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4 Reasons Bulletproof (and Paleo) People Should Take Calcium-D-Glucarate

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Calcium D Glucarate can bind and eliminate excess estrogen.

When it comes to supplements, you might consider a few goals:

  • Counteract toxins that we create in our bodies or absorb from living
  • Increase metabolic efficiency to help your body work better
  • Optimize baseline levels of basic vitamins and minerals in case they’re not in food
  • Account for specific deficiencies or improve specific targets (cognitive, immune, etc.)

When I travel, I can take about forty pills a day including extra ones that counteract the added stress and toxins that air travel can bring.  There was a time when I could peak at 187 capsules of various supplements a day during times when I was all-out Bulletproofing myself. When I’m at home, I take about 20 capsules a day, depending on what I eat and what I’m doing. This isn’t necessary for people who want to be average, but if you want an unfair advantage in life, supplements can help.

Just doing the Bulletproof Diet by itself will get you 80% of the way there, and it will get you further than a plain Paleo diet too.

When selecting supplements, I look for the most effective, pure, and targeted ones I can find. One of my top supplements is calcium-d-glucarate.

I first started taking calcium-d-glucarate (CDG from here on) as a way to ensure my high protein diet didn’t produce excess ammonia.  As a former 300 pounder who was pre-diabetic, and born with only 1 kidney, I kind of like the one I have. But it has other health benefits.  It can fight cancer, decrease LDL cholesterol, assist in protein digestion, and remove toxins and excess estrogen. Excess estrogen is a problem for everyone, but an even bigger problem for obese (or formerly obese) people.

To understand why CDG works, you have to understand a little biochemistry.

How The Body Gets Rid Of Toxins

One of the ways the body gets rid of toxins is through a process called conjugation.  During conjugation, toxins are packaged into water soluble compounds called glucuronides.  Glucuronides are meant to pass from the liver, to the bile, then to the gut where they are excreted.  However, high levels of an enzyme called beta-glucuronide can inhibit this process.  This enzyme separates toxins from their conjugate bond and allows them to be reabsorbed.  This allows toxins to keep circulating in the body where they make you fat, tired, and weak.

Calcium-d-glucarate prevents beta-glucuronide from disturbing this process.  It keeps the toxins bound inside a glucuronide which is then removed from the body.  Toxins are most damaging in their free form, which is why you want them to be bound (conjugated) and released from the body.  Calcium-d-glucarate inhibits beta-glucuronidase which allows toxins to be removed.

Hello Calcium-D-Glucarate

Calcium-d-Glucarate (CDG) is a natural substance produced by all mammals, including humans.  Small amounts are also found in fruits and vegetables.  Early humans were able to get enough calcium-d-glucarate from their own production since they ate relatively low amounts of toxins and lived in a clean environment.  As toxin exposure has increased, humans need more calcium-d-glucarate to excrete the extra toxins.

There is no *technical* deficiency of calcium-d-glucarate because it is not essential.  However, humans produce small amounts, so it’s easy to develop low levels.  Low levels of CDG are correlated with higher levels of beta-glucuronidase.  Elevated beta-glucuronidase is a risk factor for cancer, especially hormone related cancers like breast, prostate, and colon cancer.

Here are four reasons calcium-d-glucarate is a seriously useful supplement.

1. Cancer Prevention

Toxins cause mutations in DNA which leads to cancer.  Along with retinoids, CDG reduces breast cancer in rats by 70 percent.

Calcium-d-glucarate removes carcinogens and other tumor promoting agents.  In vivo, CDG,

“…increases detoxification of carcinogens and tumor promoters/progressors by inhibiting beta-glucuronidase and preventing hydrolysis of their glucuronides”

Calcium-d-glucarate increased toxin release and flushed out compounds that promote cancer.  In rats with colon cancer, calcium-d-glucarate caused a sixty percent drop in tumor incidence.  CDG also reduced the number of times cancer cells multiplied.

One of the reasons smokers develop lung cancer is believed to be low levels of D-glucaric acid.  Smokers have 29 percent less d-glucaric acid than healthy people.  Another study in rats showed that calcium-d-glucarate decreased skin cancer formation by 30 percent.

