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Mission_Void 02-16-2004 04:38 PM

How much Calcium is too much?
Is any body taking Calcium supplement with vitamin D? I have rheumatoid arthritis and I think she may have decided it would be a good idea to get me started on a supplement. Actually my doctor gave me a RX to take 250 mgs Calcium + D twice a day. But I told her that I might be able to get it at the store cheaper than their pharmacy. She said ok if you can, but here's the Rx anyway. At the store it WAS cheaper, and I bought the absorbable Calcium 1000 mgs ( 100% daily value ) with 100 I.U.'s of vitamin D or 25% of the daily value. I didn't pay any attention to the mg amount when buying.

I've heard that men and women between ages 19 to 50 years of age can take 1000 mg a day according to a web site. I am male in my 40's, but I wonder if I over did it on the Calcium. I also take a multi-vitamin with 162 mgs, but also get some in the food I eat. I don't drink milk. I could call the doctor, but it's really a hassel getting ahold of them.( downtown hospital - they are very busy) Anyway what can happen if you take too much. Today I skipped a dose. Tomorrow I'll take it. Does anybody have any take on how much is too much and is it toxic or maybe I should say that maybe too much can build up in certain areas and cause Calcium deposits which would not be good. Thanks for any suggestion. MV

scribbles 02-16-2004 09:59 PM

Re: How much Calcium is too much?
Hmm... maybe you should have bought the one with 250 mg of calcium :D

For males 19-50 years of age, calcium intake levels have been established by the U.S. Food and Nutrition Board (the committee which sets the Dietary Reference Intakes) to be,
- Adequate Intake (AI) = 1000 mg/d
- Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) = 2500 mg/d

The calcium supplement you have is probably intended for those who get almost no calcium from their diet. Adding up your supplement + multi-vitamin + food sources, I would guess your total intake is not greater than the UL... maybe around 2000 mg (depends on how much is absorbed by your small intestine or whether you have thyroid problems).

There are three hormones which tightly regulate your blood calcium levels -- 1) Calcitonin from your thyroid gland, 2) Vitamin D from your diet/skin, and 3) Parathyroid hormone (PTH) from your parathyroid gland.

When calcium concentrations are too low, PTH
a) triggers the breakdown of bone in order to release calcium;
b) causes the kidneys to reabsorb calcium. This leads to the activation of vitamin D, which raises blood calcium levels mainly through stimulating the small intestine to increase calcium absorption.

When levels are too high, calcitonin
a) causes the kidneys to expel calcium in the urine, rather than reabsorbing it (calcium can also be lost in sweat);
b) inhibits the breakdown of bone and thus, prevents calcium release from the bones.

A calcium overdose (hypercalcaemia) can cause: groans, stones, bones, and psychic moans! Or more specifically, stomach pain, vomiting/nausea, constipation, kidney stones, fragile bones, headaches/confusion, and lethargy. These symptoms usually go away when calcium intake is reduced. More severe effects of high blood calcium can include dehydration, cardiac arrest, and depression.

In a healthy person, calcium homeostasis is usually not a problem. However, rather than risk chronic/acute calcium toxicity, I'd give the doctor a call and/or get the prescription dosage.

TreeFrog 02-17-2004 02:20 AM

Re: How much Calcium is too much?
Hi Mission_Void,

I just read in a magazine that we can only digest or assimilate 600 mg of calcium at a time, so taking 600 mg twice a day would be best. Also, a test if the calcium can be broken down and used is in putting a tablet in a little vinegar (to act like stomach acid), and see if it breaks down.

I tried this and my calcium tablet's coating is all that broke down!

The calcium itself was hard as stone after 30 minutes. I bought the recommended Spring Valley (600 mg) calcium with vitamin D, 250 tablets for under six dollars at Walmart, tried it in vinegar, and it dissolved! There are other brands that dissolve too, but this is the only one I remember.

The article says someone my age, (54) needs about 1200 mg a day, and that calcium aids weight loss, among other things, so that would be a bonus :cool:

Make sure to take magnesium with calcium to aid absorption and avoid constipation.


