Clinical Hub,Patient Education,Health and Nutrition Facts For You,Medication Instructions

Taking Calcium and Vitamin D Supplements After your Parathyroid Operation (7330)

Taking Calcium and Vitamin D Supplements After your Parathyroid Operation (7330) - Clinical Hub, Patient Education, Health and Nutrition Facts For You, Medication Instructions


Taking Calcium and Vitamin D Supplements After
Your Parathyroid Operation

This handout explains how to meet your
daily calcium and vitamin D needs after
your parathyroid operation, once your
calcium level (blood test) has returned to the
normal range.
Calcium is important for people of all ages
for good health. Calcium is a mineral that
helps form and maintain healthy bones and
teeth. It is needed throughout your life. Most
of your bone mass is built when you are a
child or young adult. After the bone building
period ends, bone mass must be maintained.
The main way to build and maintain bone
mass is to have a diet rich in calcium and to
take vitamin D.
The body does not use calcium well if you
do not get enough vitamin D. Vitamin D
also decreases bone loss and lowers your
fracture risk. A natural source of vitamin D
is the sun. Given the risks to sun exposure
we recommend taking a vitamin D
Calcium needs are based on the amount of
bone and tissue growth during phases of the
life cycle. The calcium and vitamin D needs
advised by the Food and Nutrition Board,
Institute of Medicine, and the National
Institute of Health are shown below.

Life Stage Age Recommended Dietary
Calcium(mg) Vitamin D(IU)
Adolescents 9 – 18 years 1300 800
Adults: Men and Women 19-50 years
51-70 years
71 years and older
1000 800
1200 (women) 800
1000 (men) 1000
1200 (women)

Foods That Are Good Sources of Calcium

250-300 mg of Calcium
2 pieces cheese pizza (1/4 of 14” pie)
8 oz. milk (cow, almond, rice, soy, or
6 oz. low fat yogurt
8 oz. calcium-fortified orange juice or other
fruit juices
1 oz. cheese. Hard cheese has more calcium
3 oz. sardines, canned, drained, including
1 cup macaroni and cheese, homemade
½ cup tofu with calcium
8 oz. frozen collard greens

200-250 mg of Calcium
1 cup macaroni and cheese, packaged
6 oz greek yogurt
8 oz broccoli rabe

150-200 mg of Calcium
½ cup cottage cheese
½ cup ice cream or frozen yogurt
½ cup au gratin potatoes
1 cup cream soup made with milk
3 oz. salmon, canned with bones
1 taco with beef and cheese
2 frozen calcium fortified waffles
4 oz baked beans

100-150 mg of Calcium
1 cup broccoli
½ cup kale

½ cup oysters
½ cup custard
1 cup sherbet
½ cup bok choy, cooked
½ cup turnip greens, cooked
¾ cup mustard greens, cooked
3 oz. herring, canned
¾ cup soybeans, cooked
2 pancakes (4” diameter)
1 calcium fortified English muffin
1 package of oatmeal

Be sure to check the nutrition label because
calcium and vitamin D content varies by

Calcium Supplements
If you’re not meeting your daily calcium
needs through your diet, you should think
about adding calcium tablets. Calcium
tablets take the form of calcium carbonate,
calcium citrate, calcium gluconate, or
calcium lactate. The table below compares
calcium carbonate and calcium citrate
supplements and the best time to take them.
Calcium gluconate and calcium lactate cost
more and contain less calcium per pill so
you’d have to take more pills to get the same
amount of calcium.
Note: if you are taking medicine to
decrease stomach acid (acid blockers) or use
antacids on a daily basis, calcium citrate is
advised instead of calcium carbonate.

Calcium Citrate
Calcium Carbonate
(Tums, Oscal, Caltrate, Viactiv, CalBurst)
Can be taken any time during the
Must be taken with meals or snacks to be absorbed
Does not require stomach acid to
be absorbed.
Stomach acid is needed for it to absorb. Do not
take with antacids.
Gentle on the stomach. May cause gas, constipation, and bloating

Look for "USP" on label or box (confirms pill will
dissolve in normal amount of stomach acid.)

Calcium and Vitamin D content per pill
Supplement Calcium (mg) Vitamin D (IU) Comment
Caltrate 600 + D3 600 800 Carbonate
Caltrate 600 + D3
600 800 Carbonate
Citracal + D3 Regular 250 200 Citrate
Citracal + D3 Maximum 315 250 Citrate
Citracal + D3 Petites 200 250 Citrate
One-a-Day Women’s or 50+
Advantage for Women
500 1000 Carbonate
One a Day Men’s
210 700 Carbonate
One a Day 50+ Advantage
for Men Multivitamin
120 700 Carbonate
OsCal + D3 500 200 Carbonate
OsCal + Extra D 500 600 Carbonate
Tums 500 0 Carbonate
Tums EX 750 0 Carbonate

Tums Ultra 1000 0 Carbonate
Viactiv plus D 500 500 - 1000 (depends on
the flavor)

What about other medicines?
Calcium (supplements) may not mix well
with other medicines. Make sure to tell your
health care practitioner that you are taking
calcium so they can help you determine the
best time of the day to take your calcium.

How do I take my calcium?
Calcium is best absorbed if taken with meals
and in smaller doses. Avoid taking more
than 600 mg of calcium at one time so your
dose should be split and taken throughout
the day with 8 oz. of water. Chewable forms
of calcium should be chewed well.

Are there any side effects?
Side effects with the proper use of calcium
are rare. Constipation and gas can also be
problems with calcium use. Make sure you
drink plenty of fluids and eat fiber to avoid
these problems. If these measures are not
helpful, try switching to a different form of

Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright ©2/2017. University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7330.