Calcium-d-glucarate is not guaranteed to prevent cancer, but everything helps.

2. Liver Detox

When calcium-d-glucarate is taken orally, it’s metabolized into glucaric acid.  This is the active form of calcium-d-glucarate and the one produced naturally by the body.  Glucaric acid is not available as a supplement by itself which is why you have to buy calcium-d-glucarate.  Another benefit of CDG over glucaric acid is a longer detox period.  CDG detoxes the liver for five hours instead of one.

Glucaric acid binds to toxins in the stomach which are then removed in the urine.  Glucaric acid is also circulated around the body where it performs the same function – scavenging and releasing toxins.  Removing toxins from the liver will increase liver function and promote a healthy metabolism.  It will also allow your liver to flush out other toxins that would otherwise cause problems.

 

Bonus Feature: Dealing With High Protein Problems

Humans are meant to eat large amounts of protein and fat.  Our livers and kidney efficiently process proteins and are able to remove harmful byproducts like ammonia.  However, humans can only handle so many toxins.  The human body is involved fending off xenoestrogens, air pollutants, chronic infections, and mycotoxins.  This leaves very little room for dealing with the metabolites of protein.  Our modern world is so polluted, that humans don’t always have the necessary means to fend off natural byproducts of a healthy metabolism.  If you’re consuming a high protein diet (25-35 percent), you should consider supplementing with calcium-d-glucarate.

3. Removing Excess Estrogen

High levels of beta-glucuronide increase the number of estrogen receptors.  This means estrogen that would have been excreted is now able to bind to more receptors.  This can cause increased tissue growth, cancer, and even man boobs.

Estrogen dominance is one of the leading causes of infertility, cancer, and other health problems in women.  One of the most common treatments for high estrogen levels in a drug called tamoxifen.  Tamoxifen has numerous side effects including stroke, blood clots, uterine cancer, and cataracts.

New research is showing that CDG could be just as effective as Tamoxifen in treating estrogen dominance.  CDG allows excess estrogen to be passed out of the body.  A review in 2003 said calcium-d-glucarate could be as effective in preventing cancer as Tamoxifen.

In one study, calcium-d-glucarate was able to reduce the number of estrogen receptors by 48 percent.  It’s also been shown to lower serum estrogen levels by 23 percent.

High estrogen is also a problem for men.  Whether your a man or woman, calcium-d-glucarate will help maintain proper hormone balance.

4. Decrease LDL Cholesterol

Despite the numerous health effects of a paleo diet, one of the mysterious negative effects seems to be elevated LDL cholesterol.  Paul Jaminet wrote an excellent post on this topic where numerous people said they experienced high LDL levels.

Not only is total cholesterol increased, but it’s LDL cholesterol.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as long as it’s type-A LDL (large, puffy, non-atherogenic).  However, since being Bulletproof means doing everything possible to ensure optimal health, this is something that needs to be dealt with.  High LDL isn’t necessarily the problem.  It’s a sign of tissue damage or toxins which is the problem.

When cells are stressed or damaged, they need cholesterol for repair.  As Dr. Jaminet also pointed out, high LDL levels are needed to repair damaged tissue.

The body sends LDL molecules to supply various parts of the body with cholesterol and fats.  Limited blood flow is one form of stress.  Calcium-d-glucarate is metabolized into glucaric salts.  Glucaric salts reduces beta-glucuronidase production by gut bacteria.  Reducing beta-glucuronidase enhances enterohepatic (liver) circulation which reduces cholesterol synthesis.  This causes lower cholesterol levels.

In rats, CDG lowers total cholesterol by 12-15 percent, and LDL cholesterol by 30-35 percent.  In humans, CDG lowers cholesterol by 12 percent, and LDL cholesterol by 28 percent.  It can also lower triglycerides up to 43 percent.

CDG is not arbitrarily playing with cholesterol numbers like statins.  It decreases stress on the liver which lowers your need for cholesterol, especially LDL cholesterol.

