I am very sad, scared, and discouraged tonight, but wanted to pass along information that might be useful to others.
A few years ago I was diagnosed with mild osteoporosis. I did not want to take the drugs, and did a great deal of research concerning them. I also have kept very current on these drugs, talked with many women about them, and feel that I made the right decision for me. The side effects (including loss of bone in the jaw and severe problems with dental work), plus the fact that they coat the bones rather than replace bone all did not seem right to me. What I have done is work out with weights, take strontium, and take calcium supplements. Therein lies the problem - calcium supplements.
I am now faced with a kidney stone attack and have never had this problem before. I have many small stones and one large one. I have been in pain for over a week, gone through x-rays, CT scans, and on lots of medicine. After seeing a urologist today I am looking at either passing the stone with a great deal of pain or having a procedure that sends sound shock waves through your body to break up the stone. Neither thing is good and both painful - both requiring drugs of some kind and possible risk to the kidney.
What I want to share though is when I asked the doctor if there is a direct link between the calcium supplements and these stones he said, without hesitation, YES, stop the calcium. I have been a good girl and taken the calcium for two years and just as directed. Every doctor I saw for whatever reason brought up calcium and the importance of taking it. Not one doctor gave me a blood test to see what my calcium levels were or even mentioned it. Not one doctor warned me about kidney stones. There were no tests at all - just told to take it. Now, I am in quite a mess, and in pain.
I do not want to tell anyone what to do. All of us are different. All of us must make our own choices that are right for us. I also do not want to scare anyone needlessly. But, I would like to advise all women to question and not accept blindly. Ask to have the tests done. Ask if your body is absorbing calcium and not passing it off into the kidneys. Be smart about your body and do research on your own. It is so important to question and find the right answers. Who would have thought that by following doctors orders, that something so seemingly harmless and to help my bones could make me this miserable.
Glowing 4-I too am sorry to hear about your problems and thank you for sharing your situation. I hope that you get good medical advice to determine the right way to proceed. I am wishing the best for you . It sounds like a very difficult and worrisome situation.
So many of us here are also taking calcium supplements and some like myself have elevated blood calcium levels. The doctor advised me to decrease the amount of calcium I am taking in by about a third.
We need to have a good discussion on this board about this topic. I hope that people who have some knowledge/experience with this will share what they have learned about both the risk of developing stones when taking calcium and how they were treated if they developed stones. The urologist's comment to you about his certainty that it was the calcium supplements is a concern.
Again, I hope the best for you and will send my prayers.
Did they ever tell you that you MUST take magnesium to make the body absorb calcium? If you don't take magnesium with the calcium the excess calcium will be distributed in the soft tissues, and in your case kidneys. Excess magnesium on the other hand is excreted by the kidneys. If they tell you you get plenty of magnesium in your diet.. tell them to think again. When is the last time you ever heard of a farmer adding magnesium to his fields. Crops today are depleted of magnesium. You might want to look up some information by Dr. Mildred Seelig. She was the world's leading magnesium specialist.
Glowing 4-I just found some excellent information that might help you at Mayo on the net. Look up "kidney stones" and "mayo" and you'll get to a discussion of symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment. In fact anyone now concerned about this topic should take a look. Glowing 4 there is a bit of discussion on alternate treatments and their pros and cons. Perhaps this will help you with further questions for your dr.
On the calcium issue the information seems to directly contradict Glowing4's dr. -stating that dietary calcium and supplemental calcium taken on a full stomach may protect against calcium stones. There is discussion as to why this occurs but rather involved for me to re-state right now. I wanted to get something to glowing4 tonight.
One important point stressed for prevention is to drink alot of water.
Thanks to all of you for your kindness and advise. Yes, the calcium that I have been taking also contains magnesium and Vitamin D. I found out about the magnesium when I was getting severely constipated from just the calcium. I had been taking Nature's Way - a reliable and good company. It had 500mg of calcium and 250mg of magnesium per capsule. I am not sure if this is a correct balance or not, but most calcium supplements with magnesium seem to have that.
