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Steady need for calcium. What causes this?


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#1 enjoytheride

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 05:09 PM

I find that I need calcium several times a day to not feel weak and tired. I was taking calcium pills but that caused a stoppage in my intestines so I try to have 8 oz of milk 4 times a day.

If I miss one every few days, I'm usually OK but if I miss even one on a couple of days in a row, I really feel it.

The rheumatologist I saw said that I was imagining it (she was great otherwise) then said sort of bemused that her mother said the same thing.

Anyway, why would this be so? I don't know the calcium holding mechanism but it might be helpful to get an idea if others find this to be true too.

#2 Jeannie McClelland

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 03:54 AM

Hi Enjoy,

Are you sure it isn't the protein in the milk that's making you feel better? I get 'protein hungry' if I don't pay attention to my diet. A lot of times I'm kind of off meat (I'm sure that's all in my head~ :P )and if I don't get enough protein from other sources I go a little on the wobbly side. Then it's time for a glass of milk, a piece of cheese, or maybe an apple with peanut butter on the slices. That last is messy but wonderful.

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Jeannie McClelland
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International Scleroderma Network

#3 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 04:51 AM

Hi Enjoy,

Please keep in mind that I'm not a doctor nor a nutritionist and I don't even have a current First Aid Certificate. On top of that, I may be wrong -- I often am! -- and if you don't believe me, you can ask anyone around here, they'll be glad to verify that. :(

I suppose you may want to consider things like, why did you start taking calcium supplements in the first place? Did your doctor find that you were deficient in calcium? And did you take the calcium all by itself or along with other vitamins or minerals? Also, if it caused significant constipation, I'd think that would probably drag you down a bit rather than pep you up.

I always have to keep in mind that my reactions to anything could be merely a coincidence. Like, perhaps I started taking a certain vitamin the same day I began going for a little walk outside, or taking a nap, or resolving a difficult issue of some sort, or just experiencing that natural waxing and waning of the illness. So, I tend to always have a good measure of doubt about exactly what caused any improvement, and why.

They find so often with scleroderma clinical trials that our response to placebos is just as strong as the response to the treatment they are trying, that they are sure they've found a cure for scleroderma (or at least a treatment) until the study is unblinded and they discover we had improved just as well on placebo.

With scleroderma, the general recommendation is to not take any excessive amounts of any vitamin or mineral unless directed to do so by our scleroderma expert. That is because many things that are great for healthy people might well have a different effect on us. But, a few glasses of milk are not excessive and may contain many things other than just calcium that your body needs.

Anyway, do continue doing whatever makes you feel good. But try not to read too much into an extra glass of milk. I'm not able to have any milk products now, but in my younger days, I can guarantee you, if milk could make me feel better I should have been on top of the world as it was one of my most favorite foods ever. Whereas, just the opposite of your experience, I felt lots better after I found that I was sensitive to both gluten and casein (a protein in milk) and eliminated them entirely from my diet.

Even then, I did have to experiment a few times to prove to myself (on top of the medical test results) that this did, indeed, have an adverse affect on my health. And oh my, what fabulous experiments they were -- pizza and malts! You'd think the Happiness Factor alone would outweigh any physical reaction, wouldn't you? :wacko:
Warm Hugs,

Shelley Ensz
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Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099

The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

#4 enjoytheride

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 07:45 AM

Thank you for the extra insight- I never thought of protein as the need. Or I suppose it could be carbs too. One of the reasons I need to find a doctor I suppose.

I started taking calcium as my regular doctor thought is was good to help prevent bone loss. My mother, my father , my mother's mother and grandmother all fractured their hips so it seems to run in my family (or hobble as the case may be.) On my Mom's side, she, her mother and grandmother all died in the same way- broken hip, in the hospital, dead the next day. Guess I've just kept doing it.

#5 enjoytheride

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 07:16 AM

I thought about it and I'm pretty sure it is the calcium. If I eat things that have protein like eggs or meat, it does not resolve the weakness in my muscles. Milk taken several time a day or calcium pills do.

Also, if I miss my calcium supplements for a few days, I start having muscle spasms in my legs- a real owie and a good reminder that I've gone astray.

But I guess this is my own issue though and maybe not related to CREST.

#6 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 07:30 AM

Hi Enjoytheride,

I may be wrong (I often am!) but I think you should be asking your primary care doctor about the symptoms of muscle weakness and muscle spasms. They can run a test for calcium to determine if you have a deficiency or a surplus of calcium. But not only that, they can look at other things that might be causing the symptoms, too.

Sometimes, when we are busy focusing on the treatment (in this case, milk), we may miss the idea that we are really attempting to self-treat something that may need further investigation. What I'm wondering is, that if calcium was really working on it, you theoretically shouldn't be hovering so close to a deficiency that you would notice any difference at all between a glass or two.

I think. Bear in mind, I am not a doctor, a milk distributor, a calcium supplement salesperson, a cow owner, a muscle specialist, or whatever. That is just my own two cents worth (if I can steal a line from Penny).
Warm Hugs,

Shelley Ensz
Founder and President
International Scleroderma Network (ISN)
Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099

The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.