Calcium and vitamin D supplements are not recommended to help prevent hip fractures

A recent meta-analysis  published in JAMA (2) of research on the efficacy of calcium and vitamin D supplements to help prevent hip fractures and other types of bone fractures in Senior Citizens or post-menopausal women found no benefit compared to placebo or no treatment.  The meta-analysis included 33 clinical trials involving 51,145 participants.

The brief overview article does not mention if harm was found but concludes with the simple statement that the findings do not support a routine recommendation or use of calcium and vitamin D supplements in community dwelling older people. Read more: Thumbs Down on Calcium and Vitamin D to Prevent Hip Fracture (1)

Adequate magnesium in a form the body is able to absorb well, which may require a topical form such as soaking with magnesium sulfate salt (Epsom salt) or magnesium chloride products, is required for maintaining bone health. The minerals silicon and boron are also important and the mineral strontium in microgram amounts may help. Vitamin K from leafy green vegetables and green herbs and spices (or in the form of vitamin K2 supplementally may be helpful) is also important for maintaining bone density. (3)

  1. Jack Cush, MD, Thumbs Down on Calcium and Vitamin D to Prevent Hip Fracture, Medpage Today, Jan 13, 2018, (Medpage Today)
  2. Jia-Guo Zhao, MDXian-Tie Zeng, MDJia Wang, MDet al, Association Between Calcium or Vitamin D Supplementation and Fracture Incidence in Community-Dwelling Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis, JAMA. 2017;318(24):2466-2482, (2)

  3. Charles T Price, Joshua R Langford, and Frank A Liporace,

    Essential Nutrients for Bone Health and a Review of their Availability in the Average North American Diet, Open Orthop J. 2012; 6: 143–149. (3)


EMFs and Intracellular Calcium – Magnesium is nature’s calcium channel blocker

Electromagnetic fields, (EMFs) are the non-ionizing radiation that makes WiFi connections work and other devices like televisions and cellphones. The electronic details are beyond my field of experience and they are generally claimed to be harmless however research is being done on the health effects on people and other species. As more and more ‘hotspots’ become active and there is discussion of making entire regions WiFi spots the question of whether the radiation is truly harmless or not is important.

The research that has been performed suggests that the mode of action is on the ion channels in cell membranes called voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs). The EMF radiation seems to activate ion channels and allows the interior of the cell to fill with calcium which then can proceed to activate membrane breakdown and other actions within the cell. Oxidative stress can involve an excess of calcium within the interior of the cell which leads to other free radical chemicals – electrically active chemicals which antioxidant nutrients can help deactivate. See: (1)

Oxidation is a normal part of cell function as it is how glucose sugar energy is freed for use. Too many oxidative free radical chemicals also called, reactive oxygen species (ROS), can overpower the natural antioxidant chemical pathways and lead to increased cell damage and even cell death. (2, 3, 4)

Ion channels refer to chemicals that contain atoms that have a positive or negative charge which can be used to provide energy for chemical reactions. Ions in nature generally are found in pairs with a balance of positive and negative charges so the grouping is fairly stable. Calcium and magnesium both have ionic forms with a chemical charge of +2, which means they are missing two electrons. Sodium and potassium have ionic forms with a chemical charge of +1 – they are missing one electron each.

An ion is an atom or chemical that has more protons than electrons and carries a positive charge or has more electrons than protons and carries a negative charge, while a free radical specifically has at least one unpaired electron in its outer electron shell/valence which makes it very reactive but does not necessarily mean an electron is missing nor suggest a negative charge. Depending on their chemistry they may be able to receive or donate another electron and are very reactive, very active chemically, as the outer shell prefers to be stable chemically. The presence of an unpaired electron makes the free radical chemically encouraging other chemicals to give up or receive the unpaired electron even if the other chemical is more chemically stable. (7) The electrons in an atom are arranged around the inner ball of positively charged protons and neutrally charged neutrons in layers of electrons (valences) which prefer to be in groups of 2, 6 or 8 electrons, so a free radical with an outer layer with one electron might want to donate it while one with an outer shell with seven electrons might want to receive an extra electron.  Element valences are slightly different than what might be expected looking at the Table of Elements – here is a chart of the typical ion or free radical charges: (6)

