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November, 2012

Calcium in the Body: It's About Much More than Bones

By Brunde Broady and Lyle Wilson

When your patients think of calcium, they think of supplementing the supply of calcium in their food to make sure they have strong and healthy bones. Understandably so.

The airwaves are inundated with the message, along with what prescription medications to take when their efforts fall short. Less appreciated by the public and by many healthcare professionals is the critical role calcium plays at the intracellular level in key cell chemistry and function.


Two related enzymes, Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Ca2+ ATPase (SERCA), and Plasma Membrane Ca2+ATPase (PMCA) play vital roles in the regulation of calcium ion location and concentration in the cell, and each have significant impact on cellular, systemic, and ultimately patient health.

molecular structure - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Though both are critically important to health and vitality, SERCA has a more immediate role for a chiropractic patient presenting with subluxation. When a muscle fiber contracts, a calcium ion is released from the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) to the cytoplasm. SERCA is responsible for returning a calcium ion to the SR so the muscle fiber can relax the contraction and return to the ready position to contract again.

As the supply of this enzyme is used up, the muscle fiber fatigues and then exhausts, unable to recover for another contraction and predominantly resulting in its remaining locked in the contracted state. Practically speaking, Chiropractic deals with the effects of a shortage of SERCA in the clinic on a daily basis. The small stability and control musculature of the spine, specifically the rotatores, intertransversarii, interspinales, and the larger multifidus, are particularly susceptible to exhaustion of SERCA supplies in subluxation conditions.

As with all skeletal musculature, progressive fatigue states in these muscles result in fixation in the contracted state until the supply of the SERCA enzyme is restored. In the acute stage of subluxation, this may work to the benefit of the patient by stabilizing the affected vertebrae to limit further damage to nerve tissues.

However, in the subacute and chronic stages, lingering enzyme insufficiencies coupled with habituated neuromuscular signaling work at cross purposes with the doctor's efforts to resolve the subluxation. Supplementation to address the Ca2+ATPase shortfall allows the soft tissues to respond dynamically and appropriately to Chiropractic care resulting in more effective patient treatments and greater actual and perceived benefit.

The second type of enzyme, PMCA, is in the cell membrane of every cell in the body and regulates calcium ion levels inside the cell. When calcium ions, which carry a positive charge, become too numerous in the cell from intracellular chemical reactions, cell signaling and cell health and reproduction are compromised. Increases in this key enzyme help return calcium to optimal intracellular levels, improve overall cell health and function, and speed recovery of soft tissue injuries.

This is of particular importance to those patients that have sustained a spinal cord injury.

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