Calcium supplements - continued - Gluten Free Guerr...

Gluten Free Guerrillas

10,085 members4,156 posts

Calcium supplements - continued

Whydothis profile image

I have been reading the replies to Narwhal with interest, and note that calcium carbonate is not a good idea.

I avoid any supplements generally, but I have wondered about taking a little calcium, vitamin D, and Vitamin K. I have just looked at the ones for sale on the Boots website, and found that the one called "Calcium + Vitamins D&K" is labelled as lactose free but not as gluten free - it contains maltodextrin. It also contains hydroxypropylmethylcellulose, which I can't cope with. The plain Vitamin D contains maltodextrin too, and says it is lactose free.

So - my question is - where to buy a suitable supplement?

21 Replies

Hi Whydothis,

You'd think that Boots would be the go-to place for good quality vitamins wouldn't you, but no........generally cheapest, least absorbable ingredients. I think Holland & Barrett are much the same.

I am taking D3 & K2-MK7. I can't take calcium because of heart implications, so, I'm eating yoghurt instead (which I don't like, but I like tinned sardines a lot less)

Lots of people use BetterYou mouth spray for D3, either with or without K2. I use Dr's Best softgels 2,000iu for D3.......just D3 & olive oil, the capsule is bovine gelatin & glycerin. I take them about x3 per week now my levels are up.

I use Vitabay 100mcg tablets for K2-MK7. I cut them in 1/4's because I read that 100mcg is sufficient for 10,000iu vit D., and because when I first took them I was on prescribed 20.000iu I took 2 tablets. Within 5 minutes my heart was racing (scared the living daylights out of me)....then I looked at reviews and saw that somebody else had exactly the same reaction. We live and learn. They probably aren't suitable for you because of the excipients but these Sports Research ones look like they might be.

"Vitamin K2 as Menaquinone-7 (MK7). Other Ingredients: Coconut Oil, V-gel Capsule (Tapioca, Vegetable Glycerin, Purified Water). These sports research vitamin supplement are vegan and gluten free"

Supplements are a bit of a minefield........some of them are such high doses, and I'm like you in that I want to take the smallest amounts that I can.

Whydothis profile image
Whydothis in reply to nellie237

Thank you very much for this detailed reply.Your comments about not taking calcium because of heart implications, together with following up links in other posts, as made me think twice about taking it at all! I don't have a heart problem, but my reading has led me to question the benefits from calcium. I do eat generous amounts of cheese and yogurt, and some tinned sardines and sesame seeds, so perhaps I am getting enough! My NHS dietitian has tried to frighten me into taking calcium though! (And she didn't even mention the need for it to include the vitamins it needs - so not much faith in this advice!)

For vitamin D I make sure I get plenty of sunshine, and I have started to buy mushrooms more often and to expose them to sunshine on the windowsill, as James Wong says they make vitamin D in their skin like we do and this will increase the amount in them. I also eat salmon and eggs - I wonder whether I can tell myself I am getting enough? At my last blood test, in March, my Vitamin D level was 73, with a healthy range of 50-120. Two years ago I was below range, but that was early in my GF diet, and it has steadily improved.

Then I have just looked up foods to eat for Vitamin K - and I find that green leafy veg are important for K1 - I eat plenty of those every day! Then for K2 liver and hard cheese are mentioned - I eat plenty of hard cheese, and occasional liver (for its iron content)

Perhaps I am wrong thinking I need supplements at all? You have helped me to start thinking more clearly about this!

nellie237 profile image
nellie237 in reply to Whydothis

"My NHS dietitian has tried to frighten me into taking calcium though! (And she didn't even mention the need for it to include the vitamins it needs - so not much faith in this advice!)"

Mmn, I received the same advice from the NHS dietician, but the Gastroenterologist said "No, diet & weight bearing exercise"

I would be pleased with the amount of calcium you are getting, and I believe that 73 nmol/L D3 is a pretty good result for somebody not supplementing. Mine is up from 22 at dx to 93. As with a lot of things, it would have been nice to know where I was at before autoimmune problems, but I'd never been tested before last year.