The controversy seems to occur concerning supplements and getting calcium naturally through our food. And, yes, there is even controversy over the supplements. I think that honestly they really don't know! However, given the situation I am in now, I am very skeptical of supplements. It is so much healthier to get our calcium through natural means.
This is a nightmare and one that I think need not have occured if more tests had been done, more information given, NOT just commonly say - take calcium!! Not one doctor ever advised what kind to take. It was only through my own research that I discovered the magnesium.
I NEVER had any history of kidney stones until 1-1/2 years ago when I had a single episode of blood in my urine. A little bit before this time, I increased my calcium supplements, but never increased my fluid intake. I am almost certain that this is what caused my solo kidney stone. So far, we are keeping an eye on it and it has not changed. I am asymptomatic (yippee). I consume about 100 liters of water a day now. I was originally told to discontinue all calcium, but since I am stable now, I was directed to restart my calcium supplements but to change my supplement from calcium CARBONATE to calcium CITRATE, as this has a lower incidence of causing kidney stones.
Well, here's another story. I was diagnosed with Osteoporosis in Nov of 2002. I was given Fosamax and told to take calcium. My doctor said I needed 1500 mg of calcium per day. Now, I am an intelligent woman but here's where I went wrong. I took 1500 mg.'s of calcium citrate plus D & mag ALONG with the dietary calcium daily. I researched what to take and how to take but didn't know about too much calcium.
I ended up in the ER on Christmas Day 2003 with a fever and severe shakes. The doctor wasn't sure what was wrong but found blood in my urine. I was given antibiotics. A month later I got a bladder inf. which I haven't had in years. A month later I had another bladder infection. This time they did a culture and the organism indicated that I might have a kidney stone.
Off to the urologist where he found a large kidney stone in the part of the kidney where it wouldn't come out easily. In June 04 I had lithotripsy(blasting it out).
It was analyzed and determined to be caused by calcium. But my urologist refused to blaim the large amount of calcium I was taking daily. But I KNOW it was. I wasn't drinking any extra water. I urine was cloudy. 6 calcium pills a day did it. There are so many conflicting facts about this that the doctor's don't know what to do.
My endo took me off the calcium and put me only on dietary calcium. My urologist told me that if I added lots of water to my diet every day it would help. I did the dietary calcium for awhile but couldn't get that much down per day. So I've added 2-250mg calcium citrate with magnesium and D with 2 large glasses of water along with milk, cottage cheese, etc.
I was lucky and did not have pain when the shattered stones passed. I also thought the lithotripsy wasn't bad at all.
I think that some of us metabolize the calcium different than others and it makes us more suseptible to forming stones. I should have looked at the amount dietary calcium I took and deducted that from the 1500 I am supposed to take and just taken the difference in supplemental calcium.
The biggest thing is try to control the fear factor. Look at all your options regarding treatment for the stones and make a decision based on what you think is best for you. Good luck!
Thank you Turquoise and yef. While I would never want anyone to be in pain or have problems like I am having, I am so very grateful that you shared your stories. It helps me to feel better knowing that I am not crazy and that there is a reason this is happening to me. Thank you also for telling me that the stone shattering is not bad - that helps to ease my mind as well. I would so appreciate it if you could tell me what to expect and how it went. Mostly, thank you for being women willing to share their experiences and to help someone else. It means more than you know. glowing4
You can get too much calcium. Count all of the calcium to equal app. 1500 mg. per day. This includes you glass of milk, and any tums you might take. THe ratie is supposed to be at least 2 to 1 of magnesium... (example: 500 mg. calcium and 250 mg. magnesium.) WHen you look at the mg. of magnesium MAKE SURE that it is 250 mg. of ELEMENTAL magnesium. Many of the labels are misleading in that 250 would be the total, not just the magnesium (fillers, binders, etc.) You probably should call the particular compnay and ask the amount of ELEMENTAL magnesium. I know that Mag-Ox label says (i believe from memory) 500mg. However on the label it does note that it is 244 mg. of ELEMENTAL magnesium. Mag-Ox is available without a prescription....but you get it behind the pharmacy counter. This is the product that Dr. Mildred Seelig recommended for my mother. She also said be assured that the extra clacium you take in supplements does stay in you body.
