Anyone find calcium tablets difficult to stomach? - Bone Health

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Anyone find calcium tablets difficult to stomach?

Fruitandnutcase profile image

Has anyone found that taking calcium tablets doesn’t agree with them? I started taking Accrete D3 on Monday, each film coated tablet contains cholecalciferol 400IU and calcium 600mg ( as calcium carbonate 1500mg) and I take 2 a day. The excipients are hydrogenated soya-bean oil and sucrose.

I’ve felt a bit ‘off’ all week. First evening after taking them my skin felt prickly all over, as if I should have a rash but I didn’t. Next morning first thing I had diarrhoea like bowel movement. I laid off the calcium for the second day and felt ok apart from gut pains and a bit constipated, third, fourth and fifth days I took it again, less prickly still got gut ache and felt constipated only last night I woke up at 2.00am with indigestion. I wouldn’t say I’ve changed my diet in any way since starting the Accrete D3 so I really don’t think they agree with me.

I’ve always supplemented with D3 either in little oil filled capsules or D3 mouth spray so I can’t think it is the vitamin D.

I’m going to take my first alendronic acid tablet tomorrow morning so I’m glad I’ve spent this week on calcium and vitamin D tablets otherwise I would probably feel the alendronic was the culprit.

I don’t like milk and yoghurt - they make me feel a bit sick but my calcium levels were top of the range when I was tested recently and I'm finding more sources of calcium I do like in the ROS brochure.

Has anyone else found this? Are there other calcium tablet options?

18 Replies

Calcium tablets are now known to increase the risk of atherosclerosis & other health issues.

There are lots of non-dairy sources if you do a web search you’ll find lengthy lists of foods to choose from.

Don’t forget we also need magnesium, boron & vitamin K2 to direct calcium to our bones rather than our arteries.

Check side effects of alendronic acid, & see if there are natural ways that may suit you to improve your bone density with diet & some weight bearing exercise for your joints. Lots available online re this too.

I know, I’ve read masses of books and articles and I’m quite - well very- scared to take alendronic acid although I’ve discovered a huge number of people I know who quite happily take the stuff. Some take tablets and a few have infusions plus my own physio/Pilates teacher said if she had my DEXA readings she would definitely take the alendronic acid.

The trouble is that in my lifetime I’ve done so many of the things that ought to have helped my bones - I’ve always been really active, always exercised - walking, used a gym, done Pilates for about 20 years, eat well - lots of leafy green veg, nuts, seeds. The only thing I don’t like is milk and yoghurt- no matter how much I try I just can’t eat yoghurt. But I take cheese and cook with milk. My vit D is high as is my calcium.

I feel that as I’ve done and supplemented all the right things (apart from calcium) and still have osteoporosis then I can’t see that I can do much more to prevent it. Even my fracture liaison nurse said if I hadn’t done as much as I had this could have happened years ago. My wrist is ok and I’ve got a reasonable range of movement although I still have pain in the bone, but my plasters (I had three)were onto tight, I kept telling the plaster people / doctors that the skin on my wrist felt as if it was burning. First thing the doctor said when the plaster came off was ‘gosh your plaster was tight’.

So now although my wrist is getting better - it took about three weeks for the skin on my hand to stop feeling as if it was on fire - my fingers feel swollen and stiff and very painful, they feel like big fat sausages that won’t work properly, as if someone has transplanted someone else’s huge hand onto my wrist. The break, the manipulation and all that it entailed was and still is very painful I just don’t think I could face that again if natural methods don’t work.

I know I’m only going for the alendronic acid because the whole business has taken so much out of me - I had only recovered from a weird virus that laid me up from before Christmas until the Sunday after New Year when we went out for a walk then I broke my wrist the following Wednesday.

I’m 71 and normally a very optimistic, glass half full kind of person but for the first time ever I feel old, really old, it also means my January and February were a write off now we’re in self isolation. My year has been a disaster so far.

Excuse my grumbles I know there are other people who are much worse and infra more pain than I am, I think I’m just stressed about the diagnosis and now starting the alendronic acid tomorrow morning

What a horrible time you’ve had!

I hope the rest of the year improves & you stay safe from this virus!

So sorry to hear how you have been suffering with osteoporosis and other illnesses. Souds awful.You seem to be doing the right things to help osteoporosis.

I was on Alendronic acid for 5 years after which I had a dexa scan. My scoring had only very marginally improved. My gp advised me not to restart Alendronic . If it had made a different of 50/60% it would have been worth starting again. He had been to a recent conference where Alendronic was discussed and the consesus was that the risks and long-term side effects , which are not all yet known , outweigh the benefits.

His advice was to try exercise and calcium rich diet.

I don't want to put a damper on what seems like a last resort for you but wanted to let you know about my experience with Alendronic. I do hope it works for you . Take care.

I'm sorry you've had a difficult fracture recovery and are having an 'annus horibilis' so far. It's brilliant you have so many good habits in place already. I hope you get on with the treatment and things turn around for you. For everyone! Take care.

Thank you for your kind wishes - even before the coronavirus nightmare started (drama queen that I am) I was saying I had a very bad feeling for 2020 and that didn’t think I’d see the year out.