I read a study the other day looking at taking D3 & Calcium, and the conclusion was that taking both is more dangerous than taking either or.

I didn't know that exposing mushrooms to sunlight increased the vitamin D, that's a useful bit of info.

Apparently we used to get enough K2 from grass fed meat/ butter/cheese, but now that most cows are grain fed..............

If you decide to supplement Vit D, Monitor My Health are an NHS lab that do home finger prick testing for £29.

Hi Nellie237. Hope you’re doing ok?

I used the monitor my health lab test recently. Thyroid looking a lot better (touch wood). My vitD came out at 47 adequate.

I’m interested in the calcium vit D3 study you mentioned. Any link?


Hi Researchfan,

I am doing OK thankyou. I hope you are too.

Sorry, it wasn't something I wanted to keep a note of as I'd already made my mind up that I wasn't going to take calcium. It was a Pubmed article. I'll have a look later, and if I find it again, I'll post and tag you.

I used MMH last week for thyroid, at the same time as NHS testing. I wanted to see what my FT3 was doing, and I'm sure you know the NHS rarely test it. I was hoping that the phlebotomist would be able to fill the tube using the blood draw. She couldn't, but offered to do the finger prick, which I was pleased with, not because I'm squeamish, but I wanted them done at the same time.

It turned out that for only the 2nd time in 13yrs, my TSH was a bit low at 0.05, which prompted the NHS lab to test FT3 anyway.......sods law.

The results were different, although TSH was the at least I know what to expect in future. In case you're interested in the differences:-

NHS....FT4 20.9 (range 9.5 - 22.7)...................86.36% through range

MMH FT4 23.8 (range 12 - 22).......................118% through range

NHS...FT3 5.6 (range 3.5 - 6.5)........................ 70% through range

MMH FT3 5.2 (range 3.1 - 6.8).........................52% through range

Glad to hear that your thyroid is holding its own, and may it continue to do so. x

Thanks Nellie237!

You’re labs look pretty good 👍 . I wish they’d have the same ranges though don’t you?

My Tsh was 2.5 down from 5.1 last test. My ft4 was 15.2 up from 12. My ft3 was 3.1 (not tested before). Same ranges if I recall correctly! I do wonder if low ft3 explains fatigue easy but just guessing. The b12 and folate and iron and selenium I think is making a difference.


Yes, I agree it would be really helpful if they had the same ranges, but even if they did there is quite a big allowance for accuracy. I can't remember exactly what it was, but I if memory serves, it was in the region of 20% which shocked me.

I'm sorry, my labs look spectacular compared to yours. I have dropped my Levo a bit because those FT4 levels are a bit high for me.......constantly hungry, and a slight tremor in my hands, which is what prompted me to get tested.

Your FT3 scraping through the bottom of the range is dire , no wonder you are fatigued 🤗, and the FT4 at only 32% through range isn't good either. I hate to say this, but I think that you need to keep testing every few months. I sincerely hope that it sorts itself out and you don't end up on Levo. x

Thanks Nellie237!

I will keep an eye on it and test again in a few months. I appreciate your frank advice 🤗 .

Well wishes, keep up the good work!


Whydothis profile image
Whydothis in reply to nellie237

Thank you Nellie,I like the bit about "diet and weight bearing exercise" rather than supplements!

The K2 from grass fed meat and dairy is interesting. I do believe grass fed is generally better, and so lamb is my favourite red meat, as sheep are not kept intensively, even if they have a little cereal supplement in the winter. I buy organic dairy products for the same reason.

Then your study about calcium and D3 together not being good - it is a minefield!

Hi Whydothis not all maltodextrin is made from wheat and is classed as gluten free in the U.K. even if it is wheat based. Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose is plant cellulose used extensively as an egg replacer but it is very hydroscopic so it absorbs a lot of moisture as it’s like super roughage and it acts like a laxative for many people, including me.

I was given a calcium supplement as I have border line osteopenia but didn’t get on with it so I’ll be interested in the answers to your post. As I eat myself healthy and the osteopenia is still border line.

