I drink a glass milk and eat a yogurt every day but my Dr. said I’m not getting enough calcium and wants me to take a supplement. How much milk/yogurt do I need? I don’t want to take a supplement. – JW from Indiana
I applaud you for seeking a natural, food based answer to your nutritional needs. I’m guessing at some point in your life someone told you to “drink your milk “Drink your milk, you need calcium!”
Unfortunately, your daily dairy habit may actually be why your body is low on calcium. While dairy products like milk and yogurt are high in calcium they may not be the best choices when it comes to giving your body the calcium it needs.
See when we eat or drink calcium containing foods our kidneys respond to the first amounts of calcium that makes it to our blood stream from whatever it is that we ate or drank. They expect this first wave of calcium to be indicative of the total amount of calcium to come. So it clears room for the total expected amount of calcium by excreting an equal amount of calcium out through our urine.
When we eat plant based foods that are rich in calcium our bodies receive small amounts of calcium over a long period of time. So the calcium your kidneys get rid of is a smaller amount and replaced.
But drinking milk quickly raises our blood calcium levels – dumping all the calcium in at one time – much like eating a piece of candy spikes blood glucose levels in a diabetic. Our kidneys start making room for what they think is going to be large amounts of calcium by passing an equal amount of calcium out through our urine. But because all the calcium from the milk has already hit our blood stream there is no second wave of calcium and our bodies end up deficient.
I would suggest adding 2 or 3 servings of calcium rich fruits and vegetables to your daily diet for next two or three weeks and be sure to follow up with your doctor for another screening.