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Question About Calcium Supplements


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#1 gf4life

 
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Posted 19 February 2004 - 04:00 PM

I was wondering if anyone knows if Citracal Plus with Magnesium is gluten free. I know that Caltrate is, but it is not casein free. I have been feeling like I should take a calcium/magnesium supplement since I am not eating any dairy, and have not liked the feeling that my stomach gets when I take the Citracal, but maybe it's the B vitamins in it, or the minerals. I don't know. I've never been big on supplements.

Also if anyone knows of specific veggies that are high in calcium and/or magnesium, please list them here. Someone said that greens are higher in calcium than milk, but which greens. Most don't taste good to me. I can't tolerate broccoli right now. Anyhow, any help would be appreciated.

God bless,
Mariann
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~West Coast-Central California~

Mariann, gluten intolerant and mother of 3 gluten intolerant children

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#2 seeking_wholeness

 
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Posted 19 February 2004 - 05:32 PM

Mariann,

I don't know about the Citracal, but I did a bit of research and discovered that whole grains and grain products like rice bran (the absolute best), amaranth, quinoa, and buckwheat are rich sources of magnesium, and I believe that greens (kale, collards, turnip, mustard, etc.) and dried apricots (and maybe other dried fruits) are good as well. For calcium, choose greens, sesame seeds or tahini, almonds, okra, bok choy, and dried figs and apricots. I'm sure there are other foods that I'm not remembering, as well. Soy products like tofu are good as well, but I know you are sensitive to them. I hope this helps!
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Sarah
gluten-free since November 1, 2003

#3 gf4life

 
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Posted 19 February 2004 - 06:22 PM

Thanks Sarah. I guess I need to get used to eating the greens you mentioned. I just have never liked them. Do you have any good recipes for them that would make them taste better. And do you think I would have to eat the whole leaf, or could I juice them in my juicer and still get the nutritional benefits? Sorry to load you up on questions.

Why only dried apricots and not fresh? Dried always give me gas and I think it is the sulfites added to them. I have not found any sulfite free dried apricots. Maybe I'll check the healthfood store next time I get over there...

I like quinoa, but I don't care for buckwheat, and haven't figured out a good recipe for amaranth yet. I usually eat a lot of brown rice, more so than white, so that's good about the magnesium. I eat more almonds than the other foods on the calcium list. I have some organic tahini in the cupboard, but what do I do with it?? I bought it because it was good on the blood type diet, but have never found a use for it. Any suggestions?

Thanks again.
God bless,
Mariann :)

Oh, and I ordered some liquid calcium/magnesium supplement from the Gluten-free Casein-free Diet Support Group, since it is Gluten and Casein Free and more easily absorbed. I think I'll skip the Citracal, since I can't seem to find out if it is gluten-free. It probably is though, all the other Citracal Calcium supplements are gluten-free, but the one with magnesium isn't listed anywhere.
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~West Coast-Central California~

Mariann, gluten intolerant and mother of 3 gluten intolerant children

#4 GFdoc

 
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Posted 19 February 2004 - 06:41 PM

Hi Mariann-
I use store brand calcium supplements from walgreens and magnesium from CVS. (Do you have those pharmacies where you are?) I found Citrical to give me stomach upset too, but I do better with calcium carbonate type of calcium (read the labels carefully). I take 1200 mg of calcium per day (600 in the morning, 600 at night) - I probably should get about 1500mg per day...so I try to get some extra from other sources. My recent bone density scan shows me as osteopenic (which is one step before osteoporosis) this despite taking calcium supplements for about 20 years...I was just diagnosed with celiac disease in 9/03 and I just turned 40 years old last month. Now I know why the calcium supplements weren't working - I have celiac disease!
Anyway , I am a pediatrician and I constantly tell my patients - especially the teenage girls about calcium supplements... it is really difficult to get enough calcium per day without eating dairy products. All the fruits and veggies noted in the message above are OK for calcium, but you'd have to have ALOT of them to get up to 1200-1500 mg per day. ( ex. 1/2 cup of sweet potatoes or broccoli only has about 40 mg of calcium, 1/2 cup of white beans has about 100 mg calcium)

