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Dr. Robert Heaney Crushes Calcium Myth

This week I wanted to introduce you to Dr. Robert Heaney, M.D., who is an internationally recognized expert in the field of bone biology and calcium nutrition.

He has published over 375 original papers and is a frequent editorial writer for major medical journals including JAMA, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Annals of Internal Medicine and Clinical Chemistry to name a few.

Dr. Heaney has provided nearly 50 years of advancements in our understanding of osteoporosis, vitamin D and many other topics.

Recently, I came across a blog post of his called, “Calcium: The Real Story” and had to share it with you.

In this post Heaney crushes an age old calcium myth. The myth is that building bone is a long, gruelling process that could take not only months, but years when in fact research shows bone remodelling happens much quicker than that.

Heaney wrote…

Dr. Robert Heaney and calcium“Calcium affects the rate of bone remodelling directly and immediately.

If my intake of calcium is low today, the body doesn’t wait until tomorrow or next week to do something about it. It increases bone remodelling today, so as to access the calcium it needs today.

And similarly, if I have been remodelling a lot of bone every day because my calcium intake is low, then today, when I get calcium intake back up to where it ought to be, remodelling immediately slows down. That’s the reason why, in so many of the studies showing an anti-fracture benefit of calcium, the effect begins immediately. One doesn’t have to wait to build up the skeletal mass (which changes at a rate of only a few percent per year).”

Full Blog Post Here.

This goes to show that despite a commonly held belief that it takes 2 years to see results…you can actually build bone in a much faster time than we ever suspected.

Ultimately, every day you can build bone. And every day you can lose it too.

Your bones are in a constant remodelling process during your lifetime and it’s important to maintain proper DAILY calcium intake to ensure this process stays in balance.

As Dr. Heaney said, if you’re calcium intake is low today, your body doesn’t wait until next week to do something about it. It acts immediately to increase bone remodelling and dips into the calcium reservoir (your bones) to make up for the shortfall, so the take home lesson is to be consistent in your calcium consumption.



Author: Monica Straith, BS

Monica is the PR and Outreach Manager and Fitness Lead at AlgaeCal. She’s an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Specialist, and has a B.S. and B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she played varsity soccer for four years. Monica pulls from her experience in athletics and health to contribute to AlgaeCal and has also been featured on myfitnesspal blog, Prevention, and Huffington Post.