Calcium out of Control - Dr. Carolyn Dean MD ND

Calcium out of Control

December 1, 2020
Dr. Carolyn Dean

In two 2010 blogs I wrote “Why I Hate Calcium” and “Cancel the Calcium” but in the past 10 years I haven’t paid enough attention to calcium as it’s woven a calcified web over our bodies.

What are the functions of calcium?

That the following functions of calcium are extremely important, cannot be denied. They include:

  • Building strong bones and teeth
  • Clotting blood – as Factor IV
  • Firing nerve signals
  • Contracting muscles
  • Interacting with several hormones: parathyroid hormone, vitamin D and calcitonin.
  • Balancing the heartbeat along with other electrolytes

However, what happens when we have “too much” calcium circulating in our blood?

Numerous Symptoms and Conditions Arise

  • Calcium precipitating in soft tissues
    • Breasts
      • DCIS and misdiagnosis of cancer
    • Coronary arteries
      • Heart attack
    • Pericardial sac
      • To here
    • Carotid arteries
      • Stroke
    • Aorta
      • Aneurysm
    • Renal arteries
      • Kidney failure
    • Bladder
      • Incontinence
    • Scar tissue
      • Pain syndrome
    • Joints and tendons
      • Gout
    • Brain
      • Senility
    • Kidneys
      • Kidney stones
    • Salivary glands
      • Pain syndrome
  • Blood clots
  • Excessive nerve firing
    • Neuropathy
    • Neuritis
  • Muscle spasms
  • Brittle bones
  • Tinnitus
  • Hyperparathyroidism
  • Heart disease
    • Cholesterol plaque
    • High blood pressure
    • Angina
    • Heart attack
  • Magnesium deficiency and 65 conditions related to not having enough magnesium in the body relative to too much calcium. (See The Magnesium Miracle (2017))

I’ve actually left out many conditions caused by calcification because I didn’t want to list every tissue in the body. Yes, calcium can deposit in any tissue in the body and cause varying degrees of impairment.

I decided to write this article because recently I was reminded of the extent of calcification when a friend told me his wife has tailbone pain that is very debilitating. I asked if she’d had a pilonidal cyst. He said she did, but that was years ago. I wondered to him if she had developed calcification in the scar tissue that was causing the pain. I gave him a detailed explained that calcium crystals deposit in areas of inflammation or injury and that saturation with magnesium could help solubilize the excess calcium. He’s a retired engineer and was shocked that he’d never heard of such a possibility that made such sense.

What Causes Calcification

Calcium excess coupled with magnesium deficiency and an excess of vitamin D (due to enhanced calcium absorption) exacerbates the symptoms of calcification. The average diet today has a shocking 10:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium. This ratio is a walking time bomb leading to impaired bone health and heart disease. I say that an ideal dietary and supplement ratio is 1:1.

This perfect storm of calcification arose over centuries. Civilization flourished near oceans where we could have fish to eat and waterways to travel. Ocean water has 3 times the magnesium as calcium, so humans developed vitamin D from the sun to help absorb all the calcium we could for our bones and teeth. It also evolved a system where excess magnesium would be flushed out with the laxative effect. In our present culture with lots of calcium available from dairy, very little magnesium in our diet, and the promotion of vitamin D to help absorb even more calcium, we’ve become overloaded with this mineral that’s hard to expel and ends up depositing in soft tissues.

Allopathic Treatment of Calcification

Investigating calcification involves X-rays, CT scans, blood tests, however, allopathic medicine does not know why calcification occurs and they have no specific or generalized treatment for this condition. For specific locations of calcification, they may recommend surgery, as they do for coronary artery blockage where they do angioplasty and stents. For pain syndromes they may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs. For heart disease they recommend treating all the risk factors to try to prevent worsening of the condition, but such treatments don’t cure the problem and often cause more symptoms. That’s where magnesium comes into the picture.

Saturating with Magnesium

Magnesium is a key cofactor in 1,000 enzyme-driven biochemical reactions and necessary for 80% of known metabolic functions. But rarely mentioned is magnesium’s ability to solubilize calcium and direct it to the bones and teeth. When magnesium is deficient, calcium builds up in soft tissue causing widespread calcification. Just as calcium causes inflammation, magnesium is an anti-inflammatory agent that reverses the inflammation.

Aging Equals Calcification

Here is what I wrote in The Magnesium Miracle (2017):

Aging in industrialized societies is associated with an increasing prevalence of hypertension, heart disease, reduced insulin sensitivity, and adult-onset diabetes. Aging in general also means altered calcium and magnesium ion levels, indistinguishable from those observed in hypertension and diabetes.[1] French magnesium researcher Dr. Pierre Delbet, who practiced in the early 1900s, was convinced that the aging body’s tissues have three times more calcium than magnesium. He knew that calcium precipitates out into tissues that are deficient in magnesium. He observed the toxicity of excess calcium in the testicles, brain, and other tissues and concluded almost a century ago that magnesium deficiency plays a role in senility.

Insulin resistance has a role in exacerbating hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes mellitus. Insulin-resistant states, as well as what is often thought of as “normal” aging, are characterized by the accumulation of calcium and depletion of magnesium in the cells. With this in mind, clinical researchers in this century are finally suggesting that an imbalance of calcium and magnesium ions might be the missing link responsible for the frequent clinical coexistence of hypertension, atherosclerosis, and metabolic disorders in aging.[2]

As is evident from animal experiments and epidemiological studies, magnesium deficiency and calcium excess may increase our susceptibility to cardiovascular disease as well as accelerate aging.[3] In a study of nursing home residents, low magnesium levels were significantly associated with two conditions that plague the elderly, calf cramps and diabetes mellitus.[4] Centenarians (individuals reaching a hundred years of age) have higher total body magnesium and lower calcium levels than most elderly people.[5]

Medical News Today posts a long article called “What to Know About Calcification” giving the medical approach. They conclude that”Some types of calcification can be dangerous, and others may simply be a sign of tissue repair.” And “Some types of calcification are irreversible, but depending on the type, there may be ways to reduce pain and lower the risk of complications.”

I repeat, saturating with magnesium is the treatment for calcification. ReMag, of course is the best choice. In a randomized clinical trial at Purdue University we have proven the size and the stability of the ions of magnesium and their ability to be fully absorbed at the cellular level. The paper is called “Circulating Ionized Magnesium as a Measure of Supplement Bioavailability.”[6]  


 Barbagallo M et al., “Cellular ionic alterations with age: relation to hypertension and diabetes.” J Am Geriatr Soc, vol. 48, no. 9, pp. 1111–1116, 2000.

[2] Barbagallo M, “Diabetes mellitus, hypertension and ageing: the ionic hypothesis of ageing and cardiovascular-metabolic diseases.” Diabetes Metab, vol. 23, no. 4, pp. 281–294, 1997.

[3] Hartwig A, “Role of magnesium in genomic stability.” Mutat Research, vol. 18, no. 475 (1–2), pp. 113–121, 2001.

[4] Worwag M et al., “Prevalence of magnesium and zinc deficiencies in nursing home residents in Germany.” Magnes Res, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 181–189, 1999.

[5] Paolisso G et al., “Mean arterial blood pressure and serum levels of the molar ratio of insulin-like growth factor-1 to its binding protein-3 in centenarians.” J Hypertens, vol. 17, pp. 67–73, 1999.

[6] Zhan, J.; Wallace, T.C. et al. Circulating Ionized Magnesium as a Measure of Supplement Bioavailability: Results from a Pilot Study for Randomized Clinical Trial. Nutrients 202012, 1245.

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