My husband just rolls his eyes when I say that but the year has been pretty horrible so far. I feel so OLD now - well I am old(ish) but I’ve never felt like that before. Takes a lot of getting used to. 😉

Stay safe everyone, hopefully once everyone gets the hang of staying in they will get this under control.

It's difficult to deal with a fracture and a diagnosis can be quite a shock. It can require immersion in a new health topic and difficult choices. But once you have a plan and get your treatment going, maybe things will calm down a bit and you'll feel more like yourself. I hope so. :)

I share your wishes that everyone stays well and the restrictions lessen the impact.

I cannot help you with what other calcium tablet to take but I no longer take the one I was on as I hated taking it. I chatted to my gp and he gave me a short form to complete whilst at the appointment which asked me about my diet and the gp agreed that I had enough calcium in my diet without taking the calcium tablet with Vit D. Now I am only prescribed D3 tablets.

That is really helpful Kaarina . Sounds just like what I'm finding. I think I’m going to go back to my own D3 /K2 for the time being. I’ll work out how much calcium I get in my diet - I didn’t think I was getting all that much until I saw the ROS guide to calcium and Vitamin D and discovered I was probably getting more than I thought and when I can finally make contact with my doctor - not easy at the moment with things the way they are - I’ll discuss it with her. Thank you.

Some kinds are much harder to stomach than others. A hard calcium carbonate tablet is probably the worst. I take calcium which is in a powder form in a capsule. I take either calcium citrate or calcium hydroxyapatite. Both are in a formula with other nutrients. I always have them with food. And I do take other supplements as well, including Vitamin K2 and magnesium, which will make sure the calcium actually heads to the bones, rather than settling where it will do damage, like the blood vessels or some organs. I take a bit of extra D3, in an oily capsule.

If your calcium level is already good you probably should consider taking a smaller dose. The body can actually only absorb about 400 mg in a single dose.

Think you’ve hit the nail on the head - that’s exactly what I’ve been given. Large, hard tablets, probably the cheapest the NHS has to offer. I’ve always taken them one with lunch one with dinner - and even that hasn’t helped.

I was taking separate K2 hard tablet and D3 in an oily capsule but I’m taking a K2/ D3 spray which offers the same amount of each at the moment and I take more D3 than there is in the horrible Calcium / D3 tablet that I’ve been prescribed.

Not sure what the difference is between Calcium and Adjusted Calcium but for someone who doesn’t eat much dairy food the results look like I’m not at the bottom of the range - I think, so I’m hoping that I can maybe increase my input through food. I’ve always been very wary of taking calcium, it’s not something I have ever supplemented.

Calcium2.54 mmol/L2.08-2.65 mmol/L

Adjusted Calcium2.57 mmol/L2.20-2.60 mmol/L

Thanks for your input.

I agree with HeronNS . I was originally put on the same dose as you which, after taking two tablets, is enough for the day without taking into account any other calcium intake. After working out my approximate dietary calcium levels I stopped the tablets (with my endo’s approval) although I do have some left and have been taking a half tablet occasionally when I know my level has been low for the day. Once they have gone I will look for some capsules to keep as a standby. My D3 is taken as a separate tablet as are the K2, magnesium and boron.

There are a gadzillion other calcium (carbonate) tablets out there, even TUMS. BUT, are you getting too much calcium - just as harmful to our bones as too little it's appearing. How much is too much?

Including food sources, I believe a healthy amount of calcium is between 400 and 900 mg/day (I lean heavily towards 900 mg/day). Those taking less, or more(!), have bone weakness it appears. See the U shaped graph at the 30 minute point of this geriatrician's youtube lecture:

(the link changes, the title's) Osteoporosis: A Balanced Perspective on How to Minimize the Risk of Fracture as We Age

I was on Accrete D3 for just over a week and had terrible problems with my gut. It caused me to have very bad IBS flare-ups and I stopped using it. I rarely eat any dairy produce, I use soya and almond milk in place of cow's milk and I eat cheese perhaps once or twice a month. I find that dairy produce causes bad IBS flare-ups. I now take powdered egg shells as a calcium supplement as I couldn't get enough calcium from the food I eat.

Fruitandnutcase profile image
Fruitandnutcase in reply to

Gosh, thanks for replying, it’s really interesting. You sound just like how I felt last week. Surprising that it can affect you as fast as that isn’t it. I’m so glad I started the Accrete D3 almost a week before I took my first alendronic acid this morning or I would have been sure it was the AA that was causing the problem.

I tend not to take milk at all although I’ve started to have a bowl of rice crispies and semi skimmed a couple of times a week and I’m ok on ice cream! When I looked at the ROS leaflet I realised that I was probably eating more than I thought I was.

in reply to Fruitandnutcase

The gp who prescribed me Accrete with AA, told me not to take both of the at the same time. She told me to take the AA for two weeks before starting the Accrete incase I had any side effects. They would know which of them was caused the side effects. As it happened I did have side effects with AA, an allergic reaction and had to stop taking that because I broke out in hives and then had the gut problems with Accrete.

I had a bad experience taking calcium supplements. It lasted for 8 months when I started the calcium, and when I stopped the calcium, the heartburn was gone and has not been back. Here is a post about my experience:

I have tried adcald3 same ingredients as you mentioned. They made me extremely thirsty drank excessively so of course urined bucketfuls and constipated/diahorreah so i quit them after a week!

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