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Nutrition

Calcium

Calcium is a mineral found in many kinds of food and is important for healthy bone formation, blood clotting, and transmission of nerve impulses. The normal calcium level in your blood should be between 2.01-2.38 mmol/L. People living with chronic kidney disease may find that their levels are outside the normal reading. This is due to the calcium not being readily reabsorbed because there is no help from Vitamin D. Vitamin D is important in absorbing the calcium in the food we eat and depositing that calcium into our bones. However, before vitamin D can exert its effect on calcium, it needs to be converted from an inactive to form to an active form, calcitrol.

In people living with chronic kidney disease, vitamin D is less efficiently converted to calcitrol. As a result, the amount of calcium that is absorbed in the body is decreased, due to the body not recognizing the calcium. This can lead to other complications like abnormal bone formation and calcium depositing throughout the body where high amounts of it is not necessary.

To increase the amount of calcium absorbed, patients need to include calcium in their diet while following their medication regimen. Taking medications such as Rocaltrol, will ensure that the calcium consumed through the diet will be used effectively and will be converted by Vitamin D.

It is important to note that patients living with chronic kidney disease should not exceed a calcium intake of 2000 mg daily. This included calcium from the diet, supplements, and phosphorous binders.

Calcium is found in dairy products, canned fish, and leafy vegetables. Unfortunately the same calcium sources are also high in phosphorus and may not be good for patients who need a low phosphorous diet. Consulting the registered dietitian will assist you in choosing food that will meet both your calcium and phosphorous needs.

Foods high in calcium:

Foods low in calcium: