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Increasing Calcium in diet for Osteoporosis

(111 Posts)
RedRidingHood Thu 21-Sep-23 15:56:25

I have osteoporosis and as well as bisphosphonates I was prescribed calcium and vitamin D supplements.
I'm reading more and more that there is a risk of the calcium affecting arteries and decided to see if I can get enough in diet alone.
calcium supplementation, but not dietary calcium, positively correlates with abdominal aorta calcification in postmenopausal women

I had a discussion with a specialist nurse at the Royal Osteoporosis Society and she said I would need 1.5g of calcium a day (which is quite a lot), plus you need vitamin D to help absorption.

I am going to try and really boost the calcium in my diet but could do with some tips.
I don't like tofu which is a shame as it's very rich in calcium. Not keen on cheese but can tolerate a little. I eat Greek yoghurt every day and use skimmed milk which is slightly higher in calcium than semi.

HeidiJoy2u2 Sun 24-Sep-23 11:29:43

Farmor15 - as a vegan, I concur. NASA found that the astronauts lost bone density and put them all on Cellercisers (check out Dave Hall) to strengthen. I bought one in July and am loving my rebounding sessions with light weights (not necessary but I like the resistance!) I bought one for my mother's 90th birthday and she does three 7-min sessions every day with great results including better balance. She even gave up her walker! Green juicing and eating lots of greens is her daily habit as well.

NemosMum Sun 24-Sep-23 11:33:03

I think it's important to realise that calcification of arteries only occurs where there's been damage, usually caused by thrombi (small or large blood clots) and that restricting your calcium intake is dangerous! Calcium is absolutely necessary for many processes in the body, not just repairing bone. Calcium is poorly absorbed from the gut anyway - you are unlikely to be able to overdose even if you sit and eat a box of school chalks! Take your Calcium & Vitamin. D, have your cheese/milk/youghurt and STOP WORRYING!

Sparklefizz Sun 24-Sep-23 11:35:42

Heidi I bought one for my mother's 90th birthday and she does three 7-min sessions every day with great results including better balance

Crikey! How is your mother's pelvic floor? My female GP advised against it for any post-menopausal women for that reason.

GrannySquare Sun 24-Sep-23 11:37:52

I am lactose intolerant so have avoided dairy for many years.

More recently, I have been scoffing Arla Lactofree products, particularly the cheddar cheese, soft cheese & milks, with no problems or symptoms of intolerance.

Readily available in UK supermarkets.

Katie59 Sun 24-Sep-23 11:44:12

Osteoporosis in older women is unlikely to be improved much taking calcium tablets they are not absorbed efficiently. The one treatment that that helps for most is HRT, it’s not a good idea to wait until osteoporosis is a problem because a fall or minor accident can crumble a bone causing pain.

Missiseff Sun 24-Sep-23 11:52:23

Just been diagnosed with osteopenia after a break. Am reluctant to take a supplement as already take 8 tablets a day. Don't exercise enough, never have done unfortunately sad

undines Sun 24-Sep-23 12:05:57

I understand that few of us are calcium deficient in a dietary sense, it's more about absorption. Most of us are deficient in Vitamin D though. It's always worthwhile getting your eating habits overhauled by a good naturopath, especially as we get older. What one person needs is not what another needs, meds have to be taken into account etc.

Youcantchoosethem Sun 24-Sep-23 12:08:15

I have been listening recently to the Zoe Science & Nutrition podcasts (they are free) and are really informative including about dairy and absorption, menopause and gut health and impacts of protein etc - well worth a listen. Or search Zoe science on podcasts. They are all world class scientists being interviewed and gives a lot of info - particularly the aging well one.

Vintagegirl Sun 24-Sep-23 12:12:06

I have been reading up on this topic for past 30 yrs back to days when HRT was popular. My understanding is that osteoporosis is a bone condition affecting metabolism of calcium rather than a deficiency. Calcium stores are laid down in youth and over the years that stock is 'turned over', being broken down and reabsorbed naturally. Medications for bone health depend on supplements of Calcium to accompany them. Despite diagnosis of condition 20 yrs ago, I have avoided taking drugs for same but explore other measures.

Glorianny Sun 24-Sep-23 12:23:58

I've been taking calcium and vitD supplements since I was diagnosed with osteoporosis 25years ago. I had some years on biophosphonates but stopped taking them and was given a "drug holiday" about 13 years ago when a scan showed only osteopenia. My last scan showed good bone density. I exercise regularly, I've done Tai chi for many years and took up Pilates in lock down. I very much doubt if any diet could have provided me with the levels of calcium and Vit D I needed.

cupcake1 Sun 24-Sep-23 12:29:18

I take the calcium/vit d chewable tablets each day so very interested in this thread as I really didn’t know it has the side affects mentioned. I started taking the alendronic acid tablets but had to stop as it caused pain in my jaw and made my joints worse. As soon as I did stop so did those symptoms. Did anyone else have this problem? I fell over and broke my wrist last January hence dexa scan and prognosis although already having had 2 hip replacements I was aware I had osteoporosis.

