I’ve been known to give calcium more attention than most and now I feel vindicated. Serum calcium, of course is not a reflection of your calcium intake, calcium losses nor overall calcium status. In this regard it is totally useless.  But my fixation is about what even slight variations away from healthy levels of this mineral can reveal.

You’ve probably heard me openly scorn the parathyroid glands

“How hard can it be?  These glands have just 1 job: keep the blood calcium in range! Snort!”

And that is exactly why it is so meaningful when this appears to be a ‘big ask’ and the serum calcium slips under 2.2 mmol/L or over 2.45 mmol/L & so potent given the huge chain of physiological reactions that follow from such a small shift – producing profoundly negative effects on vascular dynamics, neurological function etc.

I know.  I’m getting over-excited.  But there were 2 (count them…yes 2!) group mentoring cases this week where the serum calcium was blatantly abnormal and the patients presented with myriad neuromuscular problems e.g. facial twitching, hypertension etc. These are parathyroids, failing at their 1 job, not, it would seem, because of primary parathyroid disease but because of something else…dare I say Magnesium deficiency?! Because don’t forget Mg has an intrinsic role in PTH synthesis, release and receptor sensitivity Shoback et al 2016

Just when I thought my calcium-fix quota was already over-flowing for this week I stumble across this by Yarmohammadi et al published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings this month: 

“Calcium is best known for its role in bone health, but a new study suggests that its role in heart health should not be overlooked. It was found that people with low levels of calcium in their blood may be at greater risk of sudden cardiac arrest, one of the leading cause of death in the United States. Lead investigator Dr. Sumeet S. Chugh, of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles, CA, and colleagues believe that their findings may pave the way for much-needed new diagnostic and treatment strategies for sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).”

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) has no obvious external warning signs – that’s why we need to look more closely at those bloods. This study found that lower serum calcium levels that were still in reference range (< 2.2 mmol/L) were associated with a 2.3 increase in odds of SCA compared with individuals whose serum calcium sat > 2.38 mmol/L…are these values sounding familiar to anybody?

Just had to share.

Oh and if you haven’t heard me talk about the whole calcium story – you know about how modern agriculture stuffed us up in terms of plant based calcium thanks to oxalates and the dairy dilemma and and and…well maybe you should check out the Dynamic Balance, the essential lowdown on your essential minerals 😉