Calcium on the LCHF Diet: Will it cause a heart attack?

Today on The Ask Prof Noakes we chat about calcium and possible dangers to supplementing with calcium on the LCHF diet. Prof. Tim Noakes gives us advice on whether we should reduce the calcium intake in our diets.

Calcium on the LCHF Diet: Will it cause a heart attack?

On this episode of The Ask Prof Noakes Podcast we chat a little bit about calcium and if there are any dangers to supplementing with calcium on the LCHF diet. Jenny submitted her question and just to give you a bit of background, she is a 63 year old female and she does a bit of cardio exercise four times a week.

She has been following the Banting or LCHF diet for six months. She has not lost a ton of weight but the weight loss has been steady. In total she has lost 2 kilograms.

She said she only needs to lose a total of 6 kilograms. The good news is that she lost centimetres in all the right places which is fantastic.

She says she feels great, she does not miss carbs anymore. She says she needs to cut out dairy though. She has borderline osteoporosis so she does need calcium but she is a bit nervous though to take more than one calcium tablet a day due to fear of build up of that calcium in her blood and her arteries.

She is also finding that she has leg cramps now more than she had before. Can you give her some tips Prof?

Prof Tim Noakes: I am not sure you should cut the dairy because it may be very healthy for treating osteoporosis. I personally think osteoporosis is linked to a high carbohydrate diet. I mean not that I can find a scientific paper but I just think that so many of these diseases are linked, and particularly acidic diets, to osteoporosis and that might be diets that are too low in vegetables.

Cutting dairy on the LCHF diet

I do not think it is the dairy that is the problem so I would encourage you to continue to drink dairy and see how it goes.

With regard to the calcium in your blood and taking calcium in your diet, that has nothing to do with calcium in your arteries. You are quite correct that coronary arteries do accumulate calcium but you cannot control that by reducing the calcium intake in your diet.

You reduce the calcium in your arteries by reducing inflammation and that, in my view, is by making sure you are not eating too much carbohydrate and you are keeping your glucose and insulin under control.

My suggestion is do not cut the dairy. You can take the calcium supplements, I am not convinced that that makes much difference but they will not affect your arteries.

How to protect your arteries on the Banting diet

To protect your arteries, you need to keep your glucose and insulin and your inflammation down.

As far as cramps go, that is quite a common complication or report in people who follow the Banting or LCHF diet and certainly my muscles have become a bit more crampy since I have been on the LCHF diet.

I never used to cramp but it is a very trivial problem. The key is to just do more stretching and particularly if the cramping occurs at night, just spend five minutes stretching before you lie down to go to bed and that should solve the problem.

The other point is, some people suggest you should take more magnesium and sodium and you can certainly try that as well. I certainly take more magnesium because I think it is heart protective. There is some evidence that magnesium has special roles in protecting the heart from damage and there is certainly nothing wrong with taking a bit of magnesium.

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