I think some of you have made a very good point about how much calcium we are getting per day through food and supplements. I never really stopped to think about that as I should have. It makes total sense to add the two together so that we are not over loading. Interesting that the doctors don't ever tell you that and that the bottles of calcium give a recommended dosage that is probably more than needed. Thanks for making me think about this. glowing4
So, guys- if my supplement says Calcium (as calcium carbonate) 1000 mg, DV 100%, and similar for magnesium Zinc... vitamin D... does that mean that there IS actually that amount of calcium, etc. in there? From what you guys are saying, I think so? (I hope so?!) Also, can we get too much magnesium? (From what you guys have discussed in this thread, the answer is definitely "yes" for calcium...) I am sorry for all of your experiences with this. Thank you for sharing your stories, though! Is 2000 mg too much?
Sorry for all the questions, just trying to sort it all out...
Hi all: You need to be really careful with all supplements, and if you don't have a Dr that is telling you how much is too much, or too little, and including your dietary intake in their statement, then you need to question them.
I have slightly elevated calcium, and my Dr has taken me off all supplemental calcium, and has me getting my calcium through my diet. For years I took the recommended dose of all vitamins and minerals and now I have this problem. I can't say that I took too much, but you do have to be careful.
The limit on magnesium is *usually* 350 mg and calcium plus mag is at a 2 to 1 ration. Hypermagnesemia (high mag) or hypomagnesemia (low) can cause probs similar to those of high and low calcium. Getting too much potassium is also very dangerous, and has to be watched since it can cause cardiac arrest (heart attack with no warning symptoms). My husband has elevated potassium, and they also have him limit the amount of dietary potassium for this reason.
Here's a link that explains how to figure how much elemental calcium is in your supplement. Note the reference on chelated forms, that I just noticed. The same warning goes for vit d, and the rest.
My Dr is concerned about calcium, in my situation, because it could be setting me up for stones and or stroke, so she is very aware of the probs with excess vitamins and minerals; she's a mineral metabolism Dr so that might explain it, but my Endo and primary care Dr seem to be educated on this as well, but no where to degree that she is.
cmorg: 2000 mg of what, calcium? If so, I've never heard of going over 1200-1500 mg *diet and supplements added together* unless there is some unusual reason. You can only absorb 500mg of calcium at a time, so break up what you're taking with meals.
Sorry about all your problems, and hope this is the end of them.
Last edited by DesertBloom; 04-27-2007 at 02:07 PM.
DesertBloom-what amount of calcium are you getting daily from food sources?I too am usually reading high in range on calcium . My (previous) dr. just said reduce supplemental from 1200 to 900 and didn't talk about dietary- she was the dr. that didn't talk. The new one and I have had too much on the table and the calcium is in range though high in range. I sure don't want stones or stroke!
I had meant to ask you before whether your blood calcium reading went down when you lowered your intake. I am presuming that not only did you go to just dietary calcium but that you did reduce total calcium intake. And, what blood calcium test is your dr. primarily using to monitor whether your reduced intake is lowering blood calcium?
Next time I talk to the dr. we will need to drill down on this. Your information would be helpful . Thank you.
Hi Osteo Boy I wish I could give you an exact figure on the daily amount, but I'm not good at eating the same or equal amounts of calcium rich foods. A ballpark figure would be around 500-800 mgs, and my calcium is still elevated as of the last test. I've never had an elevated total cal test, just the ionized, and can't tell you what that means.
My mineral metabolism Dr wants me to see another Endo at the Univ, but I don't want to. I suppose I will do it, but I'm so tired of Drs, even though, at the moment I seem to have really good ones. My problem is no one can explain the calcium situation, so they want me to see someone else.
When I stopped the forteo and calcium, I still had a slightly elevated cal result. Sometimes the Dr orders total cal, urinary, and ionized and sometimes just the ionized. BTW, my NTx was 78 both times and the ref range was 4-69 and she thinks the 78 shows the forteo is working.
Last edited by DesertBloom; 04-27-2007 at 03:41 PM.