Whining about bone pain & calcium supplements

I’m typically not a whiner.  At least, I don’t consider myself a whiner, and I hope no one else does.  But, my legs have been hurting me for about six months, and it’s wearing on me.

Here’s the deal:  After I found out that I had celiac disease, I found out that my chronic deep bone pain was likely from the fact that my body wasn’t absorbing calcium well, and since the body needs to maintain a certain level of blood-calcium, it was likely sapping it from my bones, leading to lowered bone density and deep bone pain.  I used to hurt, nonstop, from my lumbar down to my knees.  For the last five years, I’ve been careful to maintain my calcium intake, usually supplementing with calcium citrate.

But…  I’m in a season where I just can’t give my body enough calcium, and it’s hurting my bones.  I’m still nursing my 16mo baby, my body is still repairing the holes in my jaw from oral surgery in February, and I broke my toe.  All of those things lead to my body needing extra-extra-extra calcium.  However, one has to be careful about calcium supplements, because too many of them can lead to the neutralization of acid in the stomach, and too little stomach acid leads to other digestive problems, which I certainly don’t need.

In addition to my regular diet, which does provide some calcium, I’m trying to take at least 1500 mg of calcium daily, but it’s just not enough.  I’ve tried to take more supplements than just the 1500 mg, but then it messes with my stomach.

Ugh.

OK.  That’s enough complaining.  If anyone has some suggestions, I’m open to ’em!!

P.S.  I have tried lots of different forms of calcium, besides the citrate, which are in tablet form.  I’ve tried bone meal, Crystal Calcium by KAL, and liquid calcium citrate. 

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About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on August 14, 2007, in Celiac Disease, Digestive Woes, Medical Stuff, Whining. Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. (((Karen)))

    So sorry you are in pain. I only get that when I’m pregnant and then just up the intake so I’m sorry I can’t be of any help. The only other thing I can suggest is my new fave…acupressure. I don’t know how well it would work for something that is a vitamin/mineral deficiency but for most of my pains that haven’t been helped by increasing my intake of supplements acupressure has eliminated most.

    I’ll be praying you will find some relief soon.

    Sara

  2. Here’s a link with a list (see the bottom of the link, since the foods at the top are dairy) of foods that are high in calcium.

    http://ag.arizona.edu/maricopa/fcs/bb/highCalciumFds.html

    Hope this helps.

  3. One more thing, since misery loves company. 🙂 I tend to have the same problem, but in regards to iron. I can’t get enough in regular iron supplements and have to take the food-based ones. They just absorb better.

    I totally understand your problem, and with the nursing, it just complicates things. But maybe eating the calcium in the vegetables will help.

    • I am 50 and have been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers. In addition to that I have severe bone pain. I have had this bone pain for years. It seems to be getting worse. Any ideas?

  4. Sara ~ Thanks for the tip! My chiro does accupressure, too… I think next time I’m in to see him, I’ll ask about that.

    Melissa ~ Thank you for that list!! That rocks!! Other than the dairy, I already eat a lot of those foods; it’ll be simple to increase a few of them.

  5. hey everybody// research magnesium… my chiro put me on it and its improved my bone pain (i too have celiac) for calcium you have to have a certain amount of magnesium. or you become magniesium deficiant. I am 34 and 104. it was awful could not get to bathroom alone. One week on magneisum and i’m rock n and rollin

  6. how much magnesium did he put you on?

  7. Have you tried Isotonic supplements? They are absorbed by the blood stream immediately upon taking. Have helped me tremendously. This company can even use your DNA to create a customized supplementation program. The best I’ve ever taken and have helped me tremendously with numerous health issues.

  8. I used to have this pain in my body along with just being very cold. I took vit d. It cleared up that problem.

    • Lena, thanks for the tip. The last six months or so, I’ve been taking Vit D (2000 IU), rather sporadically, because it seems I can’t do anything with 100% consistency… and it was just yesterday that I noticed that I haven’t had bone pain in quite a while… a few months or so! I never put the two together, but perhaps that’s it!

