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What Is Calcium Toxicity and Hypercalcemia?

Written by Dr. Group, DC Founder
Garlic can help with hypercalemia and other health issues such as calcium toxicity.

In some ways, a healthy human body can be likened to a fine-tuned, quality engine. A solid engine is more than mechanically sound, it has also been given the proper fluids and fuels necessary to operate. It might have gas, but without oil, there will be concerns. Conversely, adequate oil and inadequate gas is also a recipe for disaster. Your body is similar, it needs calories (fuel) for operating energy, but it also needs quality calories with certain vitamins, minerals, and nutrients in the proper proportions. Often times we hear about malnutrition and not getting enough vitamins and minerals, but what happens if you get too much? Can that be bad? Natural or not, many things do have an upper limit and calcium is no exception; too much can, in fact, be detrimental.

What is Hypercalcemia?

Hypercalcemia is a condition that is defined by having too high of calcium levels in the blood. Hypercalcemia can originate from several sources. It is certainly possible to experience hypercalcemia by consuming too many calcium supplements, and certain diseases can also lead to high calcium levels in the blood, but the vast majority of the time, hypercalcemia the result of thyroid dysfunction, a condition known as hyperparathyroidism. The parathyroid gland produces the hormones that regulate calcium in the body. If those hormone levels are out of whack, calcium can be released from the bones into the blood. This will weaken the bone structure and can cause other concerns too. Symptoms of hypercalcemia include lethargy, mental imbalance, weakness, dehydration, constipation, nausea, diarrhea, and even heart arrhythmia. [1] When chronic constipation is associated with thyroid disorders, it is often attributable to hypercalcemia. [2]

Calcium supplements that contain calcium citrate and calcium carbonate are not very efficient and, by some estimates, only 1-2% of the calcium in these forms will ever even reach your bones. Much of it is cast off into soft tissues throughout the body to form calcium deposits and even calcium phosphate shells around nanobacteria, which are then protected against the body’s immune response. This may lead to chronic irritation and plaque formation.

Calcium Incognito

Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease that can present non-specific symptoms and be hard to identify. Symptoms can appear intermittently and vary greatly; they might include nausea, vomiting, indeterminate abdominal pain, constipation, and kidney failure. Calcium intoxication symptoms are similar and sarcoidosis has often been confused with hypercalcemia. [3]

Hypercalcemia is a factor in 10% to 20% of cases of advanced cancer and considered, at that point, to be an emergency. Symptoms include intestinal concerns symptoms including nausea, vomiting, and constipation. These indications can be tricky to identify, as they are also common side effects of chemotherapy. If left untreated, coma and death can result, according to the Department of Solid Tumor Oncology at the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute. [4]

Research performed by the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City showed that hypercalcemic symptoms such as abdominal pain and constipation have been observed in persons who have Williams Syndrome. [5]

Supplementing with Calcium

When you're experiencing calcium deficiency, be sure to supplement intelligently. Your first course of action should be to incorporate more calcium laden foods into your diet, like low-mercury fish, kale, collards, garlic, spinach, okra, and other vegetables. Dietary calcium really is the best source. If you're unable to meet your calcium requirements through food sources, I advise supplementing with calcium orotate. Calcium orotate is better absorbed by the body than other types of calcium supplements and when taken as directed, extremely unlikely to cause hypercalcemic complications.

References (5)
  1. Bartels O. [Cardiovascular emergencies--endocrine and metabolic crises. Practical hints for the physician in emergency service]. Fortschr Med. 1982 Jul 22;100(27-28):1283-8. German.
  2. Ragno A, Pepe J, Badiali D, Minisola S, Romagnoli E, Severi C, D'Erasmo E. Chronic constipation in hypercalcemic patients with primary hyperparathyroidism. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2012 Jul;16(7):884-9.
  3. Kuhn M, Widder W, Gartmann J, Hartmann G. [Acute hypercalcemia syndrome in sarcoidosis]. Schweiz Med Wochenschr. 1985 Sep 28;115(39):1365-7. German.
  4. Legrand SB. Modern management of malignant hypercalcemia. Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2011 Nov;28(7):515-7. doi: 10.1177/1049909111414164. Epub 2011 Jul 1. Review.
  5. Morris CA, Leonard CO, Dilts C, Demsey SA. Adults with Williams syndrome. Am J Med Genet Suppl. 1990;6:102-7.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.


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