Dosage & Side Effects

A normal detox dose is 500-1000mg.  People with cancer or high estrogen may benefit from taking as much as 3000-4500mg a day.  It doesn’t really matter when you take it.

CDG can interact with alcohol and some drugs that act on the liver like statins.  WebMD has the full list of possible interactions listed here.

By taking this one supplement, you can decrease your risk of cancer, remove toxins, ensure healthy liver function, and lower your LDL and total cholesterol.  Calcium-d-glucarate is one of the safest, most effective biohacks available.

Will you be trying calcium-d-glucarate? 

For references to the above studies, click here.

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  • val

    Can you recommend a brand? I don’t take many supplements at all and I don’t know how to find a good one.
    I am intrigued, as my LDL is “high” and my TC:HDL is 4.3
    I am 4 yrs into a lowish carb paleo diet. This is the first time I have had my levels check since then. Perhaps I need to be more careful about my cooking techniques in general, and add some supplements.

    • Randall Heilik

      If you are still looking for a brand, I often suggest AOR (Advanced Orthomolecular Research), their Calcium D-Glucarate is encapsulated with Bifidobacterium Longum and is sold as “Cellular Detox” http://www.aor.ca

      • Rick Yarussi

        AOR is Canadian, and I’m not sure I can get their stuff in the US. The formulation looks great though – added SGS and probiotics.

        What are other good brands?

        • Anne

          I use Thorne Research as I love this brand and they don’t use expedients which damage the liver which most other brands use. Life extension also makes good products (thorne is by far my favorite though) but the Thorne CDG supplement is a good dose (500g) while all others seem to only be 200g. I order it from Iherb.com . You can use the code zed291 on your first order to get $10 off your first order (if above $40 or $5 off for a smaller one). they do free shipping in the US for any order above $20. I’ve ordered from them for years and they are great and with fantastic prices. I live alternatively in Canada and Australia and even get all my orders sent to those countries.

          AOR is also a good brand but it’s a canadian brand.

  • Sean

    Dave, do you take CDG daily — with morning coffee, or with lunch, or with bed-time supplements? You specified detox-dose, but not your maintenance dose…

    • Dave Asprey

      I take 4 per day either divided or bedtine

      • Zack_Leman

        Is that four 200mg pills or Four 500mg Pills every day?

        • Dave Asprey

          500mg

  • Mike Knickerbocker

    I’d also like a brand and dosage recommendation.

  • Briterian

    Would this replace my need to supplement with just a basic calcium supplement? Thanks!

    • Pete

      No. CDG acts acts differently in your body than calcium. just think of it as Glucaric acid.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tristen.davison Tristen Davison

    Thanks. Excellent overview of its benefits. This article focuses on detox of the liver, and you noted your ’1 kidney’. Do you have any posts or advice more focused on kidney detox?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=569222587 Brian Mikesell

    I took this for the last 3 months to lower my LDL while also on a paleo diet. My LDL went from 214 to 222. Now my NMR had my small LDL-P drop by 44% to 23% so that was cool but in terms of lowering my total LDL- I don’t see this having any impact and it’s odd that there are no other sites other there promoting this supplement.

  • Victoria

    I take bioidenitical hormones, Bi-est, Progesterone, and very small amt of Testosterone for menopause symptoms. Is Calcium-d-glucarate compatable as long as taken at different times?
    Thank you,
    Victoria

    • Dave Asprey

      I have never found research to the contrary. Even taking them concurrently should be ok.
      Sent from an iphone. That means it’s spelled wrong…and I’m probably lost. You understand… -Dave

    • beedee

      …am late to the party…I’m taking the Bio-Horms too (as well as Thyroid med) & was always recommended by my Dr to take DIM or CDG. I was on here looking to see which one may be better…CDG is more expensive, but I’m leaning toward it for ‘detox’…

  • Cathy

    Arg! Why would CDG not work for someone? I have been suffering from profound muscle weakness since doing a few powerful detox cleanses a few years ago. CDG makes it worse, as does artichoke extract. WHY? I can’t figure out what’s happening here!