Oxygen can carry an electrically negative charge of -2, meaning it can accept two additional electrons in its outer valence. (6) And hydrogen can accept or donate an electron, +1 or -1, (6) which chemically can result in our most important molecule for life – water, H2O, formed from two atoms of hydrogen sharing their unpaired outer electron with one atom of oxygen which wants an additional two electrons. The slight preference for different electric charges gives the molecule of water a slight polarity, the oxygen part of the water molecule has a slight negative charge on average while the hydrogen parts of the molecule have slight positive charges. (8) A more thorough description of the chemical structure of the water molecule and its electrical charge distribution with illustrations is available here: (12).

Why is this important? Because our bodies are made up of at least 70% water and electromagnetic radiation does have effects on water (9) so a basic understanding of the chemistry can help understand the more complex issues of why having region wide areas of WiFi might affect health of humans and other animals, plants and possibly even microbial life. There is evidence that microbes can modify nearby DNA via EMFs generated by the microbial DNA when both sets of DNA are in a watery dilution. (10, [1602 from ref 9]) This may increase risk of infection or cross contamination of infectious substances. We don’t know what we don’t know. The research may simply confirm the need to be concerned about Electromagnectic fields on DNA. The negative effect of EMF exposure to DNA and an increase in DNA breakdown/fragmentation was mentioned in the first link. See: (1).

Research that looked for epigenetic effects on DNA that might be associated with leukemia or other cancerous changes found that Extremely Low Frequency-Magnetic Fields which have been labeled potentially carcinogenic as some association with leukemia has been noted, did not consistently lead to epigenetic changes in the study. Changes that did occur were more likely to be found when the genetic material, called chromatin, was in a more open and active form rather than when it was in the condensed, non-replicating form. (13) Pregnancy would be a time when DNA is expected to be more active, and infancy and childhood are also times when growth and replication of cells is expected. Concerns and a review of available research about the risk of EMF radiation for adults and childhood development is discussed in a Special Section of the journal Childhood Development: (14)

Calcium channel blocker medications have been found to help reduce the effects of EMF radiation for individuals who seem to be more sensitive to ill effects from the form of radiation than the average person. See: (1)

Magnesium is nature’s calcium channel blocker so there may be an underlying deficiency of magnesium in the the people who are more sensitive to EMFs. A number of conditions can make the intestines absorb less magnesium and more calcium than average and the kidneys can be better at holding onto calcium and more likely to excrete magnesium than average. The food and water supply is not as rich in magnesium as it was during earlier centuries of human development. Magnesium deficiency as a risk factor in sensitivity to EMFs is discussed in the first link and it introduces a protective factor that can be increased with more variety of vegetables and other phytochemical rich foods in the diet – nuclear factor erythroid-2-related factor 2 (Nrf2). See: (1)

Specific foods or phytochemicals mentioned to help increase Nrf2 include:

  • sulforaphane from cruciferous vegetables, (such as broccoli and cauliflower);
  • foods high in phenolic antioxidants, (This is a large group including bright yellow and red fruits and vegetables, and deep purple produce. The group includes the subgroup flavonoids which include anthocyanins, flavonols, and it also includes the less familiar subgroup chalcones which are found in the commonly used fruits apples, pears and strawberries. The group also includes aldehydes which are found in vanilla and cinnamon, phenolic acids which include salicyclic acid, and tannins which are found in tea, coffee and wine. Baking cocoa and cherries, beans and whole grains are also mentioned, the summary point would be eat more fruits and vegetables; see: (11))
  • the long-chained omega-3 fats DHA and EPA, (salmon, tuna, sardines, krill oil, ground flax meal, walnuts, hemp seed kernels);
  • carotenoids (especially lycopene), (such as carrots, winter squash, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, apricots, and lycopene is in tomato, watermelon, pink grapefruit, guava); 
  • sulfur compounds from allum vegetables, (such as onions, garlic, shallots, green onions); 
  • isothiocyanates from the cabbage group and
  • terpenoid-rich foods. (Terpenes are found in real lemon and lime oil, rosemary, oregano, basil and other aromatic green herbs).
  • The Mediterranean and the traditional Okinawan Diets are also mentioned as being Nrf2 promoting diets. See: (1)

