Combining vitamin D and calcium supplements is an efficient way to support bone health and prevent or treat osteoporosis. Scientists from Netherlands report in the scientific journal “Best Practice and Research. Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism” that vitamin D stimulates absorption of calcium and can increase bone mineral density. However, big doses of the above nutrients can result in constipation, along with other digestive and neurological disorders. Consult your doctor before taking any supplements.
Vitamin D and Calcium
Vitamin D absorption in the gut triggers the absorption of calcium. Both vitamin D and calcium are of paramount importance for bone metabolism. The synergistic effect between these two nutrients plays an important role in maintaining bone health. As long as you keep your daily intake for both nutrients within the recommended doses, you can enjoy the full health benefits they have to offer. However, big doses of calcium, vitamin D or both can result in abnormally high levels of calcium in your blood, a condition also known as hypercalcaemia.
High Blood Calcium Levels
Many conditions can raise your calcium blood levels. The U.S. National Library of Medicine reports that adrenal gland failure, kidney failure, certain types of cancer and hyperthyroidism can cause hypercalcaemia. Excessive amounts of vitamin D or calcium can also cause your calcium levels to rise. Constipation is an important symptom of this condition; loss of appetite, abdominal pain and peptic ulcers are also common. Neurological symptoms include confusion, dementia and memory loss.
Constipation is defined as infrequent bowel movements, usually combined with difficult passage of stools. If you visit the toilet less than three times per week and your stools are hard and dry, you are probably suffering from constipation. Except for big doses of vitamin D and calcium, there are more factors that can cause an intestinal slowdown, such as inadequate amounts of fiber and water in your diet, irritable bowel syndrome, lack of exercise as well as certain medications.
In the case of constipation caused by big doses of vitamin D and calcium supplements,stop taking your supplements and reduce your dietary calcium intake as well. On top of that, simple lifestyle changes, such as getting more exercise, drinking more fluids and eating a high-fiber diet, can help alleviate constipation faster. The Harvard School of Public Health reports that while vitamin D be toxic, it takes massive doses of the vitamin to get to those levels. You may be in greater risk if you have existing liver or kidney problems or if you take a thiazide-type diuretic, according to the Cleveland Clinic. If your constipation persists, despite the above corrections, consult your physician. Also, symptoms such as blood in the stool, intense abdominal or rectal pain, and unexplained weight loss should be addressed by your doctor as soon as possible.
Inform your physician before you start taking any vitamin D or calcium supplements. Staying within the recommended daily allowance for both calcium and vitamin D can protect you from any adverse effects. The Linus Pauling Institute recommends 600 international units of vitamin D and 1,000 milligrams of calcium for healthy adults per day. Women should increase their calcium dose to 1,200 milligrams after the age of 50 and men after 71 years old. Similarly, the vitamin D recommended dose for seniors older than 71 years old is 800 international units.
- Best Practice and Research. Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism: The Effect of Vitamin D on Bone and Osteoporosis
- PubMed Health: Hypercalcemia
- Cleveland Clinic: Hypercalcemia
- Harvard School of Public Health: Vitamin D and Your Health
- Linus Pauling Institute: Calcium
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin D
- NHS.uk: Constipation: Causes