Calcium overdose - Too much calcium

Mar 2014   Too much calcium and calcium overdose
Calcium is an essential dietary mineral required for many body functions, including the building of skeletal structure.
Too much calcium intake in the form of supplements, antacids and fortified foods can result in overdose. Natural food sources do not cause overdose conditions. High doses of vitamin D can lead to excess calcium absorption from the intestines.

The gastrointestinal tract normally limits the
. Frequent high dose intravenous administration of the mineral can also result in overdose. Hypercalcemia is one of the several overdose effects. Some of the side effects associated with too much intake are, stomach ache, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, formation of kidney stones, polyuria, giddiness, headache, irregular pulse, hypertension, neuromuscular Dysfunction and coma.

Possible causes of calcium overdose

Accidental or intentional intake of too much of calcium exceeding the upper tolerance levels (over 2,500 milligrams) in the form of supplements, syrups, antacids or fortified foods can cause many serious health problems.
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Use of thiazide diuretics can increase the levels of the mineral in the body. Parathyroid gland disorders and sarcoidosis increase the level of the mineral in the blood.
Supplement overdose
Pediatric supplements in the form of tablets and syrup should be out of reach of children. As they are made palatable by addition of sweeteners and flavoring agents young children may overdose themselves.
Too much of antacids
Frequent and too much use of antacids containing the mineral can lead to high levels of calcium build up in the body and cause milk alkali syndrome.
Too much vitamin D
For efficient absorption of the mineral in the intestine, adequate levels of vitamin D is essential. Too much intake of vitamin D can lead to increased absorption of the mineral.
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Symptoms of calcium overdose

Many of the symptoms of hypercalcemia are seen in cases of too much intake of the mineral. In chronic cases kidney stones may be formed. The normal renal function may get affected and lead to kidney failure. Some of the symptoms are:
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
  • Headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Coma
  • Muscle pain
  • Bone pain
  • Weakness
  • Polyuria (frequent urination)

Treatment for calcium overdose

Medical attention must be sought in cases of consumption of too much of the mineral. Treatment starts with stopping of supplements of the mineral and gastric lavage is done. If the supplement has been taken recently, stomach may be emptied to remove the remaining unabsorbed mineral.

1.Vatanparast, H., D. A. Bailey, A. D. Baxter-Jones and S. J. Whiting. 2010. Calcium requirements for bone growth in Canadian boys and girls during adolescence. British Journal of Nutrition: 1-6.
2.Khosla, S., S. Amin and E. Orwoll. 2008. Osteoporosis in men. Endocrine Reviews 29(4): 441-64.
3.Harwood, R. H., O. Sahota, K. Gaynor, T. Masud and D. J. Hosking. 2004. A randomised, controlled comparison of different calcium and vitamin D supplementation regimens in elderly women after hip fracture: The Nottingham Neck of Femur (NONOF) Study. Age and Ageing 33(1): 45-51.
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Too much calcium and overdose.

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