    • thinkbeyondthepink

      You may have released the toxins, but if your pathways are blocked, like the liver or lymph, they will just recirculate. I found the best way to get it all flowing is with a far infrared sauna. I have a portable one I just love!

      • karenm

        could you tell me more about your FI sauna?

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  • Gladina Vuletic

    Hello I took calcium d glucate in the past but I was taking so may other things at the same time that I did not know what causing a benefit and/or what was useless.

    I am looking at liver targeted supplementation again as I suspect I am struggling with sx of low thyroid (life long and independent of diet I eat). I am not able to find a dr.. or get proper help w/ thyroid and I don’t want to mess around w/ NDT from online sources (at this time). I want to see if I can help my liver; I also take ox bile and I DO feel a benefit from it.

    Anyways Can someone please enlighten me as to whether d glucarate would be better than milk thistle? Can you take both?

    Thanks!!

    Zorica.

  • Greg

    As for lowering estrogen, I found this in a paper: “Oral
    administration of calcium D-glucarate (a calcium salt of D-glucaric
    acid) led to an inhibition of chemically induced mammary carcinogenesis
    in rats. Serum estrogen levels were 23-percent lower in rats receiving
    the calcium D-glucarate. The 4.5 mM/kg doses of calcium D-glucarate
    used in this trial were very large, however. To approximate this dose in
    a 70 kg human, 78 grams would be required.” That’s a much larger dose than you’re recommending. A lower dose might work, but it hasn’t been tested that I can see. Here’s the link: http://www.thorne.com/media/alternative_medicine_review/2001/Volume_6/Number_2/Cancer_Part2.pdf

  • Joe Garma

    Web MD has a short review of calcium-d-glucarate, which (surprisingly for a supplement junkie) is new to me.

    http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-136-CALCIUM%20D-GLUCARATE.aspx?activeIngredientId=136&activeIngredientName=CALCIUM%20D-GLUCARATE

    Note that calcium-d-glucarate doesn’t mix well with alcohol or various medications.

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  • Rebortsili

    I was diagnosed with estrogen positive breast cancer, I am due to start chemo soon and was wondering if I should wait until after chemo to start CDG or can I do them simultaneously?

    • Friend

      Absolutely ask your oncologist. There are interactions with chemo drugs that only an oncologist would know. Anything you take you should share with your oncologist. If you are going to take tamoxifen, every year, for life check yourself for endometrium cancer, it is a quick biopsy, almost the same as Pap test. Worth it,

      • Rebortsili

        Well my oncologist doesn’t believe in supplementing with anything….I don’t think he has even heard of CDG so I’m sure he would say stop all supplements until after chemo

        • thinkbeyondthepink

          I too am a 6yr bc survivor. Please do some research. If you have an onc who says no supplements, he is misinformed. I used them and sailed through treatments, though I said no to chemo and any drugs. Look into iodine as well.

        • kimberjade

          I too took supplements with my chemo. The onc. was pretty neutral about it. He didn’t say yes or no, he just wanted a list. I sailed through it too. Took Kyolic immune supplement and never got sick even though I had to work around sick people through my whole treatment.

  • jackie

    hey dave, i just did some genetic testing, and i’m Apo E 3/4, which means i should be on a lower fat (lower saturated animal fat) diet. chris kresser writes about this. i always have high LDL, and i’m pattern A, but i have a high LDL particle number. i think the “mysterious” high LDL on a paleo diet could be due to genetic variances, particularly the Apo E gene. i was (still sort of am) on a pretty high saturated fat, cholesterol diet, but i’m going to experiment with a lower fat more vegetarian diet. i used to think high fat/paleo was good for everyone, but now i’m changing my mind, because of the genetic testing i did and the research i’ve done along with that. now i know that one size does not fit all. some people do well and/or better on a lower fat diet. everyone’s different. :-) and finally, everyone should do genetic testing, since it’s so affordable now.

    • Jonathan Swaringen

      From what I’ve read this is more of a reason to keep your fat intake from Fish and non-meat sources of saturated fat like Coconut oil. I don’t think its high saturated fat in general but saturated animal fat thats the problem.