      • A year and a half ago I developed a lumbar spine problem that has caused enormous pain, severely limited my activities and has forced me to cut my work schedule way back.

        Last fall, I developed severe pain that seems to run down my forearms and calves. In addition, occassionally I had a peircing pain in the middle of my forearm or calf. Then I started developing pain in my hands and muscle weakness. I found myself practically crawling up the stairs.

        A blood test showed low D and phosphorus. After 4 months of high doses of vitamin D, my legs, arms, and hands are doing better. I had also been taking calcium supplements, but I have not been as religious with taking those lately and today I notice a return of some of the pains. I will go back to taking those very regularly.

        I came across a website today that I am going to look into further, but my bone density scans were good so I doubt it applies.
        http://parathyroid.com/osteoporosis.htm

        • Just curious, what sort of doctor diagnosed you as low in D and phosphorus? And did you make up your own protocol, or are you following doctor’s advice? 🙂 I myself tend to do a mix of what is recommended and following my own supplement path…

          • Google “Vitamin D3 at 5,000 IU Improves Immune Function and Bone Health Says Dr. Angela Agrios” and watch the short youtube video.

            Personally, I started taking vit d about a month back to address some ailments (but I haven’t seen a doctor or had blood work, fwiw), and it really helped me (but in very large doses, 50K+, on days where I stress a lot my damaged heel.. otherwise lower doses not too much higher than 5K are fine). I work at night and got an injury, all pointing to a lack of vitamin d.. which thank goodness I finally realized. Remember that you need to take other minerals as well (I eat sesame seeds primarily and broccoli or other).

            Google “MS, Vitamin D and Viruses” and see youtube video that mentions (about half way through) a study of MS patients placed on 40,000 IU for an entire year.

            Vitamin D is an “enabler” at the DNA level and is used by many types of cells and impacts up to 2000 different genes. It’s like a ticket that the body requires in order to perform other things that help it stay healthy. And once enabled once, you surrender that ticket. This is why if you are sick, you can use up a lot more vitamin d vs when you are healthy.

            Some more youtube videos
            “Vitamin D Prevents Cancer: Is It True?”
            “Dr. Michael Holick – Vitamin D Linked to Gene Expression”
            “Vitamin D: Nutrient, Not A Drug”

            • I have been taking 5000 IU it D3 for… about a year or so. I hadn’t thought of it recently, but my bones are significantly less painful. You’re probably right about them being connected!

              • [I know this comment is long, but it might be useful in the future or to someone googling.]

                I have gained much appreciation for those living with disabilities and for Vitamin D. One group in particular that “worries me” are the many bed ridden in hospitals, especially with “terminal” sicknesses, including elderly. How many people would have recovered or lived longer and with less pain if vitamin d was better appreciated? I do wonder. [The vid links from earlier and other vids online show the very recent research that suggests optimal vitamin d levels have a tremendous positive effect on cancer, diabetes, pain, and many other illnesses. These levels currently accepted as optimal are > 40ng/mL, aka, 100nmol/L. Most view much lower levels as normal.]

                Some observations I have made about my body:

                — surprise injuries have occurred (a) at the end of Winter (when vitamin D is lowest) and (b) after avoiding the mid day sun for weeks.

                — Vitamin D “overdose” gets rid very fast of chest pressure discomfort/pain, skipped heartbeats, related sleeping discomfort and inability to sleep. These came (I suspect) with low blood levels of d. These issues coincided with the foot injury, and the recurrence is what led me to try vitamin d. Body would be inefficient/fail with very little vitamin d. I also suspect Multiple Sclerosis is one necessary outcome from prolonged pains and problems from a lack of d. Fortunately, research suggests it can potentially get cured to a large degree when d levels go up.

