Steroid tablets directly decrease the calcium level absorbed in the gut. Steroids also increase calcium loss through the kidneys. Calcium and vitamin D supplements are essential to reduce the risk of osteoporosis in polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) patients. Further bone loss can be prevented if calcium and vitamin D rich foods are added to your diet.
Here, we list ten sources of vitamin D and calcium. They can relieve symptoms of polymyalgia and help improve your health. They’re not the top sources but I consider them the best sources because they are readily available and usually found on most grocery lists, except for sunlight.
Vitamin D is also known as the sunshine vitamin. Our body produces vit D of about 10,000 to 25,000 IU when our body is exposed to sunlight.
Skimmed and semi-skimmed milk is great since both contain more calcium than full-fat milk. Calcium rich milk made from soy and rice or oats are also recommended. One pint of milk each day combined with calcium-rich foods are enough to prevent bone loss in polymyalgia patients.
Yogurt is a good anti-inflammatory food. It has calcium, B vitamins, zinc, and probiotics. It is also a source of protein. When taken with vit D, it always has a good effect on your health.
Fish rich in vit D are mackerel, salmon, and sardines. When canned, they contain a high amount of calcium. In 3 oz of canned fish, mackerel contains 250 mg of calcium; salmon with bones has 170 to 210 mg of calcium, and sardines got 370 mg of calcium.
Broccoli contains Vitamin C to boost your immune system. It is a source of calcium which reduces inflammation. It belongs to the cruciferous vegetable known to fight cancer.
Okra contains a lesser amount of calcium compared to other sources. However, it contains a type of protein, lectin which was found to kill cancer cells in humans. Inflammation in autoimmune diseases like polymyalgia is caused by active cells that work in the same way as cancer cells.
A cup of spinach contains 244.8 mg of calcium. Spinach an excellent source of calcium that can prevent bone loss when taking corticosteroids.
Mushroom contains selenium, a mineral that prevents inflammation. Selenium is not found in other fruits and vegetables except in mushrooms. Vit D in mushrooms like white or button mushrooms and shitake are fortified when the mushroom is dried under the sun.
Did you know that almonds have 264 mg of calcium compare to 113 mg of calcium per 100 mg in cow’s milk? Almond skin contains 20 flavonoid antioxidants which also include catechins and naringenin. These two antioxidants similarly found in green tea and grapefruit, respectively have anti-inflammatory properties.
High-quality cheese is good in fighting inflammation because they contain probiotic bacteria. But not all cheese has probiotic. Raw cheese coming from the milk of grass-fed cows are preferred because they contain the perfect Omega 6 and 3 ratios of 2:1. Omega 6 and 3 are anti-inflammatory. Blue cheese and other strong smelling cheeses are also good sources of probiotics. They can help relieve pain and inflammation.
A daily intake of 1000 milligrams of calcium is enough to counteract the effects of corticosteroids. But those who are 60 years old and above, and suffering from polymyalgia can take a higher dosage of about 2000 mg.
Calcium-rich foods include dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, and soy. Fish eaten either their bones such as sardines are also recommendable. Low-fat milk is the best.
A daily supplement of 10 to 20 micrograms of vit D is already enough. 400 to 800 IU of vitamin D are reliable as well even for people over 60. Vitamin D is important in absorbing and processing calcium.
When natural sources of calcium and vitamin D are not enough, supplements can be taken. From experience rarely will your rheumatologist advice you to take alternative treatment such as calcium and vitamin D supplements. However, if you want to try the natural way to relieve your symptoms, then you can take supplements. Vitamin D supplements are easily purchased from supermarkets and health food stores.