Calcium and ITP

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Natural Calcium

Calcium is the fifth most abundant element by mass in the earths crust.  It is also the fifth most abundant ion dissolved in seawater.  Calcium is essential for all living organisms; in particular their cell physiology, and humans are no exception.  As a major material used in the mineralization of bones, calcium is the most abundant metal on mass in the human body.  Without enough Calcium in your system you are in trouble.  Did you know that Prednisone leaches calcium from your bones?

Taking Prednisone? Take Calcium too

If you are taking any amount of Prednisone on a daily basis then you absolutely need to be increasing your calcium intake, either through diet or with a supplement.  There seems to be a grey area in the Medical profession at the moment about how much prednisone requires a Calcium and Vitamin D supplementation.  All I can say about this is that any amount of Prednisone is too much and every possible precaution should be taken to avoid developing Steroid-Induced Osteoporosis.

Steroid-Induced Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a weakening of the bones, which causes them to lose their density and become brittle and more susceptible to fracture.  Your bones are the organs that produce your blood.  Your bones make your platelets!  Your bones are not something that can be replaced with metal if they are broken or too weak.  Long-Term steroid use weakens your bones, as the Prednisone will leach Calcium from them.

Calcium Absorption

Calcium is absorbed in the small intestine.  This absorption is aided by the presences of Vitamin D in your system at the time of the Calcium uptake.  Most people on Prednisone will need between 1000 to 1500 mg of calcium per day.

The Top 5 ways to increase you Calcium, Naturally

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      Full cream milk

      Milk (Dairy ) So the best source of Dietary Calcium is of course Dairy.  Australians are very lucky with the quality and quantity of Dairy products available here.   We are able to access a variety of milk, yoghurt, cheeses, cream and curds.  If you are looking for more calcium, then this is where you find it. However, if like me, you have switched to an anti inflammatory diet such as the Paleo Diet, then you will need to look for non dairy sources of Calcium.  I still consume a bit of milk cause I love the Vitamin D + Calcium combo, but a small amount of milk is not enough.

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      sun dried little fish

      Tiny fish (with the bones)  These tiny fish would include Anchovies, White Bait or Sardines.  Canned salmon and other fish are also sold with the bones included, but you would need to read the label.  Eating these fish will provide you with a nice dose of fish oil, probably a bit of Vitamin D, and a whole lot of Calcium.  What better food to eat for bone health than another animal’s healthy bones.  If you are looking for the next best source of Calcium after dairy, then this is it.

  • Seaweed Sushi rolls, Japanese – get the fatty fish and the seed weed together.  The only chance I get to eat seaweed is in Japanese and Korean restaurants.  If anyone knows any great Nori recipes please let me know.
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Chia seeds
  • Seeds  If you are a vegetarian or Vegan, then the Calcium in seeds will be a great natural healthy source.  Seeds can sometimes be overlooked because they are so small, but it is because of their size that they can easily be incorporated into any dish.  They are easy to sprinkle over salad or add to sauces and bakes,  mash up with vegies, or include in a stir-fry – actually everything could benefit from a little sprinkling of seeds.  Seeds high in Calcium include Chia Seeds, Flax Seeds or Linseeds, depending on where you are from and Sesame Seeds or Tahini will work just as well.
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    roasted almonds

    Almonds  Almonds are the Paleo Dieters dream.  These tasty little nuts may be used for sweet and savory dishes, blended into a baking meal or eaten by the handful between lunch and dinner.  Aim to always have a supply of Almonds in your house, just stay clear of the salted kind – Salted Almonds are moreish and a huge no no for people taking Prednisone.  To read more about staying away from Salt, click here.


by Meg

Meghan Brewster is a writer and blogger. She is an ITP patient and launched ITP&Me in 2011. She is a coffee lover and a try hard dancer. @meghan_brewster

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