Here’s a link to the best gluten free vegan natural sources of calcium, please see:

Load bearing exercise is essential fir maintaining good bone health and density.

Whydothis profile image
Whydothis in reply to Jerry

Thank you Jerry,The reason I was concerned about the maltodextrin, besides knowing it can be made from wheat, is that these products are labelled as lactose free but not gluten free. I don't need to worry about lactose at this level - but when any manufacturer puts lactose free on a label without saying gluten free, I always assume it is not GF!

I certainly can't eat hydroxypropylmethylcellulose in foods - it is so laxative it makes me think I have been glutened! It seems to be in more and more products recently, so I make everything at home.

As you say, I believe in eating myself healthy usually, and even thinking about supplements is a new idea!

Your link doesn't seem to work, so I haven't looked at that yet, but I am not vegan, so I eat plenty of cheese and sardines as well as veg sources.

I agree with you about the weight-bearing exercise - I walk a lot, and I found this forum when I joined Couch to 5K last summer, so I am running a bit as well now.

Jerry profile image
Jerry in reply to Whydothis

Hey sorry about the link I’ve edited it and it works now.

I think they’re primarily labelled as lactose free as someone who is lactose intolerant will want that supplement.

Something to look out for is Maltitol as it’s used a lot in the generic supermarket supplements as Maltitol is an artificial sweetener made from wheat and is used as a baby laxative! It’s labelled gluten free because it will be way below codex.

So I read the ingredients of everything and I don’t get on with supplements very well. But food does the trick.

Whydothis profile image
Whydothis in reply to Jerry

Thank you for this. I do avoid anything with "malt" in its name!

Whydothis profile image
Whydothis in reply to Jerry

Thank you for renewing the link - it is an interesting and helpful read.

I buy online - Solgar Calcium Citrate with D3 and Solgar Magnesium Citrate. Take vitamin K in oil form, various options online. Have also read that boron is the missing bit of the bone building puzzle. Not sure if there is one supplement that has all these together and is of good quality, but it there was, that would be good. As Jerry says, it's the load bearing exercise you also need. Calcium does nothing much for bone density without weight bearing and weight resistance (gym work).

A lot of good advice on here.

Something I recently learned that ties in with this post (though a bit off topic), is that blue cheeses and mold-covered cheeses should not be allowed in a gluten free diet.

According to this Allergen Encyclopaedia page on gluten

It says penicillium inocula grown on bread and is “therefore thought to contain residual gliadin”.

This isn’t something I’ve heard before. Anyone else?

I’m still currently dairy free due to delayed allergy/igG intolerance. Dairy free milk alternatives are sometimes fortified with calcium and vitamins. Branded innocent coconut drink has added seaweed calcium which seems to be ok. And works well in hot drinks. The koko brand has added calcium in an absorbable form too but I’m not a fan of the added gums or ‘esters of fatty acids’ emulsifier for various reasons.

It’s sounds like you have a very healthy diet Whydothis, and personally wouldn’t be worried about supplement unless you are deficient. 🙂

Penel profile image
Penel in reply to Researchfan

Penicillium was traditionally cultured on bread but it’s grown on agar nowadays, as far as I know. I guess there might be a problem with artisan type cheeses?

Researchfan profile image
Researchfan in reply to Penel

I didn’t know that, thanks. I agree. guess it may vary by producer.

This is an interesting thought! My favourite cheeses are stilton, and a local Norfolk one called Binham Blue. I will have to look into this.

Interesting! Something to check.It’s not something I’ve considered or heard of before. Just read it on the Allergen Encyclopaedia.

Thank you to everyone who has replied. This discussion has made it all clearer in my mind. You have moved me on from "Which supplement to buy?" to "Do I really need supplements at all?"

I am currently re-reading "Life Without Bread" which is primarily about eating low carb, rather than about GF, but it emphasises getting micronutrients from food too.

I need some more thinking time, but I suspect I will end up deciding to rely on my diet!

You may also like...