Calcium Supplementation in Renal Patients

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The Importance of Calcium

According to the Healthy Life Journal, calcium is a very important mineral that is needed to keep bones and teeth strong. Additionally calcium helps regulate the environment of our cells, maintain good cholesterol, transmit nerve impulses and keep a healthy heart rhythm. National surveys have revealed that women take less than half of the recommended daily amount of 750 to 1,000 mg of calcium. It is one of the most neglected minerals. These alarming survey results mean that women are at a higher risk of muscle, bone, heart and lung problems.

Calcification and Renal Patients

The American Association of Kidney Patients website notes that the kidneys play a major role in regulating the amount phosphorus and calcium. One that is experiencing kidney failure, would be unable to rid their bodies of calcium that is not absorbed by the bones. Failing kidneys are also ill equipped to eliminate excess phosphorus in the body. High phosphorus levels lead to brittle bones and weak bones. This combination of calcium and phosphorus can lead to a process called calcification. This is when the two merge and form hard deposits in the body. Calcification can lead to heart disease, lung disease, severe joint pain and blocked blood flow.

Calcium Supplementation for Renal Patients

While calcium is a very important nutrient, calcium supplementation in renal patients should be monitored. Renal patients have to make sure that they don’t take too much calcium. Their needs are a bit restricted. The recommended daily calcium intake for a renal patient is 500-800 mg. Besides diet, renal patients can obtain calcium through over the counter drugs, dialysis, phosphate binders and mineral supplements. However, when kidneys decrease to a critical level, phosphate binders are also needed to “soak up” the phosphorus before it is absorbed in the blood so that it may pass through the bowel movements. Most doctors recommend that patients take a calcium free binder so that they may not go over their daily allotted intake of calcium.

Great care should be taken in monitoring the calcium supplementation in renal patients. High calcium intakes, in addition to high phosphorus levels in the blood, are linked to impaired circulation, heart failure, shortness of breath and painful joints. This calcification mirrors bone forming in your blood vessels or organs. High calcium also leads to low turn over bone disease. This is a condition where the bones can’t absorb calcium or phosphorus to make new bone.

Renal Patients and Diet

Renal patients are advised to inspect labels carefully, avoiding foods that are “enriched” or “fortified.” Avoid taking vitamins A and D unless prescribed by your doctor. When in doubt about anything, contact your doctor.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.


American Association of Kidney Patients: Are you Getting too Much Calcium?

Healthy Life Journal: The Importance of Calcium