choy, collards, mustard greens are excellent sources. Don't discount other green vegetables just cause they may not be as high as these. Broccoli, green cabbage, romaine lettuce etc etc are all good sources to.

Remember, the "extra" increased requirement for calcium may not apply to you as much is you are getting in enough Vit D, enough weight bearing exercise, some resistance exercise, & Vit K, boron, magnesium, etc, etc, and avoiding salt, processed refined foods, and excess protein. And, if and when appropriate, if someone needs to use a supplement, I have no problem with that. I would just like to see them try all the rest first.

In Health

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