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Where do dairy animals get their calcium from?

Since childhood we all have been taught in school that drinking milk is essential for our bones. If we want to keep ourselves healthy we should consume milk regularly. Milk keeps our bones healthy as they form the major source of calcium. Yes, calcium is extremely necessary for our bones as 99% of the calcium is found in our bones but there is no such disease called calcium dietary deficiency, not even a single case has been reported till now. Then why consumption of dairy products has been hyped by dairy industry to get our calcium requirements? Dairy industry has just been exploiting the fear which they themselves have sown in the minds of the people that if they don’t drink milk their bones will become weak and would become susceptible to fractures. They knew milk has calcium and calcium is the requirement of our bones. Bingo..! They have used this strategy to market their dairy products while they never talked about the ill effects it has been causing to the people. From where does dairy animals get their calcium? Is there any metabolic process or a reservoir inside dairy animals which helps them in building calcium? There is no such thing, dairy animal’s feeds on grasses and plants. Plants are grown on the soils. So, the real source of calcium is the soils and not the dairy animals. Plants absorbs calcium via roots and transports it to other parts and when dairy animals are given these plants & grasses to eat, they obtain calcium from it. So why do we human beings need milk for calcium? Why can’t we just eat plants, fruits and green leafy vegetables which are excellent source of calcium? And by the way it is calcium and not “cow-cium”. Why calcium is important? It is one of the most abundant mineral found in the human body. Around 99% of the calcium is found in the bones. It is required for bone formation, regulation of nervous tissue and blood vessel functioning. It prevents osteoporosis and bone fractures. It also helps in cholesterol functioning and keeps the heart beat normal. How is calcium regulated in our body? Bone, kidneys and gastrointestinal tracts helps in the regulation of calcium levels in our body. When the calcium level is low, our gastrointestinal tract tries to absorb higher amounts of calcium from our diet and even our kidneys try to conserve calcium. When calcium levels are high, that is because of consumption of milk unnecessarily, our gastrointestinal tract blocks the absorption of calcium and kidneys try to eliminate the excess calcium which our body received from consumption of milk. If incase, there is too much of calcium, the excess calcium is stored as kidney stones. If not milk, then how we get our calcium? Plant based nutrition dense diet consisting of broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, kale, spinach, sweet potatoes, chick peas, kidney beans, lentils, soy beans, white beans, almonds and all leafy green vegetables are all rich in calcium and thus provides adequate amount of calcium which is required by our body.

Take home message

  • Drinking milk does not makes our bones strong & healthy. Dairy animals gets their calcium from the plants they eat. Calcium is essential for our body, but too much of calcium is associated with kidney stones and heart disease.

  • Plant based nutrition dense diet is rich in calcium, therefore we do not need to drink a glass of milk or we can say a glass full of diseases to meet our calcium requirements.