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High Levels of Calcium in Blood and Urine Seen in Older Women Given Supplements — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
June 19, 2014

High Levels of Calcium in Blood and Urine Seen in Older Women Given Supplements

By Kelly Young

Edited by Susan Sadoughi, MD, and Lorenzo Di Francesco, MD, FACP, FHM

Hypercalcemia and hypercalciuria are common in older women taking vitamin D and calcium supplements, according to a prospective study in Menopause.

Roughly 150 postmenopausal white women who were insufficient in vitamin D were randomized to receive vitamin D3 (400–4800 IU/day) or placebo. In addition, all participants were given calcium citrate supplements based on their dietary calcium intake, with a goal of 1200 mg of calcium daily.

Over a year, 9% of women developed hypercalcemia, and nearly a third developed hypercalciuria, with little overlap between the two groups. There was no association between the dose of vitamin D and hypercalcemia or hypercalciuria. Both conditions were observed in women taking placebo plus calcium, leading the authors to caution that "even a modest calcium supplementation of 600 mg/day may be too high for some women."

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