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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Richard W. Hubbard, BA, MS, PhD (Loma Linda University)
Description: Behavior to serve calcium physiology is the author's theme and he struggles with innate and/or learned reasoning and a great deal of historical perspective. The added physiology of gestation is played on in an evolutionary theme to amplify behavioral response to calcium need. The inclusion of neural steroid and peptide hormone influences on calcium metabolism and clinical evaluations are amplified to envelop whole body calcium regulation.
Purpose: This book seeks to provide a context that satisfies behavioral, hormonal, and physiological mechanisms for regulation of adequacy of calcium stores. However, the author says he does this to provide for the calcium hunger concept to be somewhat understood.
Audience: This book would be of particular interest to nutritionists, dietitians, physiologists, biochemists, psychologists, psychiatrists, general physicians, and those seeking relationships between our calcium needs and animal and human instincts to recognize and to seek out how to meet this need.
Features: Calcium ingestion is regulated by behavior and physiology. The overlying theme is that increased calcium ingestion is in the context of increased need for calcium. The example of the human patient on dialysis who is pushed into hypocalcemia and has an increased preference for salty foods. The gustatory system is stated to be responsive to changes in calcium balance. Calcium is noted to be required for a large variety of physiological functions as well as it being the main mineral of bone.
Assessment: The author makes a strong case for animal and human response to calcium deficiency. However, there are several missing factors that weaken his effort. One of the most important of these is to assess actual calcium retention. The high calcium intake of meat eaters is heavily influenced by the high sulfur content of animal protein which produces a high sulfate load which reacts with calcium and the calcium, as calcium sulfate, is rapidly excreted in the urine. So meat eaters need a significantly higher calcium intake than plant eaters. This is not appreciated by the author. The second significant weakness is the failure to recognize the importance of magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is mentioned once or twice, but never presented for its dynamic importance in bone and body chemistry. This is a significant oversight.