Calcium Hydroxyapatite as a Valuable Bone-Building Nutrient

Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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Calcium Hydroxyapatite as a Valuable Bone-Building Nutrient
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Bone structure is composed of a matrix of collagen that is mineralized with calcium and phosphate to form hydroxyapatite crystalline structures, thereby strengthening the collagen matrix into what we know as bones. Bones are in a dynamic state of turnover, meaning that old bone is taken down and new bone replaces it. Managing bone health is a combination of factors involving having enough raw materials such as calcium, stimulating bone formation with exercise, and ensuring there isn’t too much inflammation of one form or another that breaks bones down too fast. While many different types of calcium can potentially be used by your body to help make new bone hydroxyapatite, one very effective way to do this is to take actual dietary supplements that contain calcium in the form of hydroxyapatite. This could be considered a true bone food.

A number of human studies have demonstrated the calcium hydroxyapatite compared to calcium carbonate is better at building and maintaining bone density. This topic was reviewed a few years back, and calcium hydroxyapatite, also known as MCHC, was the clear winner.

More recently, a test was conducted in women over the age of 65 who had established osteoporosis. One group took calcium hydroxyapatite providing 712 mg of calcium per day. The other group took 1000 mg of calcium from calcium carbonate. Both groups also took vitamin D.

After three years, the better improvement of bone mineral density of the calcium hydroxyapatite compared to the calcium carbonate group was statistically significant. The calcium hydroxyapatite group also had significantly higher levels of osteocalcin, an important protein made by osteoblasts that is needed to attach calcium to form new bone. Over the three year period, those in the calcium hydroxyapatite lost 1.1% from the lumbar spine, while those in the calcium carbonate group lost 2.3%. In the femoral neck of the hip, the calcium hydroxyapatite group gained 2.5% while the calcium carbonate group gained 1.2%. Even in this advanced health condition the calcium hydroxyapatite was able to show excellent results, significantly better than calcium carbonate.

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