What Is Calcium Phosphate?
As one of the most widely-used supplements, many of the benefits of calcium are well understood. However, what are the full range of health benefits and, more specifically, what is calcium phosphate?
The mineral actually holds a few surprises. The human body requires significantly large amounts of calcium and, despite the majority of it being found in our bones and teeth, it is involved in a wide range of bodily processes.
Of the 1-2 kilograms of calcium found in the average human body, a small proportion of it is used for some other critical health processes: everything from proper heart and nervous system function to hormonal balance, blood clotting, and brain function depends to some extent on the presence of calcium.
These other benefits of calcium are less well understood than the role it plays in bone and teeth strength.
Consequently, some people do not take the issue of calcium deficiency seriously. Unless you are consuming enough dairy food such as milk, yogurt, and cheese, or at least soft-boned fish, seaweed, or blackstrap molasses, you may be deficient in calcium.
This poses some wide-ranging risks to health. And those with lactose intolerance or who follow vegan diets may find it difficult to get enough calcium to maintain optimal health.
Vegan diets may supply enough calcium from greens, legumes, nuts, and seeds. The problem is that the phytic acid and oxalates present in these natural foods hinder calcium absorption. So, in actual fact, vegans may not receive enough calcium.
For these groups, there is little alternative but to use calcium supplements. Calcium phosphate is an effective and relatively high quality form of the supplement.
It is sometimes referred to as hydroxyapatite, and is a partially metabolised form of calcium that has been bound with phosphorus. This process usually occurs naturally in the intestines.
Calcium phosphate is also naturally present in cow’s milk and blood. It’s the main form of calcium in bones and teeth and is regarded as an effective way to boost low calcium levels.
What Is Calcium Phosphate’s Main Benefit?
The main benefit of calcium phosphate lies in its role in healthy bone growth and cell function, as described below.
→ In bones
Bone remodeling’ is the process by which very small amounts of calcium are removed from bones and replaced. This is a continuous process in healthy individuals.
→ In cells
Calcium plays an important role as a ‘master signaler’ in cells. When it enters a cell, it triggers essential processes. As well as helping molecules move in and out of the cell, it transmits electrical impulses and allows the muscles to contract.
In fact, it’s fair to say that your heart keeps beating, your muscles maintain good motion, and the right chemicals are released from the brain – all partly due to the action of calcium in the body.
As well as the above roles, other functions of calcium in the body include the following:
Works in combination with vitamin K to maintain healthy blood clotting
Works to ensure muscles maintain strength and movement
Helps nerves conduct electrical signals
Activates enzymes for digestion
Helps convert cholesterol to sex hormones
Facilitates the absorption of other vitamins (e.g. vitamin B12)
What Is Calcium Phosphate Used For?
The benefits of calcium phosphate clearly extend beyond teeth and bones to a variety of essential bodily processes.
But what, in particular, is calcium phosphate used for in Athletic Greens?
→ For helping to prevent osteoporosis
Bones naturally lose density as we age. This process can often be accelerated by hormonal changes, such as those that occur in postmenopausal women.
Bones become more porous, making them fragile and at greater risk of fracture. Working with other mineral supplements, calcium supplements have been shown in studies to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, and to help treat those suffering from it.
Most notably, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, protein, fluoride, and the vitamins D, A, C, and K can work alongside calcium in your supplement plan to help prevent osteoporosis.
→ Lowering blood pressure
High blood pressure (hypertension) can be a serious problem, especially as we age. An increase in calcium intake has long been associated with reducing blood pressure and has been demonstrated in many studies.
The reason for this is not entirely known, but may stem from calcium's role in the workings of the kidney, the nervous and hormonal systems, as well as in muscle contraction and vascular relaxation.
→ Preventing preeclampsia
High blood pressure during the third trimester of pregnancy can result in a serious condition called preeclampsia. Calcium supplementation has been shown in a recent study to drastically reduce the risk of this developing.
→ Preventing PMS
Headaches, mood changes, bloating, and craving are often associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Increased calcium intake via supplements can ease these symptoms.
→ For regulating body weight
Nobody really knows why, but calcium shows promise in helping to regulate body weight. Those who consume diets high in calcium through dairy intake demonstrate lower body mass indexes.
→ Preventing colorectal cancer
According to some studies, diets higher in dairy products (which are calcium rich) can also help to prevent colorectal cancer. Again, the precise reason is not known, but it may be due to the calcium’s interaction with receptors found in colon cells.
→ For preventing kidney stones
Even though most kidney stones consist of calcium oxalate or calcium phosphate, an increase in calcium through diet or supplements appears to reduce their incidence!
What Is The Ideal Calcium Phosphate Dose?
Recommended doses for calcium phosphate vary largely according to age but also due to pregnancy:
For most people under 50, 1000 mg of calcium citrate daily is recommended.
For women over 50 and men over 70, 1200 mg is recommended.
For pregnant and breastfeeding women, 1300 mg is recommended.
Before increasing your calcium dose, it’s important to note the possible side effects of doing so. The most common of these are digestive issues, including constipation and diarrhea.
There may also be an effect on the heart. Hypercalcemia may result from high levels of calcium in the blood. Excess calcium is deposited into the arteries and tissues, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
If you are at risk of this, lowering the dose of calcium, vitamin D and vitamin K supplements should help reduce the risk.
Calcium may also reduce the effectiveness of some medications. If you are taking digoxin, thiazide or some antivirals, you should take extra care. Always check with a medical professional first.
Why Calcium Phosphate?
Calcium supplements are extremely popular – but not all are created equal.
You have seen the possible side effects of taking high doses of calcium for extended periods of time. Side effects are generally considered less likely if you take high quality calcium supplements rather than cheaper forms like calcium carbonate.
While calcium phosphate is considered an effective, safe way to take calcium, calcium citrate is generally viewed as the best form of calcium supplement in Athletic Greens.
Who Should Be Using Calcium Phosphate?
Calcium as a supplement is heavily marketed by the dairy industry, and many doctors and healthcare professionals recommend it.
Its benefits to health are clear and extensive studies support its role in the prevention and treatment of bone-related disease such as osteoporosis.
But calcium phosphate also has other benefits that should not be overlooked. Most notably, these are connected with decreasing the risk of hypertension, preventing problems with blood pressure during pregnancy, reducing the risk of cancer and even in helping to regulate body weight.
You get more than one form of calcium supplementation in Athletic Greens, and all work well alongside manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium in aiding bone health.
You will also find that spirulina, wheatgrass, barley grass and alfalfa work well alongside calcium phosphate.
Many vegetarians and vegans, who have calcium-deficient diets will benefit from calcium phosphate or calcium citrate. This is because some calcium-containing fruits and vegetables also contain ‘anti-nutrients’ that prevent calcium from being absorbed efficiently.
In fact, calcium aids so many bodily processes that calcium supplements should be of use to most people’s health.