                — When your vit d levels (I suspect) are very low, vit d supplements of several thousand IU without a large accompanying meal cause some potentially sharp nerve pains, especially around chest area and arm (left principally). I have a theory for why this is. Good news is that this disappears as the blood level rises after several days or weeks of supplements. I think it has to do with long nerves that touch low d blood as well as high d blood from the initial onrush of d as it leaves the stomach and then liver and goes to the heart. Vit d would trigger ion flows and if the “voltage” across different nerve points is too large and past some threshold (eg, high in chest getting the liver blood but low further away from this chest area), this would trigger the occasional zap/pain. Well, that’s the theory. I noticed this even when getting lots of sun and then came inside. In the big scheme, this is good pain because it means you are on your way to fixing the other problems from deficiency. Also, you can soften the effect with extra fat in the meal. The effect was particularly noticeable (for me) from 4000 softgels taken with almost no food.. it would take only a few minutes. [Note, I think some fat is necessary for the vit d to dissolve and be taken up in the intestines, but more fat dilutes the rate.] Taking a high IU dosage tends to increase how long the periodic recurrences last but not the intensity. This pain can be very uncomfortable and even scary. You can also lower the pain by moving around and burning some fat (since this releases extra vit d and more evenly around body).

                — A diet high in calcium and phosphorus or other minerals (eg, both lots of dairy as well as seeds, nuts, beans, whole grains) + calcium supplement seems to create sensitive pressure point pain at bones (and even slight metallic taste in mouth and feeling almost as if illness is coming). I noticed this each of the few times I took a calcium supplement and when I was eating primarily those foods in bunches for days. I would single out phosphorus (which frequently is not on labels) and calcium. I don’t have enough data points for this, but I have noticed the improvement after removing these from my plate (after a day or two). You need the minerals, but too much is bad. The feeling is uncomfortable, so I would not recommend too much of these minerals. I have not much experienced “deep bone” pain, which might be because of too little calcium, so this particular problem may not be a problem to people who do need supplements. The heads up is that bone pain related to calcium may occur not just if you have too little calcium but too much.

                — Walking on hurt heel “uses up” lots of vitamin d (vs walking on forefoot only or avoiding walking), and having that vitamin d in there really does help. Thankfully, we get (in addition to energy) vitamin d from our fat cells when the blood levels drop enough and as fat is consumed. I may have a slight fracture in the heel area (I have not seen a doctor so don’t know). Repeat stress without supplements would likely ultimately make me very sick from very low vitamin d. I noticed this from an online paper: “Vitamin D insufficiency is also more common in patients with low trauma fractures than age-matched control subjects”. BTW, how do I know that walking on heel uses up vitamin d? Well, I use the chest pains as a marker. When I walk on heel some (or a lot on good days), I reach that point much more quickly and require a lot more IUs to keep by chest OK. This movement into and out of chest issues is why I think I have low vitamin d levels even after at times taking over 50,000 IU per day (for the past few weeks) and even though I have not gotten a blood analysis. Vitamin d works like magic if you take enough of it. I just judge based on how I feel if my daily activities are presumably consuming little vitamin d or a lot. And when you are in a “low d” state, even talking out loud for a while creates very perceptible increases or onset of pain. [umm, I tend to talk to myself more than perhaps is normal.]

                Despite improvements in dealing with heel trouble, the primary benefit I noticed from vitamin d was in taking away the various chest area problems (pain, pressure discomfort, hard to sleep/breath, heart beat abnormalities, etc). Vitamin D is needed by lots of cells to carry out their normal work and defenses. Without it some cell action may come to a stand still or at least be much more inefficient. BTW, most people would stay off feet for one or more weeks, but that has not been an option for me (self-employed, and need to move around as part of work).

                [Again, sorry for the length and lack of focus, but thanks for letting me post.]

  9. great points altogether, you just received a new reader.
    What could you suggest in regards to your publish that you
    made a few days in the past? Any positive?

  10. Vitamin K2 is supposed to assist calcium absorption into the bones. Otherwise it just floats around in your blood stream hardening your arteries. So if your bones don’t have enough calcium even with supplements, it’s probably not because you need mega doses of calcium, but because you’re vitamin K2 deficient.

  11. Have you had your calcium level checked? Anything above 10 indicates parathyroid disorder which one of the main symptoms is deep bone pain.

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