Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. Though it seems like everyone is supplementing their diet with some form of calcium, most people are deficient. Your body can’t process calcium if you don’t have enough magnesium and you can’t absorb calcium without ample stores of vitamin D. You need vitamin K to regulate your blood calcium. And if you don’t have enough calcium, you won’t be able to process zinc. If you don’t have enough zinc, you won’t be able to process vitamin A.
Too much calcium can reduce the effectiveness of vitamin A and magnesium, and can cause anxiety (while too little causes depression). Also, people taking too much (and the especially wrong kind) of calcium are calcifying their soft tissue. And if your diet is acidic, your body is going to pull minerals (especially calcium) from wherever it can get it (teeth, bones, organs, etc.) to keep your blood at its proper, slightly alkaline pH (read more about this in Acid vs. Alkalinity).
To make the issue more confusing, most of the calcium supplements on the market are not digestible. Some of them are downright toxic; they can cause kidney stones or a host of other problems. Got milk? Well, throw it out. You and your family don’t need to be drinking that toxic soup of antibiotics, pesticides, and bovine growth hormones. Even if you buy organic milk, it’s a dead pasteurized food. Besides, although milk does contain calcium, even the Harvard School of Public Health questions whether it’s the best source.
That’s just calcium. We could go on and on with every other vitamin, mineral, or other essential nutrient in similar fashion.
Vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and most of our other nutrients are all about balance. Growing strong and healthy bones is not as simple as taking a calcium pill. Let’s take a look at other vitamins and minerals to see what some of their roles are.
Minerals are found in rocks and soil. Plants get their minerals from the soil in which they are grown. If you grow the same vegetable in the ground year after year, the ground becomes deficient in the particular minerals that vegetable needs for development. Consequently the vegetable becomes deficient and so do the creatures that depend on it for nutrition. Through crop rotation, we replenish the soil. This is why crop rotation is so important.
Vitamins and minerals are necessary to sustain life and must be obtained from food because they are either not made in the body at all, or are not made in sufficient quantities.
Even if you only eat organic, remember big business has joined the industry and is now growing organic foods, using mono-cropping methods (without crop rotation). The organic label does not guarantee that produce was grown in nutrient rich soil. GMOs are invading organic fields and contaminating organic seed stores and the FDA has just authorized irradiating lettuce and spinach (regardless of whether or not it is organic).
While it was previously stated that we should consume five to nine servings of raw fruits and vegetables per day, the National Academy of Science now states that we should double that amount due the decreased nutrient content of our food. But compared to 50 years ago, many foods don’t have 50% of their former nutrition; they have 10% or less. In addition, toxins so easily accumulated in our modern society, require us to consume even more nutrients for optimum health. Obviously it can be very difficult to get enough vitamins and minerals from the foods we eat, and though that is exactly how we should get our vitamins, supplementation has become a necessity for optimum health.
That said, don’t ever fool yourself into believing vitamin supplementation is a substitute for a healthy diet. Your body needs a diet filled with the healthiest foods available. Vitamins alone have no energy value. They can’t be assimilated without food. Choose whole food vitamins, not synthetic chemical reproductions (there are very few exceptions to this rule in the world of supplementation), and eat plenty of raw, fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. Other than growing our own organic food, this is the best we can do.