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Topic: Calcium supplements concern

Forum: Bone Health and Bone Loss —

Talk with others about bone density, osteopenia and osteoporosis, and ways to keep your bones strong

Posted on: Jan 9, 2018 09:36AM

NicolaSue wrote:

Hi All,

This topic might have been covered but I can't find it. I've been on calcium supplements for about 5 years (not for breast but for thyroid).

I've become aware of research that shows cardiac problems even at the relatively low dose of 500mg per day. Does anyone know what the latest medical thinking on taking calcium supplements is?

LCIS diagnosed Spring 2017. Vacuum excision biopsy. First follow up mammo 2018 - clear
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Jan 10, 2018 09:28AM Jelson wrote:

I had one lobe of my thyroid removed abt 28 years ago. I remember being told that my parathyroid on that side would be removed also and that post-op my calcium levels would be checked to make sure that my parathyroid on the other side was functioning, if not, then, in addition to levothyroxin, I would be taking calcium for the rest of my life. In my case, my calcium levels checked out and I have only been on the levothyroxin. When you have a total thyroidectomy both parathyroids come out too, because, even though they are completely different glands, they are located like right on the thyroids. Here are two articles that speak to how parathyroids are monitored after thyroidectomy, and the function of the parathyroids. I don't think you fall into the same category as people taking calcium as a supplement for their bone health. and I am not a medical professional, just interested in these little glands that I didn't even know existed until I had one removed. You should ask your doctor about in your particular case whether your prescription for calcium presents a danger to your heart.

Dx 4/17/2009, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Jan 23, 2018 10:13AM NicolaSue wrote:

They don't necessarily come out, but in many cases they are damaged unintentionally. In my case the parathyroids were not damaged but my calcium was still low hence I'm on supplements. There seems to be mixed evidence on whether supplements are damaging or not.

LCIS diagnosed Spring 2017. Vacuum excision biopsy. First follow up mammo 2018 - clear
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Mar 14, 2018 03:27PM peggy_j wrote:

Yes, there is a limit to how much total calcium you should get each day (check w/ your doc, but for pre-meno women, I believe the total target, including food, it 1200 mg. For post-meno, I believe it's 1300-1400 mg.) So if your diet is already high in calcium 500 mg may be too much. Also, taking a lot at once can be a problem. I've heard you should only take 500 mg at once or it can get stored in your veins or heart tissue. Maybe that's where you heard the 500 mg number. In practical terms, this means if you eat a meal high in calcium, you may want to take your supplement at another time of day.

Dx 2/2011, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 15, 2018 03:56PM NicolaSue wrote:

Very helpful. Many thanks.

LCIS diagnosed Spring 2017. Vacuum excision biopsy. First follow up mammo 2018 - clear
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Mar 15, 2018 04:24PM - edited Mar 15, 2018 10:33PM by chronicpain

1. Calcium is not given “for thyroid" per se, without more, but for hypoparathyroidism (associated with damage during thyroidectomy or autoimmune) or for osteoporosis/penia or prevention thereof, and in a few other scenarios.

Nicola, do you have hypoparathyrodisim, either from surgery or autoimmune? These are rare. In that case you need adequate calcium from diet or supplements, along with calcitriol (active 1,25 vitamin D) to maintain a low normal blood calcium (too much and there may be kidney stone risk in hypopara).


As for the controversy about cardiovascular risk with calcium in the usual scenarios, e.g., OP, affecting millions of people, the latest party line from bone experts like ASBMR and NOF, is there is no convincing evidence of risk, more the opposite, within limits of intake (and close to what Peggy said), though dietary calcium is preferable if possible. Calcium intake remains a mainstay of osteoporosis management as a building block for bone, balancing risk and benefit.

3. Here is a powerpoint for the hardcore. To cut to the chase, go to the last few slides showing conclusions. Of course, more research is always needed.



After a decade of autoimmune problems, Dx 10/2017 at age 63, IDC, Left, 9mm, Oncotype 13, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-, 11/22/2017 Lumpectomy, Arimidex. Declined radiation.
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Mar 16, 2018 10:26AM bluepearl wrote:

Calcium MUST be supplemented by MAGNESIUM. Magnesium "directs" where calcium goes and being low on it can make calcium deposits in arteries and breast etc. and not where it is supposed to be...bones. The big push for calcium forgot to mention this. Because Asians have low calcium consumption and do not suffer from thinning of bones, is perhaps because they eat a lot of foods with magnesium in it, which then directs the calcium into bones. Calcium is an electrolyte as well, and too much of it can harm the heart. Calcium Channel Blockers is a med used for lowering heart rate and blood pressure. magnesium is a natural calcium channel blocker but the electrolytes must be in balance for them to work properly. ReMag is probably a good bet but you can get cheaper versions. Also, Vit D binds magnesium up so you don't want to be taking loads of that.If you have kidney problems, then magnesium supplements must pass through your doctor's advice.

Dx 1/6/2011, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/12/2011 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left Dx 2/2013, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/10/2013 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right Hormonal Therapy 3/18/2013
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Mar 16, 2018 04:00PM wallycat wrote:

No study I know of shows benefit from calcium for bones or thyroid; possibly (and now debated) negative for arteries.

Dx 4/07 1 month before turning 50; ILC 1.8cm, ER+/PR+, HER2 neg., Stage 1, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes. Onco score 20, Bilateral Mast., tamoxifen 3-1/2 years, arimidex-completed 4/20/2012
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Mar 18, 2018 11:40AM NicolaSue wrote:

Thanks very much everyone - good advice. And CP thanks for the presentation. I will look over that tomorrow.

LCIS diagnosed Spring 2017. Vacuum excision biopsy. First follow up mammo 2018 - clear
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Mar 18, 2018 12:23PM Icietla wrote:

Bluepearl --

My latest (Stage IVB) diagnosis is almost certainly of another distant primary type. To the best of my information and belief, I am still apparently what we call NED as to breast cancer, doubtless thanks to Letrozole. Dx 2/12/2016, ILC, Right, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 0/13 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/19/2016 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Hormonal Therapy 4/1/2016 Femara (letrozole) Surgery 4/25/2016 Prophylactic ovary removal Dx 8/2018, Stage IV
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Mar 19, 2018 10:29AM NicolaSue wrote:

This seems to be a classic situation where the advice has changed over time. I'm in the UK and the advice I'm being given by one of our cancer hospitals is that calcium in the dose 500mg as a supplement is fine - more is not. I should mention that I've had a thyroidectomy so my need for calcium might be a little more than for most people.


LCIS diagnosed Spring 2017. Vacuum excision biopsy. First follow up mammo 2018 - clear

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