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How important is the calcium to phosphorus ratio?

by (3521)
Updated about 9 hours ago
Created August 22, 2011 at 11:38 PM

I just came across Denise Minger's article on tooth problems and she mentions that the calcium to phosphorus ratio should be 2:1 in favor of calcium, but mine is currently at a 3 to one in favor of phosphorus. I just don't see how it could be possible to get the ratio she proclaims. Does this seem very unrealistic to many of you? If not, how would I go about fixing my skewed ratio? I don't want any bone problems in the future.

http://rawfoodsos.com/2010/01/27/dental-drama-tooth-problems-on-the-raw-diet-part-2/#more-69

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8933 · June 05, 2012 at 7:52 AM

*"it produces a toxic effect inspite of the calcium in dairy"* come on man, so all Masai dudes must be dead by now?

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16131 · April 10, 2012 at 12:51 AM

I want to challenge you on your assertion that K2 is to be had in green veggies. Not true. It is K1 in green veeggies. K2 is QUITE different and has a totally different effect in the body - (mk-4) can be had in grassfed liver, animal fat including dairy and (mk-7) is from natto or fermented soybeans. K1 works on clotting factors and can mess with warfarin and such and k2 can HELP overcome those side effects as well as calcify bones and decalcify soft tissue. The best sources of K2 are goose liver, natto, cheeses, egg yolk, and grassfed butter.

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273 · January 18, 2012 at 3:33 PM

I should add that I think kale might be an exception in that I've read its calcium is highly absorbed in comparison to things like spinach.

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273 · January 18, 2012 at 3:28 PM

I'll agree that dark leafy vegetables can have good ratios (even though I eat zero vegetables other than raw carrot these days) but I don't think it's exactly fair to lump dairy in with flesh, grains and nuts. Dairy doesn't the ratio of the greens but is far superior to most other foods. Plus I believe other aspects of milk products such as vitamin D and the decreased digestibility of greens is likely to make a difference in terms of actual absorption in the body. http://www.answers.com/topic/phosphorus-and-calcium

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78422 · December 16, 2011 at 10:05 PM

That's quite a first impression you made there Ron.!As my high school Latin teacher used to say, Ph.D+ piled higher and deeper. Good luck next times. And welcome to Paleo Hacks.

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4620 · December 16, 2011 at 8:00 PM

Korion's right; vegetables are not a source of K2.

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8933 · December 16, 2011 at 7:43 PM

I thought there was no k2 in vegetables?

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3521 · August 23, 2011 at 1:24 AM

Thanks a lot for clarifying Denise, you had me worried there for a second.

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446 · August 23, 2011 at 12:44 AM

This was a line of thought I clung to from my raw vegan days -- I no longer think it's valid. It looks like vitamins A/K2/D play a much bigger role so long as calcium intake is sufficient (which isn't hard, since the requirements are pretty low if your diet isn't full of grains). I actually thought I'd taken that post down!

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4 Answers

E6a1b7377fe63bc64fa8a6a5c6e4464a
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18 · February 13, 2012 at 6:32 PM

True, dairy has a good calcium-phosphorus ratio of about 1.3/1, but the problem with dairy is that cow milk is so high in absolute amounts of phosphorus. When your phosphorus intake gets too high, say over 1000-1200 mg or so, it produces a toxic effect inspite of the calcium in dairy. The DRI for phosphorus for an adult is 700 mg. Three 8-oz. servings of milk is about that amount. Add up all of the rest of the phosphorus from your diet along with dairy, and you can see that dairy can cause a problem. Green vegetables like kale and collards, on the other hand, have a calcium-phosphorus ratio between 2-14/1! Dairy can't come close to that! By the way, human breast milk has over 2/1 ratio. When infants are fed too much cow milk, the high absolute amount of phosphorus causes tetany...muscle cramping. Also, the calcium in greens has twice the bioavailability in humans as the calcium in pasteurized cow milk. Dark leafy greens twice a day (in a green smoothie and a big salad) are essential to build and maintain bones, blood, and overall health.

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8933 · June 05, 2012 at 7:52 AM

*"it produces a toxic effect inspite of the calcium in dairy"* come on man, so all Masai dudes must be dead by now?

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0 · June 05, 2012 at 2:24 PM

K is the symbol for potassium. The symbol for phosphorus is P. They are two different minerals.

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18 · January 18, 2012 at 2:11 PM

Shah78 said, "That's quite a first impression you made there Ron.!As my high school Latin teacher used to say, Ph.D+ piled higher and deeper."

A friend of mine had another way of describing a Ph.D.; as you gain more knowledge within a more narrow field, you soon reach the point of knowing everything about nothing!

The take home message is: eat plenty of dark leafy greens to maintain a proper calcium:phosphorus ratio. And control your flesh, grain, dairy, and nut intake as those foods usually have a very low calcium:phosphorus ratio. Also, the primary source of most vitamins found in animal-based foods is from plants. The animals we rely on for food usually don't eat other animals...they eat plants for their nutrients. So should you.

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273 · January 18, 2012 at 3:33 PM

I should add that I think kale might be an exception in that I've read its calcium is highly absorbed in comparison to things like spinach.

9143379e9450c76e3246db057133833d
273 · January 18, 2012 at 3:28 PM

I'll agree that dark leafy vegetables can have good ratios (even though I eat zero vegetables other than raw carrot these days) but I don't think it's exactly fair to lump dairy in with flesh, grains and nuts. Dairy doesn't the ratio of the greens but is far superior to most other foods. Plus I believe other aspects of milk products such as vitamin D and the decreased digestibility of greens is likely to make a difference in terms of actual absorption in the body. http://www.answers.com/topic/phosphorus-and-calcium

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18 · December 16, 2011 at 7:16 PM

I disagree. Excess phosphorus in a diet with a low calcium-phosphorus ratio (less than 1:1) is associated with hyperphosphatemia, secondary hyperparathyroidism, and bone loss, regardless how much calcium, vitamins D, A, K2, is in the diet. Since the intestines absorb phosphorus more than twice as efficiently as calcium, a higher calcium-phosphorus ratio is desirable in the diet (1.5:1, 1.7:1, and 2:1, which has been found optimal for bone formation in many animal studies). By the way, the best food sources of K2 just happen to be green vegetables with a high calcium-phosphorus ratio!

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4620 · December 16, 2011 at 8:00 PM

Korion's right; vegetables are not a source of K2.

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78422 · December 16, 2011 at 10:05 PM

That's quite a first impression you made there Ron.!As my high school Latin teacher used to say, Ph.D+ piled higher and deeper. Good luck next times. And welcome to Paleo Hacks.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f
8933 · December 16, 2011 at 7:43 PM

I thought there was no k2 in vegetables?

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195
16131 · April 10, 2012 at 12:51 AM

I want to challenge you on your assertion that K2 is to be had in green veggies. Not true. It is K1 in green veeggies. K2 is QUITE different and has a totally different effect in the body - (mk-4) can be had in grassfed liver, animal fat including dairy and (mk-7) is from natto or fermented soybeans. K1 works on clotting factors and can mess with warfarin and such and k2 can HELP overcome those side effects as well as calcify bones and decalcify soft tissue. The best sources of K2 are goose liver, natto, cheeses, egg yolk, and grassfed butter.

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