The science of osteoporosis and its resultant fractures has long been plagued by some vexing observations. Why, for example, are osteoporotic fractures relatively rare in Asian countries like Japan, where people live as long or longer than Americans and consume almost no calcium-rich dairy products? Why, in Western countries that consume the most dairy foods, are rates of osteoporotic fractures among the highest in the world? And why has no consistent link been found between the amount of calcium people consume and protection against osteoporosis?
Bones are the storage tank for calcium compounds that regulate the acid-base balance of the blood, which must be maintained within a very narrow range. When the blood becomes even slightly too acid, alkaline calcium compounds — like calcium carbonate, the acid-neutralizer in Tums — are leached from bones to reduce the acidity.