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Best Calcium and D3 supplement?

Jewelweed Member Posts: 46

I had my bone density scan and I have been diagnosed with osteopenia. Since I will eventually be looking at taking aromatase inhibitors, I'm obviously concerned about bone density a d beefing mine up as. Such as possible.

Can this even be done? I've heard that you can't reverse bone loss. I've also read that there an be big problems regarding absorbtion. I don't want to gulp down supplements only to have them clog my arteries.

Could someone point me past the snake oil to a nice chewable calcium and D3 supplement that will go where I need it to go?

Many thanks!


  • SuQu31
    SuQu31 Member Posts: 73

    I’m no expert and I don’t have a chewable suggestion, but wanted to respond and maybe someone else will see your post. I actually did improve my bone loss, so I know it can be done to some extent. Don’t want to be too indelicate, but the reason I did not regularly take Calcium was from HORRIBLE gas pains caused by most Calcium supplements. I mean, horrible. I finally found a calcium supplement I could take without pain and also a D3 supplement that does not contain the “bad” Calcium that caused the gas pain.

    I take Posture D Calcium and Naturewise VitaminD3 supplement. My doctor suggested the addition of weight-bearing exercise (walking) may have done as much as these two supplements, but at least I am headed in the right direction.

    Hope this helps and someone else jumps in as well.

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 12,820

    I too improved my bone density - twice. I went from osteopenia back to normal some years before cancer by adding calcium, cutting out cokes, quitting smoking & starting walking & weight bearing exercises. Then after cancer tanked my bone scans again, I've improved from full on osteoperosis back to very mild osteopenia so far.

    My long time OB said that Citracal with D was the easiest to absorb with out problems. I have been taking that for probably 20 years now with no problems - starting 4 a day (2 each am & pm) and switching to 2 a day 8 years ago. I don't know if they have a chewable version.

  • threetree
    threetree Member Posts: 982

    Jewelweed, My Dexa scan showed osteoporosis and osteopenia at the time I started an AI (January of 2020). The oncologist wanted me to do one of the bisphosphonates, but I was very, very wary (still am), so declined for the time being. I read that both prunes and first cold pressed extra virgin olive oil (oil has to be all of that) can help build bone. I started eating 6 dried plums (prunes) a day, as that's what the research shows is an effective amount, in Dec of 2019 in anticipation of the AI in January. I started adding the first cold pressed extra virgin olive oil later that spring, as I had read about it several months after I'd read about the prunes. I did take D3 and tried calcium supplementation briefly. I had another Dexa a year later in January of 2021 that showed no change, either better or worse. To me that was OK, I just didn't want worse. If you look at posts on here by Ruthbru, she felt that eating the serving of prunes (dried plums) every day served her well throughout her whole time on an AI. Her bone status never changed during that time. I'm not scheduled to have another Dexa for about a year and a half, but I am hoping to just hold steady.

    I too was afraid of calcium building up in my arteries and heart, so pretty much declined ca supplementing. I did give it a try, but when I did I had stomach trouble - another reason, I decided to get my calcium from diet and not supplements. I do once or twice a month take one of the supplements, just because I have them around and I doubt that that's enough to clog anything.

    I take the NOW brand D3 (capsule, not chewable) with K2 though. I also eat a lot of fish (sardines especially - go ahead and groan and gag), along with dairy every day. I also take good long walks and try to take the stairs more often than before, especially downstairs. Ruthbru who I mentioned above also said that she did dancing and walking, etc, and other weight bearing things. I only have one year to report no further loss, but Ruthbru seems to have had a good 5 years with no change and neither of us have taken the bisphosphonates.

    I have read that bone density can improve. It's not easy and takes a lot of time. I have read where others on here say that their bone density got better after they went off their AI.

  • ceanna
    ceanna Member Posts: 3,120

    Have you had your VitD3 levels checked? Mine was low and I was developing osteopenia. I took D3 for years with not much improvement until I switched to one that wasn't in a soy based oil. I now take one in a flaxseed oil (Trader Joe's 5000IU) and my last DEXA scan showed improved bone density and my blood levels of D3 are now at the high end of normal. Adequate D3 levels help you absorb food based calcium. I am leary of taking calcium in a straight mineral based tablet.

  • julesai
    julesai Member Posts: 11

    My oncologist told me to take Caltrate D/bone health which I did. My primary care doc put me on prescription Vitamin D, and my VitD levels came up great. (My new oncologist has continued to support the prescription VitD.)

    My understanding is that adequate D3 levels help with food based calcium absorption. Like ceanna said. :)

    Weight bearing exercise, walking, standing meditation—any of these help to strengthen your bones, too. I do 'em all.

    If this helps anyone: I've been on Letrozole & Prolia for four years. My osteopenia is slight with a 1% chance of hip fracture and has stayed that way all 4 years. (I'm 65 btw.) My oncologist expects once I graduate off the Letrozole next year, I'll continue on the Prolia a little bit to allow my bones to push back the osteopenia. (and then quit the Prolia too.) So essentially the last 4 years the Prolia has kept the Letrozole from eating my bones, so to speak.

  • ske510
    ske510 Member Posts: 1

    Hello Ladies,

    I am taking Letrozole and my oncologist wants me to take calcium. I have been taking citracal maximum plus d3. I am just learning that some of the ingredients in supplements are not so good. Red dyes yellow dyes.

    Can anyone recommend a good brand for calcium , multivitamin, and d3.

