Calcification Part II: Prevention and treatment options
More evidence linking calcification to disease. Breif descriptions of some new and old treatments and preventative measures for addressing soft tissue calcification.
Date: 5/4/2007 2:12:58 PM ( 6 y ) ... viewed 2586 times
Calcification Part II: Prevention and Treatment Options
In my last blog, I talked about Soft Tissue Calcification (STC) and its link to many diseases. Basically, STC is a process in which calcium binds with phosphorus in places of the body other than bone and teeth. The formation of these calcium “crystals” has a substantial impact on the tissues wherein it is formed.
This impact is multifaceted and affects not only the physical characteristics of the tissues, such as hardening and loss of flexibility but it also provides an active substrate to attract calcium binding proteins (>3000 in your body) and activate them. Some calcium binding proteins include those that can cause inflammation and thrombosis…the hallmarks of atherosclerosis and other heart conditions. Other manifestations of STC are easier to see and feel, such as kidney, salivary and gall stones.
As discussed previously, research is accumulating that proves STC is a cause, not a by product ,of pathology. For example, research by Nadra et al. published in 2006 by the American Heart Association showed that basic calcium phosphate crystals (STC) induce inflammation, Dalbeth et al. in 2005 showed inflammation and tissue damage in STC crystal deposition disease, McCarthy et al. in 1998 showed STC crystal induced activation of fibroblasts, and so on.
Considering the link between STC and disease, and considering that more than half of the people in the USA today have some degree of STC, the health savings that we as a country could realize by treating STC early on are in the billions of dollars.
Considering that the medical community is just now becoming aware of the dangers of STC, tools for diagnosing STC are somewhat limited. Existing diagnostic tools include radiological scans such as electron beam computed tomography (EBCT), sonogram, Xray, etc. Promising new technologies are in the works that include novel assays such as ELISA tests.
Treatment of STC has historically followed the rule that if you control the amount of calcium and phosphorus in the body, then you can control the degree of calcium phosphate precipitation in the soft tissues. This protocol may be appropriate for dire situations wherein the patient is in dire need, such as those with end stage renal disease (ESRD). ESRD patients calcify very quickly, partly due to intense dialysis, and are treated with powerful phosphate binders such as selevamer HCL.
Bisphosphonates, osteoporosis drugs, are under investigation as a possible compounds to de-calcify soft tissues when administered correctly, presumably due to their ability to bind to calcium or hydroxyapatite within the bone matrix.
EDTA, ethylene di-amine tetraacetic acid, is also used by some physicians in Chelation Therapy. Chelation therapy has been around for decades and intends to remove calcium crystals from the soft tissues by grabbing calcium from the crystals and carrying it to the excretory system.
Other compounds that appear in the literature as inhibitors of STC include pyrophosphate, magnesium, citrate, glycosaminoglycans, Nephrocalcin, and, more recently, vitamin K2 (menaquinone 7). Also, some suggest that simple antioxidant compounds may help reduce the risk of calcification.
It would seem logical that combination of protocols, available over the counter, may be a good way to get control of STC before it gets out of control. If most people have some degree of STC by the age of 50, then a slow, mindful approach would be warranted…by everyone!
A step wise approach to your health with regards to STC looks like this….1) attempt to clear as many calcium crystals as possible from the soft tissues using established compounds such as EDTA, citrates, vitamin C, NAC, chlorophyll, etc. 2) make sure the proteins that control calcium are healthy and functional, 3) make sure you get enough minerals such as magnesium and potassium, 4) take a reasonable dose of antioxidants.
Since my last blog, I found a number of websites that have information and/or products that claim to address calcification. I have not personally tried all of these products, nor do I recommend any one site or product specifically…however the following links may be helpful in figuring out if this sort of prevention or treatment is right for you.
Wishing you a happy and healthy life!
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