It 's really important to get enough calcium - consider the supplements!
Hope this helps....Sara
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Sara gluten-free since 9/03

#5 GFdoc

 
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Posted 19 February 2004 - 06:45 PM

Oh, and I forgot...Tahini mixed with mashed chickpeas and a little lemon and garlic makes Hummus - a wonderful dip for raw veggies or falafel. ( you can get gluten-free falafel mix from authentic foods). I can get you the recipes if you want...Sara
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Sara gluten-free since 9/03

#6 gf4life

 
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Posted 19 February 2004 - 06:59 PM

GFdoc,

Thank you for the information. Yes, I would like the recipe for hummus. If you put it in the recipes section I'll find it! That way others can benefit from it as well. Thanks again.

I will be taking supplements, but I don't have a Walgreens or CVS. I ordered some from online that are guaranteed gluten free and dairy free.

I will have to skip the Citracal, due to the stomach upset. I have not been able to get a bone scan, since my doctor doesn't really believe that I am gluten intolerant. She just thinks I have IBS, since I tested negative on the blood test and biopsy. I tested positive with Enterolab, and the best test is how I feel being gluten-free. I just figure that if I am no longer having any dairy, there is no way I can get enough calcium/magnesium in my diet to keep my bones healthy.

I think I'll give my kids some too, since two of them have very brittle nails, that crack and break and the layers peel right off. And the doctors don't think they are gluten intolerant either! They all three show symptoms of nutritional deficiencies, as well as the frequent diarrhea and slow growth. Oh well, I may have to get them tested through Enterolab as well. They just keep showing positive on the IgG Gliadin Antibodies and negative on all the IgA tests. But only one has been tested for IgA deficiency and he is the sickest of them all (and not deficient).

God bless,
Mariann
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~West Coast-Central California~

Mariann, gluten intolerant and mother of 3 gluten intolerant children

#7 GFdoc

 
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Posted 19 February 2004 - 07:22 PM

FYI-

Calcium needs for kids are different than for adults:

1 - 3 year olds need 500mg calcium per day
4 - 8 year olds need 800 mg per day
9 - 18 year old need 1300 mg per day


My kids also had positive anti-gliadin antibodies, but were negative on the EMA test... I was told by the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Program people that this means my kids do not have celiac disease. The EMA or TTG tests are the best (assuming no IgA deficiency). Anti Gliadin tests are really only used as follow up tests on known celiacs - to see if they are following the diet correctly. I will recheck my kids every two years to see if they convert to positive (I may do the genetic testing on them...I haven't decided)

I'll post the hummus recipe in the recipe section soon!

Stay well....Sara
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Sara gluten-free since 9/03

#8 gf4life

 
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Posted 19 February 2004 - 07:34 PM

Thanks Sara,


Thanks for posting the levels of calcium needed for kids. Mine are 4, 7 & 9 years old, so I figured they would all need different amounts. You saved me the trouble of looking it up. See they are still on dairy as well as gluten and drink 1-2 cups of 2% milk a day, and usually have a Yoplait yogurt also. Plus they have calcium fortefied cereal with milk for breakfast. No cheese though, they don't like it. So they should be getting enough, yet still show signs of deficiency. My middle child broke a toe at 3 years old, just walking across the kitchen floor and he caught his foot on a plastic toy and slipped. He didn't even fall very hard, yet his toe was broken! You just never know.

I don't technically have celiac disease either, but I am gluten intolerant. I don't know if I want to wait for my kids to progress to the level of damage required for a diagnosis of celiac disease.

Thanks for all the advice. I sure appreciate it. :D

God bless,
Mariann
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~West Coast-Central California~

Mariann, gluten intolerant and mother of 3 gluten intolerant children

#9 aldociao

 
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Posted 19 February 2004 - 08:21 PM

Why only dried apricots and not fresh? Dried always give me gas and I think it is the sulfites added to them. I have not found any sulfite free dried apricots. Maybe I'll check the healthfood store next time I get over there...