    Appreciate the input.😊

  • ctmbsikia
    ctmbsikia Member Posts: 735

    I've tried the Caltrate and it gives me a headache. My blood readings for calcium aren't over but are in the high 9's low 10's. I had my parathyroid hormone tested and that is not the cause of my osteoporosis,

    Had 1 Prolia shot, then insurance decided not to cover it. Just had a new dexa done and my hip went from -2.7 to -2.4 so back to low bone density. Spine went from -1.2 to -1.9. It says overall fracture risk in 10 yrs. is 18%. Hip fracture is @ 3.1%. Not sure if will be recommended anything medication or not? Will have new insurer and see both the MO and my GP early next year.

  • rah2464
    rah2464 Member Posts: 1,192

    Ctmbsikia my endocrinologist tells me that once you discontinue the prolia shots, you will lose any density increases you had. Thats why you have to stay on it once you begin that particular medication.

  • All-in-Black
    All-in-Black Member Posts: 1

    I was diagnosed with osteoporosis and osteopenia back in 2009. I was put on Boniva for 5 years and that didn't stop my bone loss. I decided to fight osteoporosis with weight bearing exercise. I now walk 4 miles almost everyday. I also started taking a bone-strengthening class in the Philadelphia area where I live, about 4 years ago. Thanks to covid, the classes are now available online for anyone to access, no matter where you are located. They are live on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:00am eastern time, but also available as a recording by the next day if the Tuesday-Thursday time slot doesn't work for you. There is a live, half hour chat after each live class to discuss questions and concerns. It's a wonderful, supportive community. You can just try one class and see what you think. There is also a community class available as a recording every Saturday for $5 which makes it more accessible, cost wise, for more people. Joanne Fagerstrom, a physical therapist for many years, is the teacher, and she is extremely committed to helping people fight bone loss and stay active their whole life. Because of people like me, who have been taking classes with her to build bone and are subsequently diagnosed with breast cancer, she will be running a “breast cancer and bone loss" workshop on June 18, 2022. It will be both on site in Philadelphia and have a remote hookup. I can't say enough about these classes (and look forward to taking the workshop in June). They make me feel empowered about my health for the first time ever. I was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer in July 2021, at age 69. I was lucky it was detected early from an annual mammogram. I had double lumpectomies in August 2021, and radiation in October 2021. Now, I am on Tamoxifen. My medical oncologist prescribed it over aromatase inhibitors due to my osteoporosis, for which I am grateful. I take Calcium citrate caplets (with magnesium) 666mg, 5000iu Vitamin D3, and about 200mg K2 daily. I am trying to stay away from bone loss medications. I feel that a healthy diet and exercise have done more for me than meds were able to do, without the risk of side effects. If you are interested in the bone strengthening class, here is the website: Joanne Fagerstrom also writes a monthly blog post about bone strengthening issues available for free on her website. You can also register for the Breast Cancer and Bone Health workshop scheduled for June 18, 2022 on the website now. Feel free to email her directly from her website, with questions and concerns. You will never meet a nicer person.

  • redhead403
    redhead403 Member Posts: 65

    The best supplements for calcium are organic like milk, spinach and other calcium rich foods. Many people don't understand that if you take too much calcium in the form of supplements, you can have calcifications in places that you don't want them. Like arteries, unfortunately. Anyway, just my thoughts

  • rah2464
    rah2464 Member Posts: 1,192

    Redhead - spinach can block calcium absorption. Kale is a better option.

  • lillyishere
    lillyishere Member Posts: 748

    Dairy products are not recommended for breast cancer patients even though I haven't given up on cheese :). One of the best brands is Pure Encapsulations. This brand is recommended by most homeopaths and naturopaths. They are very effective and from my experience, I take half a dose of what is recommended. It is expensive but lasts very long time.

  • homemom
    homemom Member Posts: 772

    How do you know if your calcium supplements are leaving deposits in your arteries etc? My Vit D was extremely low when I was diagnosed, so I take 1200 mg of Calcium with Vit D3 and 5,000 IU of Vit D3 (Thorne) daily.I also walked 4 miles 5-7 days a week at that time. I had osteopenia so my MO put me on a prescription once a week medication and it didn't really make much progress, so she put me on Prolia and my bones improved to barely having osteopenia. She took me off of the prolia, and the next time I had a scan, I had taken a step back and lost bone. So I'm back on prolia. Having to take AI for another 3 years, I'd like to do something else to increase bone mass.

    For a multi, I'm actually taking Nutrafol, a natural vitamin that is supposed to help with hair thinning. It also has Vit D3 in it. I showed it to my MO so she could give me the green light, which she did.

  • lillyishere
    lillyishere Member Posts: 748

    homemom, I was told by an oncologist nutritionist that we need 1200 mg of Calcium/day. This includes the food we are eating like dairy products. In my case, she recommended no more than 800mg/day because I take coffee with milk and also eat cheese or a cup of yogurt a day that makes up for the rest. Also, calcium taken as food is better absorbed and can't clog your arteries.

  • homemom
    homemom Member Posts: 772

    lillyishere I did learn a long time ago that vitamins from food is better absorbed into our bodies. I have the go ahead from insurance to consult with the nutritionist at the hospital, so I guess I will give them a call!

  • lillyishere
    lillyishere Member Posts: 748

    homemom, please let us know what the nutritionist suggests. :)

  • homemom
    homemom Member Posts: 772

    lillyishere will do!

  • homemom
    homemom Member Posts: 772

    I have a virtual appointment at 9am on April 27th. I'll update here what she says.