LJP1 Sun 24-Sep-23 12:48:29

Milk from outdoor cows, (and all butter, yogurts etc. from it) are the best for balanced calcium & vit D (they build healthy calves!). Mushrooms left in daylight for a day give vit D as does light (even when cloudy - walk). Supplements have little real evidence of advantage unless you are very low indeed. But the only time when you can use calcium optimally is during childhood and adolescence - which is why babies & children should be fed full fat milk (vit D is fat soluble).

Reduced fat products reduce vit D and predispose to osteoporosis, hence the prevelance now as the generation focused on using semi-skimmed & low fat productes are passing middle age (We don't lay it down so easily then.).

luluaugust Sun 24-Sep-23 13:10:26

I was diagnosed after a fall and took Alendronic Acid for close on 5 years. I now take Calcium Citrate and Vitamin D. during lockdown I had a break and took to full cream milk, cream, cheese etc and unfortunately after a visit to the GP I am being told my Cholesterol is very high. Some Statins have had a disastrous effect on my hearing. It is all a balance and difficult in later years to get right. My Osteoporosis is hereditary although I wasn't aware of this until late in the day when my mother talked about family history.
I also took part in a test involving K1 and K2 and have just lately heard the results which seemed to show that they made little or no difference.

Shwez Sun 24-Sep-23 13:16:28

Hi you need to take K2 along with D3 . The K2 takes the calcium and puts it in your bones

cc Sun 24-Sep-23 13:28:34


I used to get kidney stones from time to time and they told me to avoid taking calcium tablets. That was in the 1980s so I don’t know if that would still be the case.

I think it depends on the type of stones so it might be worth taking advice or at least looking? My DIL had them (genetically predisposed) and the first specialist she saw said not to bother about her diet, but later at the specialist unit she was told that in her case she should limit her animal protein intake.
I've found a site that looks as though it gives reputable advice:,sure%20you%20get%20enough%20protein.

Milest0ne Sun 24-Sep-23 14:00:54

I used to buy calcium and vit D capsules from Boots. On reaching 60 I asked my doctor if he could prescribe them. Capsules were not available on his list so he gave me tablets, then powders then liquid. It was as though I was eating concrete. After reading comments on this thread I think I need to do some more research.

Harris27 Sun 24-Sep-23 14:25:01

Been reading this and explains a lot. I’ve been having upset stomachs after taking calcium and magnesium tablets think this might be it.

Harris27 Sun 24-Sep-23 14:25:56

Also had kidney stones last year and don’t want them again!

Marydoll Sun 24-Sep-23 15:01:57

I have had osteoporosis for nearly forty years. I have on and off alendronic acid tablets and now infusions + Adcal for that amount of time. My body doesn't retain Vit D, so every so often, I am prescribed a top up.
I have had numerous heart scans and my arteries are totally clear. No sign of calcium build up.
My cardiologist says that is down to my healthy diet.
I also have RA and people with RA have a tendency to also have osteoporosis too.

Glorianny Sun 24-Sep-23 15:02:15

There is a lot of misinformation on this thread about nutrition and bones. For anyone wanting to know more I recommend the ROS website about nutrition.*1c33x5z*_up*MQ..&gclid=Cj0KCQjwvL-oBhCxARIsAHkOiu22LIkgEsXJE8ccObanO3CtolKlLJRfw2-HgrHXt5kzVoYiK9N2OXsaApVfEALw_wcB
One of the surprising things is that saturated fats can actually cause harm to your bones.

M0nica Sun 24-Sep-23 15:02:31

LPJ1 The amount of calcium in a pint of milk is unchanged whether you drink whole milk or skimmed milk. The amount of calcium in butter is low compared with that in milk or cheese so your comments in your last paragraph Reduced fat products reduce vit D and predispose to osteoporosis are inaccurate.

Certainly Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin but the average human body contains enough fat so that even a low fat diet should not stop your body absorbing enough vitamin D.

Celia1475 Sun 24-Sep-23 15:10:59

I understand figs are a good source of calcium and potassium which is beneficial for bone health

HettyBetty Sun 24-Sep-23 15:11:03

I use a lot of oat milk which is fortified with calcium, as is vegan yogurt. Tahini is very rich in calcium too, I have a couple of spoonfuls (spoonful?) every day as well as a Vitamin D tablet.

My bones are apparently excellent for a vegan who is at risk of osteoporosis.

Celia1475 Sun 24-Sep-23 15:11:52

I understand figs are an excellent source of calcium and potassium which is good for bone health

Marydoll Sun 24-Sep-23 15:47:11

I attend a bone mineral clinic and prefer to take the advice of my clinicians, rather than self medicate.
However, I do try to have a healthy diet on top of the medication. Comorbidities make exercise difficult, which is a pity, because that also helps good bone health.