Mariann,
Check out the organic dried apricots at Whole Foods, if there is one near you. They pack them in their own clear plastic containers and at a reasonable price. When soaked over night (I use distilled water) they plump right up to almost real size. I eat them as a snack with either yogurt or kefir. Delicious. Their org. dried figs (I prefer the calimyrna variety) are also very good but need the soaking even more than the apricots. --Aldo
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#10 gf4life

 
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Posted 19 February 2004 - 08:30 PM

Thanks Aldo for the information. Next time I'm at Whole Foods I'll check them out.

I was just wondering though, why not fresh apricots? Or is it just that they are hard to find, and sometimes expensive? I certainly prefer fresh.

Mariann
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~West Coast-Central California~

Mariann, gluten intolerant and mother of 3 gluten intolerant children

#11 Guest_LisaB_*

 
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Posted 19 February 2004 - 10:46 PM

This article is in the archives on this site, it is the reason I speak so much about magnesium and this and some other research material I will post below it shows how you could take calcium supplements all your life and still have low bone density, not to mention the havoc it causes to your health to have too much calcium in your system. Here is the article:

Five years ago I became concerned about weakness in my bones after a couple of surprising fractures. At one point, I broke a rib while shingling a storage-shed roof. I leaned across the peak of the roof’s ridge to pick up a shingle. I never expected such light pressure to cause a problem, however, I felt a sudden, sharp pain, and heard an odd sound. This, along with a couple of less dramatic, but similar injuries, caused me enough concern to begin looking into the question of celiac disease and bone strength.

My explorations taught me that calcium absorption probably is not our main problem. People with celiac disease seem to be able to absorb adequate calcium1, but the primary problem appears to come from excreting too much of it, thus causing us to lose more calcium than we are absorbing. I also learned that research shows little or no benefit from calcium supplementation for celiac patients, while magnesium supplementation alone results in significant improvements2. The explanation for this may be that some of the antibodies caused by active celiac disease attack the parathyroid gland3. This organ is an important player in regulating calcium metabolism. Magnesium is necessary for the body to repair the parathyroid and to maintain its continued good function.

Being convinced by this research, I began to take magnesium supplements without any calcium. I found that I had to be careful. Too much had me visiting the washroom frequently, and I was afraid that too little would fail to provide me the benefits I was seeking.

At the same time, I also requested a bone density test. I wanted objective information that would allow me to evaluate the progress I hoped to make. The first test was conducted in March of 1997. The results (called “T scores”) are reported based on comparison with the density of bones found in young adults. For instance, a score of 0 indicates that the bone density is about the same as would be found in an average young adult. A score in the minus range indicates a bone that has less mineral and more pores than is found in the same young adult. Thus, a score of –1.0 to –2.5 indicates mild mineral losses, while a score of –2.5 or lower indicates osteoporosis.

My test results were not as bad as I had feared. The mineral density in my lower back was normal for my age, at –0.23. However, my upper leg, where it fits into my hip, was reported as –2.02, and my forearm was slightly stronger than that of a normal young adult at +0.19.

As I saw it, there were only two causes for concern. First, at the tender age of 50, my hips were very close to osteoporotic, and certainly at a substantially increased risk of fracture. Such fractures can be very serious. Secondly, since only three skeletal areas had been tested for mineral density—and since there was such a wide range of density reported for each of these areas, it seemed impossible to estimate the density of the rest of the bones in my body.

About three years after my first bone density test, some Calgary-based research made me suspect that the amount of vitamin D supplements I was taking might be too low4. I increased my intake to 1,000 IU daily.

By the fall of 2001, I began to wonder if I was being foolish by avoiding calcium supplements based on the reports I had read. I therefore began to supplement 350 mg of calcium each day.

In July of 2002, I underwent a second bone scan. They did not test my forearm, but the other two areas appear to have improved substantially. The T score for my lower back was now at + 0.06, and the T score for my hip had improved to –0.72.