A 2012 article that discusses the science known at the time and reviews cellphone cases designed to redirect EMF radiation away from the user available at the times suggests some health evidence exists but that the information is not conclusive yet but that no study has been longer than ten years. Children have less dense bone structure and may be accumulating more life time exposure so limiting use of cellphones around children or their use by children may be playing it safer until more research is available. (5) Turning off cellphones when not needed can save battery time and would be turning off the WiFi when it is not needed. You can always check for messages when you turn it back on again. Using a hard wired computer at home or at least turning off the laptop at night is recommended along with other tips in the first link. See: (1)


Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has a service for locating a nutrition counselor near you at the website (

  1. Joseph Mercola, The Harmful Effects of Electromagnetic Fields Explained,, Dec. 22, 2017, (1)
  2. Chapter 1: Cell Injury, Cell Death,
    and Adaptations, sample, not final copy, Elsevier, pdf (2)
  3. Khalid Rahman, Studies on free radicals, antixidants, and co-factors., Clin Interv Aging. 2007 Jun; 2(2): 219–236., (3)
  4. V. Lobo, A. Patil, A. Phatak, and N. Chandra, Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health, Pharmacogn Rev. 2010 Jul-Dec; 4(8): 118–126., (4)

  5. Joseph Hanlon, Radiation-reducing phone cases: saviours or snake oil?, Aug. 13, 2012, (5)

  6. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. “Valences of the Elements – Chemistry Table.” ThoughtCo, Mar. 7, 2017, (6)
  7. UCSB Science Line, What is the difference between ion and radical?, 04/01/2015, (7)
  8. Biochemistry, Chemistry Tutorial, The Chemistry of Water,, (8)
  9. Martin Chaplin, Water Structure and Science: Magnetic and electric effects on water, 2001, last update by Martin Chaplin on Nov. 3, 2017, (9)
  10. [1602 from the above reference] L. Montagnier, J. Aïssa, S. Ferris, J.-L. Montagnier, C. Lavallée, Electromagnetic signals are produced by aqueous nanostructures derived from bacterial DNA sequences, Interdisciplinary Sciences: Computational Life Sciences, 1(2009) 81-90. L. Montagnier, J. Aissa, E. Del Giudice, C. Lavallee, A. Tedeschi and G. Vitiello, DNA waves and water, Journal of Physics.: Conference Series, 306 (2011) 012007, arXiv:1012.5166v1 (10)
  11. Maria de Lourdes Reis Giada, Chapter 4: Food Phenolic Compounds: Main Classes, Sources and Their Antioxidant Power, Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology » “Oxidative Stress and Chronic Degenerative Diseases – A Role for Antioxidants”, book edited by José A. Morales-González, ISBN 978-953-51-1123-8, Published: May 22, 2013 (11)
  12. Martin Chaplin, Water Structure and Science: Water Molecule Structure,  2000, last updated by Martin Chaplin Oct. 15, 2017,, (12)
  13. Melissa Manser, Mohamad R. Abdul Sater, Christoph D. Schmid, Faiza Noreen, Manuel Murbach, Niels Kuster, David Schuermann, and Primo Schär,

    ELF-MF exposure affects the robustness of epigenetic programming during granulopoiesis, Sci Rep. 2017; 7: 43345. (13)

  14. Cindy Sage, Ernesto Burgio, Electromagnetic Fields, Pulsed Radiofrequency Radiation, and
    Epigenetics: How Wireless Technologies May Affect Childhood DevelopmentContemporary Mobile Technology and Child
    and Adolescent Development, edited by Zheng Yan and Lennart Hardell, A Special Section of Child Development, 2017, Pages 1–8, (14)

Magnesium deficiency and cancer – and magnesium sulfate salt

Magnesium Deficiency and Cancer, Sara Castiglioni, Jeanette AM Maier (2011):

In addition, magnesium concentration in drinking water is inversely correlated with death from breast, prostate, and ovarian cancers, whereas no correlation existed for other tumors [36, 38, 39].”

