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Jeruba's avatar

Has the tide of wisdom turned against calcium supplements?

Asked by Jeruba (41921 points ) April 15th, 2011

Calcium tablets and calcium, magnesium, and zinc combinations used to be readily available in the drugstore. Last night I scoured the shelves and couldn’t find a single one. Any special reason for this? I know I can order online what I used to find at Walgreen’s or CVS—but is there some reason why I shouldn’t?

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17 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

The latest buzz is that too much calcium as provided by supplements is not a good idea and may cause various stones…kidney, gall, whatever.

Better to get your calcium from food; See chart here

I take one 500 mg. calcium tab daily and 1000 IU D3. I do eat pretty carefully, however.

And I exercise religiously.

Jeruba's avatar

Thanks, @gailcalled. I haven’t been keeping up. I am trying to achieve bone growth and thought maybe I ought to help it along.

JLeslie's avatar

If you are taking D and calcium, maybe some K also, you really need to get your blood calcium checked regularly. High levels of calcium in the blood is very dangerous and indicates the calcium can be settling in soft tissues and arteries, and harden tissues that should be soft and pliable. I take prescription D and calcium levels are tested every 3 months or so. There is information out there that this hardening of the arteries and calcium build up might be as important if not more than cholesterol levels. The has been recent information that vitamin k2 might be a key factor in calcium getting into the bone, into where it needs to be. The Japanese have low rates of heart disease and naturally eat much more k2 in their diet than Americans on average.

I always say on Q’s like this, don’t guess. Get a bone density and blood test for D and Calcium. Not sure if you can test for K2, I have been meaning to look that up myself.

JLeslie's avatar

However, I think it is safe to say most Americans don’t get enough calcium or D and usually do need supplements.

gailcalled's avatar

@Jeruba:Can you do any sort of weight-bearing exercise with your bum appendages yet? I started out with ½ lb. weights and 5 minutes on the treadmill at 2.7 mph.

Tonight I used 5 lbs weights and walked for 45 minutes at 3.4mph. I’m gradually working up to 3.5 and ultimately perhaps a little elevation.

faye's avatar

The doctor at the osteoporosis clinic I went to recommended 1500 mg of calcium and 4000 u of vitamin D for me. I have osteopenia. There are a few osteoporosis sites and people recommend to always take magnesium and vit K2 as well. Turns out I ended up with too much vit D in me. If you’re out in the sun lots in the summer, back up on vit D. She poo-pooed strontium citrate which I am taking now for bone growth. If you read about how Europe and Australia are treating osteoporosis, you’ll find strontium ranelate and better results than us.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

I’ve always been under the impression that you could take a couple of Tums every day to get your calcium supplement.

JLeslie's avatar

@MyNewtBoobs Well, tums reduces the acid in your tummy so the calcium is not absorbed as well.

JLeslie's avatar

But you still absorb some. Not trying to discourage you from taking it, especially if the Tums helps your tummy.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@JLeslie I still take them for my tummy, I just thought they were as good as calcium supplements but with the added bonus of not having further heartburn.

JLeslie's avatar

@MyNewtBoobs If you take them regularly it probably does help your calcium levels.

faye's avatar

@MyNewtBoobs I take the calcium at bedtime so I don’t know if it bothers my stomach. And I know about stomach acid; I am the midnight snacker! I also know about divided doses but I just can’t watch that closely.

Jeruba's avatar

Bum appendages . . . what an image, @gailcalled. No, I can’t lift any weight yet with my splinted wrist, can’t twist it around or make a fist. After 6 weeks there is still no new bone growth, either.

As for the foot fracture, for the time being we’re pretending it isn’t there. Can’t do anything about it for now anyway.

augustlan's avatar

Calcium is still available at my local stores, last I checked. Maybe they were just out of it? Anyway, it’s probably a good idea to check with your doctor, since there has been a lot of new information on various vitamins in recent years.

jca's avatar

I never took it but a friend of mine takes calcium and she tells me it causes constipation. Is that true?

faye's avatar

@jca And magnesium is supposed to counteract that. There is so much goofy info on the internet about vitamins and supplements and I’m not sure doctors know much either. I try to muddle through to some info that doesn’t include selling me their book.

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