I realize that what I am reporting is just one person’s experience. It is what the medical professionals call “anecdotal,” and does not usually carry much weight. However, my experience does support the only published research of the impact of mineral supplements on bone density in celiac patients that I can find. Based on my own experience, and the relevant research, I am now convinced that magnesium is the most important supplement to consider in the context of celiac disease. I was thrilled to read my latest bone density report. Vitamin D may also be an important factor, but limitations of time and space force me to leave this topic for another day.


In addition to that I found info on a site that seconds the above example:

Magnesium and calcium must be in the correct proportions for your own needs, otherwise the calcium becomes a pollutant in the body causing heart disease, arthritis, hardening of the arteries, senility, osteoporosis, and calcification of organs and tissues that eventually completely degenerate through calcification.

Differently put, excess calcium can become a real problem. Excess magnesium, on the other hand, is impossible.

Here is an amazing example: What country has the highest rate of milk consumption? That’s right, it is America. Now another question: what country has the highest rate of consuming calcium supplements? That’s right, the answer is America again. So obviously, you would say, America must have the lowest occurrence of osteoporosis (calcium loss) of all countries, right? Believe it or not, the truth is the exact opposite! We have the highest rate! Why? Excess calcium combined with low magnesium. Taking more calcium will not fix a calcium deficiency, which is quite evident from the statistics. Yet, more magnesium will handle the calcium deficiency as well as the magnesium deficiency as well.

Deficiency in magnesium causes PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome) and instant relief can be obtained by taking the magnesium dissolved in water. Too much calcium and not enough magnesium cause PMS. This results in premature aging caused by the calcification of the female body parts. Taking the magnesium in a water-soluble form will totally reverse this condition. Calcium deposits in the joints, gallstones, kidney stones and in extreme cases calcification of the brain and other body organs and parts. This results in loss of memory and loss of ability to reason and eventually the termination of life. But the most significant problem of all would be a magnesium deficiency which could then cause restlessness, sleep problems, tension, more stress, and more.


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#12 seeking_wholeness

 
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Posted 20 February 2004 - 07:45 AM

Mariann,

My guess is that fresh apricots are a good source of calcium, too, but you would have to eat the same *number* of them as you would dried to get the same amount of calcium, and I don't know how that might affect your digestion.

As far as greens go, I believe juicing them is entirely acceptable. My favorite green to eat by itself is a variety of kale known as lacinato kale, dinosaur kale, or black kale, which I find at my local health food store and at Whole Foods. Its leaves don't wilt like spinach and turnip greens do. I saute it with some sliced onions (slightly caramelized without sugar in olive oil) and salt it (lightly!--greens are actually easy to over-salt). I also enjoy sauteed escarole, although it is typically very sandy and difficult to get totally grit-free. I am not sure of its relative mineral content, but I know it is a healthy option. I also add leafy greens to some of my various stew recipes. I can post a recipe for a nutritionally well-rounded poultry-based African/Caribbean-inspired stew, if you are interested. (And I like hyphens; can you tell? :rolleyes: :P )

I didn't care for buckwheat either when I first tried it, but then I read that roasting it changes its flavor quite a bit. I like roasted buckwheat (kasha) better and think it makes a nice addition to cornbread (substituted for part of the cornmeal) if you put it through a coffee grinder first. Whole-grain amaranth I find thoroughly repulsive, but I have three recipes for sweet treats that call for amaranth flour. One of them is a bar cookie that calls for amaranth flour, rice bran, and dried apricots! Hmm, it looks like I really need to MAKE the time to post that recipe, like I promised someone I would a while ago (oops)! Since it is so nutritious, I am planning to try to concoct an all-purpose flour mixture based on amaranth.

Tahini is delicious in hummus, and I think I snagged the recipes I posted on the old board and re-posted them here if you are interested. Garbanzo beans are an avoid for us Type A's on the blood type diet, but any bean will work and I find that pinto beans make an especially rich-tasting hummus. Tahini is also delicious substituted for all or part of the peanut butter called for in Asian-style peanut noodle recipes (and 100% buckwheat noodles are good here, too, although I haven't called the manufacturer of mine to inquire about cross-contamination concerns yet).