Looking at the bigger picture can lead to a better understanding of the real underlying issues and we are overlooking or being deceived about the underlying causes of cancer:

Experimental evidence therefore leads to the conclusion that in rodents, magnesium deficiency participates both in early (initiation) and late (progression) phases of tumorigenesis (figure 2).”

Full text:

*this article also mentions that low magnesium levels slow down growth of the main cancer tumor but that it is associated with increased spread of the cancer to other areas of the body. There is some speculation that low magnesium could be used to slow growth of cancer tumors but I would point out that the simple answer is math – cancer is very rapidly growing and any rate limiting factor such as reduced levels of essential nutrients such as magnesium or folate would reduce growth of rapidly growing cell groups but also would affect the health of the immune system and rest of the body. Cancer cells are ravenous, they have no off switch and it is the magnesium which provides the body’s ability to kill by apoptosis cells that are defective or too old. The article goes into more detail about oxidative stress, inflammation and mentions factors involved with apoptosis that are dependent on adequate magnesium. Some types of cancer treatments increase the risk of low magnesium and treating with extra magnesium sources has been studied elsewhere. Problems with fingertips occurs in a variety of health situations that involve starvation of some important nutrient including Raynaud’s disease – mentioned here, in an article about the cancer treatment associated with low magnesium:;2-2/full

The most well known example of fingertip problems due to lack of essential nutrients is frostbite – warmth is the missing nutrient – is that a nutrient? not really but without warmth nothing else works. I’ve written about a few other type of vasculitis problems that begin with finger symptoms. I’ve included some of that post at the end of this, to be organized later on the site.

In the case of cold water drowning the body has self preservation techniques that may sacrifice the fingers and toes while saving circulation throughout the heart, brain and lungs – the three most important organs for survival. Drowning victims in very cold water sometimes survive much longer exposure than would be possible in warm water because of this survival tactic that may be based somewhere in our evolutionary past. Life guards are trained on the importance of not giving up on the search for cold water victims. (cold water survival) My first job was as life guard, water safety instructor and camp counselor.

The cancer treatment with magnesium may need a source that can be absorbed through the skin. Many factors can reduce the body’s ability to absorb magnesium as well through the intestines.

Humans intestinal and renal systems are designed with an expectation that we will have lots of magnesium available and not much calcium so magnesium tends to be wasted easily and absorbed poorly. Current water supplies tend to be lower in magnesium content than natural river water might be. An Epsom magnesium sulfate salt bath or foot soak can be a better absorbed source as skin readily absorbs it. 20 minutes with about a cup of the magnesium sulfate salt is a medicinal dose, Staying in longer than 40 minutes might be dangerous due to slowing of the heart, and can cause watery bowel movements for up to a day or two if oversoaking as the magnesium causes relaxation of smooth muscle fibers which are what control the heart rate and the intestinal system. there are early symptoms of a fluttery weaker heart rate that is a signal to rinse off, you spent too long soaking.

Originally posted Feb. 20, 2011 – Regarding Vasculitis:

The first picture that I saw of someone diagnosed with vasculitis reminded me of hypothermia. The person’s fingertips were red and swollen but also shriveling at the tips. I learned about the body’s amazing ability to divert nutrients to the brain and heart during my training as a Water Safety Instructor. People survive drowning in extreme cold sometimes because the body stops circulating blood through the arms and legs. The person might lose fingertips and toes due to frost bite but if they survived an hour under water without brain damage, then it seems like a small price to pay.In the case of vasculitis, however, white blood cells are breaking down blood vessel tissue and destroying function of the area. It has been a mystery – why would the body attack itself and take apart structures?

I suggest that it is occurring for the same reason that anorexics die of heart attacks. In cases of malnutrition the body will catabolize – break down – body parts that are not essential in order to keep the brain alive. In the drowning victim, the brain, lungs and heart continue circulating blood while the extremities are left to freeze. The anorexic’s body needs calories to feed the brain and fat stores won’t work. Muscle tissue can be converted into energy that the brain can use. Over time, the heart and the rest of the muscles are eaten from within to feed the starving brain, leaving the weakened heart muscle at risk from any overwork.

Buerger’s Disease

The type of vasculitis most associated with fingertip loss is also most associated with smoking. And  the most effective treatment is to stop smoking. The vascular tissue would be oxygen starved in a chronic smoker as well as magnesium deficient.