Mission_Void 02-17-2004 03:11 PM

Re: How much Calcium is too much?
scribbles, I've seen your user name somewhere around here. Thanks for the info. You sound very complete in your information about it. You said, " Hmm... maybe you should have bought the one with 250 mg of calcium." Shoot! I do too now! Especially if you can only normally absorb up to 600 mgs at a time. The calcium + D I bought are Softgels. So they should dissolve easy. I don't know if they are liquidy inside, but they seem a little mushy on the outside. So.....what would happen if I cut one in half? Would the calcium and D run out? :eek: I don't know. Just an idea. What do you say about me taking one every other day? Does that help or possibly hinder or do nothing?

You also said, " A calcium overdose (hypercalcaemia) can cause: groans, stones, bones, and psychic moans! That's a different way of putting it. Geez! That's enough to scare me. I think I'll be ok since you and another person on another forum said the same about maximum tolerable limit being 2500 mg/d. Thanks for your help. MV

Tree Frog, Thanks for your help too. Like I was telling scribbles, I bought some that are Softgels. They are soft on the out side and should dissolve easy I would think. That's a good price at Walmart. Good place to shop! You also mentioned to take magnesium with the calcium to aid in the absorption. I didn't know that. First I hear one needs vitamin D with calcium and now I've just heard magnesium too. Well, my multi-vitamin contains 100 mgs of magnesium which it states is only 25 % of the daily value. Hope that helps. Thanks for all the info. MV

scribbles 02-17-2004 10:36 PM

Re: How much Calcium is too much?
Since the body's ability to absorb calcium becomes progressively inefficient with larger doses, that could be one reason why your doctor prescribed 250 mg to be taken twice a day vs. prescribing a 500 mg pill or a 1000 mg pill and telling you to cut it in half. :D

Personally, I've never split a pill in half before, but apparently this is an intended option for certain drugs that are manufactured with a scored line (could be a cost-saving strategy for the patient, convenient for the doctor to adjust dosages, etc.). Does your pill have a grooved line running down the middle?

Even so, there are several things to consider because if you choose the wrong type to cut (and if it doesn't crumble, split unevenly, or turn out to be a liquid, etc.), you can render the pill ineffective, or less effective.

For example, some pills have a timed-release mechanism (controlled by the coating of the pill) that can be disrupted if the pill is cut. Since you have a pill dosage of 1000 mg, maybe your pill is of this design, as it would help the pill remain active longer by controling how much should be released from the pill at any one time to increase its absorption.

There are also some pills that have a special coating which functions to both protect the pill from the acidic environment of the stomach and to protect the stomach from the contents of the pill, which are only released once the pill exits the stomach. If the pill is cut and then ingested, its potency can either be destroyed by the stomach acid or cause irritation.

Cutting aside, I think it'll be ok to take your 1000 mg supplement daily (or every other day) and just monitor your other calcium sources. Or, consult the doctor (or pharmacist) about the upped dosage (I assume she knows you are also taking a multi-vitamin) and whether your current pill should be split.

Mission_Void 02-18-2004 07:08 AM

Re: How much Calcium is too much?
scribbles, thank you very much. You must know quite a lot about supplements no doubt. Actually when I had bought those, I didn't even look at the RX the doctor had given me and at her office she didn't tell me how much I was going to take. Anyway that's what happened. I just bought the 1000 mg CA + D. for under $5. And they ARE softgels.

By the way. I just read the directions. I was a little shocked to see that Nature's Bounty actually suggested taking two (2) of these a day. Wowza! I also tend to think they want you to use their product and keep doing so at a fast rate and keep buying more. Of course! I will not take 2 a day that's for sure. Don't understand how they could recommend 2-1000 mgs/d, if 2500 mgs/d is the upper limit. But then there's my multi-viamin plus my food intake.

Thanks again. I guess I feel safe taking 1 a day. Also Nature's Bounty has a web site. Think I'll check it out and ask a few questions. They also have a 1-800 number on the bottle. I could call too. MV

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