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Choosing a safe calcium supplement
Susan Allison, RNC, BSN, MPA posted:
Calcium supplements prepared from unrefined oyster shell, bone meal or dolomite may contain lead or other toxic metals. Choose supplements that are known brand names with proven reliability for these types of supplements.

If you are not familiar with a supplement's brand, look for labels that state "purified" or have the USP (United States Pharmacopeia) symbol. The "USP Verified Mark" on the supplement label means that the USP has tested and found the calcium supplement to meet certain standards for purity and quality. Because applying for the USP symbol is voluntary, many fine products may not display this symbol. The USP symbol is helpful when you don't know the brand.
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Katdelmar responded:
Taking calcium supplements may build up in your blood right?
Susan Allison, RNC, BSN, MPA replied to Katdelmar's response:
No, if you take more calcium than your body needs, the extra calcium is excreted through your kidneys into your urine. This is why taking too much calcium from supplements can increase the risk of kidney stones in certain individuals. NOF recommends that individuals age 50 and older get a total of 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day from all sources. This includes the estimated amount of calcium you get from the foods you eat each day. If you don't get enough calcium from food alone, you can make up for the difference by taking a calcium supplement. For more information, visit NOF's web page about calcium .
Imaprettyteapot replied to Susan Allison, RNC, BSN, MPA's response:
Having an allergy to milk in my younger days and the use of steroids to controll multiple allergies seem to have confused my GI systems absorbtion process. If I do not take the calcium my body demands have severe lower leg cramps, especially on waking or on sudden movement. I take 2000mg am & pm. with good success. But I cannot go lower for several days without cramps returning. I use an oyster shell with approval from my Gyn. And is always included in my Medication lists given to any MD. But still have 1 collapsed vertebrea at L2. Have a lot of discomfort in Thoracic area, but no tests have been done in that area. Thoracic area has bothered for last 50 years. Have taken Fosamax for at least 8 years, switched to Reclast 2 years ago, after discovery of collapsed vertebrea am now taking Forteo sq daily.
bonebabe replied to micoromulo's response:
I answered this yesterday, but the post didn't post

I looked at the info on this online. From what I saw, this wouldn't be a good choice for your brother. Here's why.

Calcium is a mineral. There is no good or bad calcium, except possibly some oyster shell calcium due to possible lead content. That means, the calcium you get in a health food store is no more effective than Tums. The difference is in how you tolerate it and what form you prefer to take. Of course, the difference to the retailer is price. But we know, price doesn't dictate effectiveness.

The pills are 800 mg each of calcium. The dosage is 2 a day to equal 1600 mg. However, the body will only absorb 500-600 at a time. He would be consuming 1000-1200 mg each day. While that is adequate, I believe the label is misleading.

Also I noticed there is no Vit D in this calcium. The recommended daily amount of Vit D is now at 2000 IU. The Vit D is what sends the calcium to the bones. Without it, you don't get the maximum absorption from your calcium. They promote a lot of other "add-on's" for absorption, but leave out the main one!

And....I didn't see any USP symbol on the label. That's important to show that what's stated as being in the bottle/pill really IS in the bottle/pill. Otherwise, it's a grab bag of who-knows-what.

So, what I'd do for my brother is get a name brand or generic of that name brand calcium citrate (like Citracal) with magnesium and Vit D. Take 2 following lunch and 2 following supper. That should cover him.
megmo84 replied to Susan Allison, RNC, BSN, MPA's response:
We are recommended to get calcium from foods first, then supplements as needed. Is the calcium in fortified foods such as orange juice and soy milk considered "food sources" or supplements"?
bonebabe replied to megmo84's response:
Food sources.
breezyfromnh replied to Imaprettyteapot's response:
Hi, this is my first time on webmd. I am curious as to how the Forteo sq is working for you. I have thought about asking my Dr. on my next visit about it. Would I be better off talking to my GYN rather than my PCP?
momsygirl replied to Susan Allison, RNC, BSN, MPA's response:
hi..i have kidney stone, and am taking Calcium- Caltrate Plus,everyday..but i have osteoporosis..
An_246543 responded:
I'm 62 yrs old with osteoporosis, taking 1500mg calcium citrate supplements, and also Actonel once a week. I saw on the news that taking calcium supplements can increase your risk for heart attack. How reliable is this news? Also, do those calcium enriched foods like orange juice, cereals, or calcium enriched milk contain the same ingredient as the calcium supplements? Thank you.
bonebabe replied to An_246543's response:
Here's a link for the official statement on that study by the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
lindatieger replied to An_246543's response:
Calcium supplements may increase your risk for heart attack IF you don't also take magnesium and lots of Vit. D. Almond milk is better than dairy products incl cow's milk. Actonel, a bisphosphonate, has some dangerous side effects. It should only be taken for 2 years directly after menopause. Stop taking it if you need dental surgery.

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