      There isn’t much saturated fat in fish and the saturated fat in coconut oil isn’t the same.

  • I’m convinced

    Had HER2 breast cancer, did chemo, radiation & 1 year on Herceptin & Femara (same as Tamoxifen) . Side effects where terrible ! Stopped the Femara & now taking CDG for 8 months. Dr. was surprised when I told him no more Femara, but it’s my life, whatever is left of it & I’m not spending it in bed or a chair with that pain. Taking 3000mg daily, no side bad side effects at all.

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  • Rick Yarussi

    Good brands in the US?

  • Guest

    Should you divide the doses? In other words, what’s the half life in the body?

  • Marya Mann

    Thank you from Hawaii! I’ve been researching some lower-cost alternatives to a range of supplements for myself and wellness clients. I think calcium-d-glucarate is helping to heal an old dental bone infection. In combination with pomegranate juice for antioxidant power and homeopathic Human Growth Hormone, I am restoring the bone tissue. Puts a nice smile on my face and its easy on the pocketbook too. I’ve saved hundreds maybe thousands of dollars in dental surgeries and avoided lots of pain. Hurray for health!

    • slow4ever

      hi, which homeopathic HGH do you use.

  • Greg Cee

    Thanks for the info Dave. I am going to start taking this.

    I have a question though. I figured Beta-glucuronidases which is stopped or reduced by CDG must have a beneficial role.

    Looking on wiki…..”Beta-glucuronidases are members of the glycosidasefamily of enzymes that catalyze breakdown of complexcarbohydrates”…..”Deficiencies in ?-glucuronidase result in the non recessive inherited metabolic disease known as Sly syndrome or Mucopolysaccharidosis VII. A deficiency in this enzyme results in the build-up of non-hydrolyzed mucopolysaccharides in the patient.”

    Do I need to worry about not being able to properly breakdown complex carbs or gettig side effects of reducing/limiting Beta-glucuronidases?

  • Bk

    Hi Dave, do you think CDG is better than DIM for removing bad estrogens from the body? Thanks in advance.

  • Carl Lee

    Does it have to be taken on an empty stomach?

  • JennyJ

    Hi,

    Interesting post, but I’m a very slender
    post menopausal woman with tiny little bird bones. Would this not be a good supplement for me since I probably need to protect whatever estrogen I still have circulating in me?

  • Sheryl

    One of the supplements you list is folinic acid. This substance is used for reducing side effects in patients receiving methotrexate for rheumatoid arthritis or chemo. How would this benefit an otherwise healthy individual; not suffering from the effects of Chemo or rheumatoid arthritis?

  • seanorama

    What are the other supplements y’all use when traveling?

    On my way to the 10th 24+ hour series of flights in the last few months.

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  • Unnar

    Hi Dave. I just started using CDG about a week ago and noticed quickly that my urine changed color. Kind of looked like there was blood there since the color was brownish red – especially in the morning since I take CDG before bed. Any thoughts? Is this due to the toxins being removed?

  • Anonymous Paleo

    Dave,

    I found Paleo many years ago and in less than a year, I’d reversed diabetes, cured PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), dropped my triglycerides, TC and A1C to low normal and lost 100 lbs (though I’m still a little overweight, keeps me from looking wrinkly, lol).

    Recently I’ve been having pelvic pain and after a full pelvic exam and TV-ultra-sound, the diagnosis is adenomyosis- which is (for anyone who doesn’t know), a kind of endometriosis where the endometrial glandular tissue infiltrates the muscle wall of the uterus, potentially causing heavy/painful periods, painful sex, an potentially enlarged uterus that may develop from the endometrium being trapped in the muscle wall rather than sloughing off, and a host of other issues.