I hope this helps, and take care!
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Sarah
gluten-free since November 1, 2003

#13 aldociao

 
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Posted 21 February 2004 - 08:31 PM

Lisa B,
Because of recent research, I'm convinced as you are, of the importance of having adequate magnesium to balance calcium intake. One of the first things I noticed as I was feeling better was how I needed to cut my fingernails more often and how less fragile they were, and I have not increased my dairy that much but have always liked foods, as it turns out, that are rich in magnesium, but apparently have not been absorbing it very well until recently because of the celiac disease. I have read that "between 30 and 40% of the average daily intake of magnesium is absorbed in the small intestine." (From The Nutrition Almanac, 4th Ed., which then goes on to affirm much of the same information you provided.) If this is so, then it's not surprising that the magnesium was being underabsorped before I went gluten-free.

Good sources (Info from a number of sources and probably as reliable and accurate as predicting the weather in our part of the country--meaning not at all, if you're not from New England and wondering what I'm talking about.) But at least it may add some more items to the list, and possibly confirm others that have been mentioned. Especially good sources are Buckwheat, millet, corn flour, brown rice and rice bran, among the grains. All nuts--especially almonds--and seeds, especially pumpkin. Green leafy veggies, especially spinach; yellow beans, french beans, and broccoli. And especially the following fruits: avocado, prickly pear, Kiwi, banana, papaya, and pineapple juice. Dried fruits are also good sources, especially apricots and figs. And molasses, 1TB, has about 50mgs (RDA 400mgs). One source cautioned that the magnesium content of foods varies quite a bit depending on the soil, the amount of processing, and the manner of cooking. Boiling is said to leach the mineral out into the cooking water.


Mariann,
I think the reason most sources mention more often the dried form of apricots (and of figs) is that they are always available while the fresh apricots have only a very short season, are very expensive, and usually taste like carboard, at least the ones I've tasted (and will no longer)--and are probably as nutrient dense as cardboard. (I do look for fesh figs, when they're in season, but I buy them only if I hit the lottery that day.

Aldo
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#14 gf4life

 
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Posted 22 February 2004 - 01:55 PM

Thanks Aldo. That was quite a list of foods. I agree that magnesium is very important. Magnesium deficiency is actually quite a big problem in America and has gone widely unrecognized. Most people get adequate calcium, but without the magnesium it doesn't matter. Since I have been dairy free for more than 4 months now, I really feel like I need to supplement both. I take a magnesium supplement and am waiting for my7 shipment of calcium/magnesium liquid supplement. I hope it gets here soon.

The following foods are the ones from the list that I eat most often, so I am glad to know they are good sources of natural magnesium:

corn flour (in my corn bread)
brown rice (my prefered rice)
almonds (whole and in my daily almond milk)
Green leafy veggies( I like the baby greens salad mix and it has spinach)
french beans (is this green beans or something else? I like green beans)
avocado (this is my "cheese" substitute, since it gives me that creamy texture)
papaya (I get them as often as I can find a good one)
pineapple juice (I prefer pineapple over most fruits)
apricots (I love fresh, and since I live in the middle of the San Joaquin Vally in California, I am actually able to find them quite often, and they aren't too expensive, and they usually taste wonderful. I didn't realise how lucky I am. I love dried, but they usually make me very gassy. I am looking for some sulfite free ones.)

Again, thank you. I am so gald to be able to digest my foods again! :)

God bless,
Mariann
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~West Coast-Central California~

Mariann, gluten intolerant and mother of 3 gluten intolerant children

#15 tarnalberry

 
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Posted 22 February 2004 - 06:01 PM

I put one hummus recipe in the recipe section (with the rest of my superbowl party recipes) - though that one's pretty heavy on garlic.

I take a calcium/magnesium supplement from Rainbow Light called "Food-Based Calcium". It has 500mg Ca (50%), 250mg Mg (63%), and 100IU Vit D (25%). It has no gluten, no lactose, and doesn't list caesin on the other ingredients (which are: cellulose, stearic acid (vegetable), modified cellulose gum, silica, magnesium stearate and a coating of vegetable food glaze.)
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