Category Archives: Calcium

Milk Allergies: Need More Options?

A friend of mine (thank you Ann!) forwarded me this link, and so I thought I would share it.  The author explains the possible dangers of synthetic vitamins namely Vitamin A and Vitamin D2 found in milk alternatives. Find article here: Coconut and Almond Milk in Cartons Not a Healthy Buy by Sarah in TheHealthyHomeEconomist.  I also like that the author gives three different homemade alternatives to the alternatives: check out how to make your own rice, coconut, and almond milk here.  Remember the things you eat the most of try to make the healthiest: that’s the best start to a healthier diet.

Its best to have your Vitamin A in beta carotene form and your Vitamin D in the D3 form.  This is especially important for pregnant women–check your prenatals.

Can I get Calcium from Veggies or does Oxalic Acid Block it?

You have probably heard that foods containing oxalates (or oxalic acid) will block calcium absorption and that most vegetables have this naturally occurring compound.  Well, you are right on both accounts, BUT there is hope.  A study (1) showed that kale, bok choy, and broccoli have a greater calcium bio-availability (your body’s ability to absorb a nutrient) than the calcium in milk.

What about spinach?  If you boil spinach, it will reduce the soluble oxalate content, the form that is easily absorbed by your body, up to 30% to 80%. Soluble oxalate is the major concern to those with kidney stones as 75% of stones are composed of calcium oxalate. Steaming does not reduce the oxalate as much as boiling.(2)  Other dark green leafy vegetables with a high oxalate content such as Swiss chard can be boiled as well.

Here is a great list of High to Low Oxalate Content of selected foods.

Check out this site for following a low oxalate diet.


1.  Heaney, et al., “Absorbability of Calcium from Brassica Vegetables: Broccoli, Bok Choy, and Kale”, Food Science, vol 58, issue 6, pp 1378-80, 1993.
2.  Chai and Leibman, “Effect of different cooking methods on vegetable oxalate content”, J Agric Food Chem, 2005 Apr 20;53(8):3027-30.

A1 versus A2 Milk

There is a current debate going on about A1 versus A2 milk.  Take a look.

“Epidemiological evidences claim that consumption of beta-casein A1 milk is associated as a risk factor for type-1 diabetes, coronary heart disease, arteriosclerosis, sudden infant death syndrome, autism, schizophrenia etc. A broad range of studies from American and European investigations has shown reduction in autistic and schizophrenic symptoms with decrease in A1 milk intake. Further, animal trials have also supported the linking of type-1 diabetes to milk exposure in general and A1 beta-casein in particular.” (Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Sep-Oct; 16(5): 856.)

How did A1 beta-Casein become widespread in certain countries? At least a couple thousand years ago, natural genetic mutations in European cattle have caused the A1 beta-casein protein.  Originally, all cows produced just the A2 beta-Casein protein.  It is the BCM7 released from digesting A1 beta-Casein that proposed to cause the adverse health effects.

The Countries

A2: goat, sheep, and native cattle of Asia and Africa

A1: Eurpeon countries and US

The Cattle

A2: Guernsey (the highest) and Jersey breed (these breeds only have A2)

A1:  Holstein and Friesian breed (these have equal proportions of A1/A2)

Other helpful links:

The A2 Milk Debate: Searching for the Evidence

EFSA Journal (European Food Safety Authority)

Polymorphism of bovine beta-casein and its potential effect on human health

A2 Milk and ASD

The Devil in Milk (book)

Keith Woodford Interview

Second Thoughts on Buying HOMOGENIZED Milk?

First, let’s start with “What is Homogenization?”  Defined:  A). To reduce to particles and disperse throughout a fluid.  B).To make uniform in consistency, especially to render (milk) uniform in consistency by emulsifying the fat content (  Basically, its makes your milk smooth– otherwise the fat would be dispersed, and you would be pouring out a few clumps.  Sounds good, right?–not so fast……

Research has proposed. When the milk IS homogenized, substances such as hormones from the cow (and any the cow was injected with) are able to survive the digestive tract and be absorbed into your bloodstream. How?  The  small, broken down fat molecules can now “encapsulate” these hormones and any other possibly problematic proteins, so they can safely survive the digestive enzymes.

Another concern is the enzyme XO (xanthine oxidase).  This XO is normally attached to the fat membranes and in a large NON-homogenized state is not easily absorbed into your body.  However, when with homogenization, its can now be passed into the bloodstream.  Possible problem with XO:  hardening of arteries and inflamation.  All contributing to heart disease. (view source)

What are the health benefits of homogenization?  For some people, its makes the milk more digestively tolerable.

Without getting into the raw vs. pasteurized debate, what type of milk can you buy?   The best choice is non-homogenized grass-fed, organic, whole milk.  You choose whether you want it raw or pasteurized.  Please read the post on A1 vs A2 milk.

Calcium Recommendations: A New Perspective

“On the basis of the recent study in the British Medical Journal, as well as the overall totality of evidence, it seems that even for bone health, calcium in moderation is probably best.

(Risk for fracture actually slightly increases with calcium intake greater the the recommended RDA. The RDA for calcium intake is properly set at 1000mg/day for women until age 50 years and 1200mg/day for women 50 years and older.)

We may want to recommend that women try to get as much of their calcium as possible from dietary sources.” Dr. JoAnn Manson, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital. (Calcium Intake: More is not Better, June 17, 2011, Medscape News Today)