    I’m told that it is a very common ‘condition’ among older women (I’m 45) who have had at least 2 full-term pregnancies (I’ve had 3), and that it often goes unnoticed and undiagnosed. I’m also told that ‘estrogen dominance’ can be a primary factor. After years of dealing with extra testosterone (PCOS), I never imagined I’d be dealing with “extra” estrogen. What was especially gratifying though was seeing my ovaries on the ultrasound screen– they used to look like a pouches of marbles and now, the only follicles that could be seen were the current one and the one coming up next round. (Woo hoo for Paleo!) The ultrasound tech couldn’t believe I’d ever had PCOS.

    Anyway, the specialist really wasn’t interested in exploring anything natural, she was ready to put the IUD in right then at our first meeting! I asked specifically about estrogen dominance, saying I have concerns about treating what could be just a symptom of a larger problem- that I was aware that estrogen dominance can lead to osteoporosis and reproductive cancers. But she said that the dominance wasn’t “systemic”, that is was about the uterus being hyper-sensitive to the estrogen, and that this was why the Mirena (with progesterone only) would make more sense because its action was local. Either way, I’m not a fan of the IUD idea or the hormone idea so I started researching other alternatives and I rediscovered this article. I’d read it when it was first posted, but with no real relevance to me, I promptly forgot about it.

    Today, after almost 2 months taking the Calcium-D-Glucarate, I feel like a new person. It’s my understanding that it can take up to three months to see any positive changes, so I didn’t expect anything major. However, my next menstruation snuck up on me because it was symptom-free until the day it started!

    And then, I had only 1.5-2 days of really heavy bleeding, instead of 3-4 and it was 2 days shorter overall. Most importantly though, it was so “average” with regard to cramping and pain. I was able to use the soft-cups I’d had to stop using because they were too painful to wear, (sorry for the TMO, guys) and sex hasn’t hurt since!

    Another interesting thing worth mentioning- my hips used to ache horribly. When I had my first screening done with my primary for the adenomyosis, they were routinely aching so much that she ordered x-rays (which found nothing). They’d been aching for 3-4 years on and off, sometimes so much so that the pain would prevent me from sleeping or wake me in the night, and it definitely impacted by activity level. I have a job that exacerbated it quite a bit and I’d become so used to the pain that I would hold my breath and cringe as I got out of my car (after a 12 hour shift and a 40 minute drive) knowing it was going to be painful just taking the first couple of steps. However, a few weeks ago, as I got out of the car I realized, there was no pain when I stood up. I stood there wondering how long it had been since I’d last felt it… I was so used to feeling it all the time that I didn’t notice it was gone. But, I now have ZERO pain in my hips. I wish I’d known what the CDG would do for that pain years ago! I’m so looking forward to MOVING outside as the longest Winter ever comes to an end!

    I’ve never been much for supplements, preferring to get my nutrients from whole food (I take D3 in the Winter months only and melatonin if I worked an overnight and need to sleep during the day) and I really didn’t expect such remarkable results. I’m in the middle of my second period since beginning the regimen and other than some mild cramping on the first day, I’d not even know if not for the flow itself. Given the way my clothes are fitting, I feel like I’ve lost a couple of pounds, though I can’t say for sure since I don’t depend on the scale.

    This is my nutshell takeaway so far–

    -I’ve been taking the CDG for almost two months, though not long enough to comprehensively evaluate the long term results.

    -In this short time though, I feel remarkably better!

    -I can’t say for sure that there is no placebo effect taking place, though with my skeptical nature, if so, I believe it would be minor.

    -If I did lose a few pounds, I can’t say for sure that that didn’t have an impact on how I’m feeling, since fatty tissue promotes estrogen production/dominance… but even if that is the case, that could be a simple matter of the supplements altering fat storage a bit with the result of that being fat loss, and the result of THAT being the lessening of estrogen and therefore the elimination of symptoms. Point being, I don’t know if the result is direct or indirect, but frankly, I don’t care.

    Dave, in closing, I just wanted to share my experience so far– and to tell you how grateful I am to you for sharing this information– I feel like a new person!

    AP

  • lasonn

    omg, did you just say UNFAIR advantage? people throw this phrase around perhaps unaware that they are promoting injustice. An advantage is an advantage; adding ‘unfair’ to it is quite malicious.

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