Do high protein diets leach calcium from the bones?

Acidosis. Acid-base diets. Veg*an pseudo science. All garbage.

Pretty much all the evidence points to increased bone health with high protein diets.

Here’s where this mystery comes from.

First observed in 1920, HC Sherman found that people who eat high-protein diets tend to excrete more calcium in their urine. Since then, over 25 trials have been published showing that increasing dietary protein does increase urinary calcium. 

But, you ask, why do urinary levels of calcium increase on a high protein diet? Doesn’t that mean that the acid-producing diet from all that evil animal protein is leaching calcium from my boes? Shouldn’t I switch to a base-producing diet and ditch all the animal stuff? I’m soooo confusded!

Not so fast, buddy-boo. This doesn’t even begin to explain what’s going on.

So, if high protein diets increase bone loss, howcome all these hunter-gatherer societies with traditional high protein diets actually show no signs of bone loss, and often appear immune to tooth decay, even when they don’t clean their teeth?

Studies looking at the Inuit found nearly complete immunity to tooth decay so long as they were eating their native diet, but also a remarkable degree of muscular and skeletal perfection rarely seen among other peoples.  When they began eating modern refined foods, the Inuit suffered rapid development of tooth decay and general physical degeneration.

Are you even more confused now? Don’t worry, big Dan’s here to make it all nice ‘n’ easy for ya to comprehend!

There are a number of intervention studies that show that high protein diets result in the slowest bone loss and fracture rates over time. Very cool. Now we can start to understand the cause and effect relationships!

Intervention trials such as this one published by a group led by Bess Dawson-Hughes of Tufts University shows that protein intakes far beyond the minimal requirement actually improve bone health. After nine weeks, the group consuming extra protein had lower levels of bone turnover and higher bone mineral density.

This group of studies conducted by Jane Kerstetter’s group at the University of Connecticut showed that an even larger increase in dietary protein increased urinary calcium, but not by leaching it from bone.  Instead, they found that consuming more protein increased calcium absorption from the intestines.

This makes sense now! More calcium is being absorbed into circulation. It’s not coming out of your bones. They are still researching the mechanism that causes this, but the story remains the same. More calcium absorbed = more in circulation = more calcium that may, or may not be used by the body = more calcium in the urine.

But, a caveat to this. You need to also have an adequate intake of vitamins from animal sources to actually utilize that calcium. Enter, vitamin K. It’s the activator vitamin that makes sure calcium gets to your bones, teeth, and other good places. It also makes sure calcium stays out of the bad places, like your arteries.

A lack of vitamin K due to animal deficient diets has been shown to result in poor bone and teeth health, and cardiovascular problems with calcification of the arteries. Yikes.

Where do you get lots of bioavailable vitamin K? Grass fed butter and liver are like the best sources ever. Also cod liver or cod liver oil. The news gets better, wait wait hold on. It’s really getting good now. These foods also have tons of A and D and B and stuff! Woah like crazy man! Liver is a super food!

See, vitamin K is vitally important. Weston Price found that giving people with tooth decay cod liver oil and high vitamin butter oil from grass fed cows, actually reversed their tooth decay! Whaaaaat?!? Yah for realz! Google that shit!

One more thing! Don’t go yet! The increased utilization of calcium with high protein diets is also one more reason you don’t need to drink all that milk. Blech! As long as you get lots of vitamin and protein rich animal foods in ya, and plenty of calcium rich green veggies, you’ll be golden!

Frakking cool dude! Eat more meat. And butter. And yah, tons of it. Your bones, and your muscles, will thank you!

~ Dan