Buerger’s Disease,
photo from: []  John Hopkins Vasculitis Center
Central Nervous System Vasculitis

**This is a rare form of brain vasculitis but the description of symptoms and population at risk reminded me of my migraine days of maximal blood brain permeability and sensitivity to many foods and chemicals.

“Treatment and Course of CNS Vasculitis” 
PACNS: Until recently, CNS vasculitis was a fatal condition in a high percentage of cases, with death following diagnosis in a mean of 45 days after diagnosis. The availability of powerful immunosuppressive therapy, however, has significantly improved the prognosis for people with this condition. Some patients with PACNS respond well to treatment with high doses of steroids alone. Others require the addition of cyclophosphamide to the steroid regimen. In many cases, a reasonable approach is to attempt to control the disease with high doses of steroids first (e.g., for one month), adding cyclophosphamide only if steroids fail or if patients begin to develop unacceptable side–effects of steroid treatment.
Balancing control of the disease with the possibility of serious side–effects of treatment is often challenging. For PACNS, treatment must often be continued for a year or more.
BACNS: Patients who fit the typical patient profile of BACNS and who have clinical presentations compatible with that diagnosis may be candidates for less intensive treatment regimens than those used in clear–cut cases of PACNS. Patients believed to have BACNS may be treated with calcium–channel blockers (a class of drug used to treat high blood pressure and spasm of blood vessels that occurs in a variety of conditions) for a few weeks, along with a comparatively short course of steroids (prednisone). No firm guidelines exist regarding the length of therapy, however, and decisions about the length of treatment must be made on a case–by–case basis.
Cocaine use, malignant hypertension, preeclampsia, and intravascular lymphoma can mimic this disease. The best therapy has not been established: many patients are treated with prednisone and cyclophosphamide.”

[] – John Hopkins Vasculitis Center

** Calcium channel blockers are a pharmaceutical stand-in for magnesium. Deficiency of the building blocks and energy sources that the body needs for regeneration prevents the body from growing new tissue. When functioning correctly, new skin cells are grown every day. Hypertension and preeclampsia are conditions resulting from magnesium deficiency. Cocaine use is associated with minimal eating and weight loss (appetite for more cocaine instead of food). Cancer is also associated with malfunctioning white blood cell function – apoptosis is required to prune decaying cells before they mutate. Magnesium is essential to grow the white blood cells and to arm them with the enzyme and adhesion powers necessary for apoptosis.

When nutrients are missing the body will recycle nutrients from less important body parts. White blood cells, our work force, will break down and not repair tissues that aren’t supporting the brain, lungs and heart circulation. Tissue with rapid cell turn over will show the lack of repair earliest. The skin and blood vessels in areas of the body that are less physiologically important will show break down and inflammation earliest in the progression of disease. Leaky Gut Syndrome is a similar problem happening with disrepair of the intestinal lining. It leads to worsening malabsorption problems and further malnutrition.

Bypassing the poor intestinal absorption with delivery of nutrients by skin is a low budget, low risk solution worth trying. A magnesium containing skin cream may provide some of the nourishment that the skin cells need for repair. Excess active hormone D also causes increased intestinal calcium absorption and worse magnesium absorption. Some types of infection can cause an increase in active hormone D and cause an imbalance in calcium and magnesium. Consuming extra vitamin D will add to the imbalance in vitamin D vs hormone D levels that the chronic infection is triggering. the increased levels of hormone D cause movement of calcium and magnesium out of the bone tissue and lead to increased urinary magnesium losses. Magnesium deficiency prevents growth and repair of our skin and everything else.

Use of a magnesium containing skin cream may bypass the poor intestinal absorption and bring symptom relief sooner than just taking a supplement of magnesium.

Eating supplements or diets rich in lecithin from egg yolk and omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil, or flax or hemp oils rich in essential fats can help nourish the skin and promote healthy membranes in the brain and throughout the body. Self care and nourishment helps speed healing.  Calcium channel blockers and corticosteroids will not provide any building blocks for growth in the long run.

*I must not have been aware of Epsom salt baths at this stage of my learning more for better self-care – migraine headaches may have to do with vasculitis.

  • Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.