Osteoporosis/Osteopenia Issues - What supplements do you recommend?

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New Member

Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 11/16/2009 2:36 PM (GMT -7)   
Anybody dealing with osteoporosis or osteopenia?  If so, what calcium/VItmain D supplements are the best? I found one brand that looks good (Vitmain Code's Raw Calcium) but I wonder about the magnesium and how it might impact the Crohn's.  Any advice on supplement produces would be appreciated.

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 11/16/2009 2:38 PM (GMT -7)   
I use Calcium Citrate with Vit D. It works well for me. But I also take 2000 extra units of Vitamin D as most of us Crohnies are deficient in it. I got tested and found out I was, hence the new Vitamin D supplements. By the way, since I increased the Vit D it has really helped with some of my joint pain.

Gail*Nanners* Co-Moderator for Crohns Disease and Anxiety/Panic Forum
Crohn's Disease for over 33 years. Currently on Asacol, Prilosec, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain, Zofran, Phenergan, Probiotics, Calcium  w/Vit D, and Xanax as needed. Resections in 2002 and 2005. Also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, and Anxiety. Currently my Crohns is in remission, but my joints are going crazy!
It's scary when you start making the same noises As your coffee maker.
*Every tomorrow has two handles.  We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith"*

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 1058
   Posted 11/16/2009 5:32 PM (GMT -7)   
Calcium by itself will cause constipation - that may be welcome for some with D. If you add about half the amount of magnesium to the calcium, it basically has no constipating effect at that level. More magnesium will cause D, but it is very individual as to how much is too much. You need a certain amount of magnesium to properly absorb the calcium, so a bit of trial and error may be necessary to get a balance.

The form of the calcium supplement is important. The most common form and the cheapest is calcium carbonate. It has several drawbacks. First, it is poorly absorbed - you generally only absorb about 12% of the calcium taken in that form. Second, it is an antacid and taking it with meals results in lowering your stomach acid level to the point where your digestive enzymes don't work properly. This results in undigested food being passed into your small intestine where it promotes bacterial growth. To make a long story short - it is a bad idea. What is better is a neutralized form of calcium - like the calcium citrate that Nanners takes. Other forms that are good are the mixed calcium fumarate/gluconate/maleate and possibly the "amino acid chelate" form - I am not sure how they make it. A test for the availability of calcium from a supplement is to put a tablet into a glass of lukewarm water. If it breaks up and dissolves, it is good (there may be a small amount of binder that will not dissolve). If it stays solid and does not dissolve, it is a waste of money.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 1885
   Posted 11/16/2009 6:21 PM (GMT -7)   
Magnesium is an irritant to the intestine, so be careful. I don't recommend taking it. My daughter got diarrhea (which she never gets) from a calcium/vitamin D/magnesium supplement. And I don't have Crohn's , but also got diarrhea after taking the same type of supplement, but with only half the dose.
The safest route is to take the calcium and vitamin D and then see whether this leads to any problems with constipation.
The CCFA recommends at least 800IU vitamin D (should be D3, not D2). This is probably way too low. The latest research indicates even the general population might want to take 2000IU D3 daily. (You could take part of it in a combined calcium/vitamin D supplement, and the rest in a separate vitamin D pill.)    
It also recommends a total of "at least 1500" mg calcium from supplements plus food sources...this might be too high...any supplement providing about 900 or 1000 mg calcium should be OK.
BUT the body can absorb only about 500 mg calcium at a single sitting, and research indicates that if you take more than this at one time, your body might actually absorb even less than 500mg. Furthermore, because calcium supplements interfere with iron absorption and absorption from meals, it is best to take calcium at least two hours before or at least one hour after taking another supplement, med or meal. Calcium citrate, as Keeper says, is easier on the system and better absorbed - should be taken with snacks, not meals.   
Daughter (22) Dx'd Crohn's 3/06. Misdiagnosed for two years, including by top pediatric Crohn's specialist as stress. No symptoms for the past two years. Recent colonoscopy shows stricture gone but still two spots of inflammation in TI. Used LDN to taper off Entocort. Was on Entocort since April 06. Never had D. SCD multivitamin, homemade yogurt, 5000IU vit D3, 500 mg calcium, 27 mg iron, monthly B12 shots, daily oral B12 1000. SCD diet modified to include potatoes and rice. 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 5919
   Posted 11/17/2009 12:00 PM (GMT -7)   
     I have osteoporosis due to prednisone use over the years.  I take Citracal with bone density builder.
Diagnosed with ulcerative proctitis in 1998 in hospital
Hospitalized (2nd time) in May 2008 for ten days.
Remission Nov 08 thru May of 09.
Flare May of 09 thru Aug of 09.  Meds: Colazal, 6MP, prednisone taper, probiotics, Benicar, calcium and multivitamin
Remission...too short...Sept and Oct.  Now in bad flare again...blood and mucus...back on prednisone, off the 6MP, waiting for approval from ins co to start Remicade.

Carnival Huckster
Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 159
   Posted 11/17/2009 1:56 PM (GMT -7)   
I have osteopenia from prednisone ... I take the Freeda SCD line of calcium, vitamin D, and multi-vitamin. So far there have not been problems with constipation.

+ 34 year old male
+ Crohn's Disease DX in 1997, doc said it was "moderate to severe"
+ Currently taking 9mg entocort and 40mg prozac
+ SCD for past 10 years
+ 4,000 mg MSM, Calcium, Vitamin D, Multivitamin, S. boulardii, Acidophilus
+ Section in lower jejunum is badly strictured (5mm wide opening continues for 10cm!) but otherwise no other problems in bowel
+ No surgeries so far

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 1058
   Posted 11/17/2009 2:42 PM (GMT -7)   
Magnesium is not an intestinal irritant. It is an essential mineral and deficiency can cause renal damage, improper bone formation and pain, heart ischemia and arrythmia and several other problems. For details, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnesium_in_biology

Milk of magnesia is a magnesium hydroxide suspension and is slightly alkaline. The magnesium in it is not very soluble and is not the driving force behind its laxative action. The way MoM works is that it draws fluids from surrounding tissues and retains it in the gut. The engorgement of the gut then promotes peristalsis and elimination. For more, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnesium_hydroxide

Otherwise, njmom has the straight goods on calcium.

Post Edited (Keeper) : 11/17/2009 2:45:01 PM (GMT-7)

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 392
   Posted 11/17/2009 2:47 PM (GMT -7)   
The herb Boswellia Serrata is helping osteoporosis, is easing pain and reducing inflammation. So is Vitamin D. You could order BS online. You need to take 3 capsules each 500 mg, for you this could be a double whammy, BS may help your Crohns inflammation and your osteoporosis. So does the vitamin D...... /Bee
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