Do you know anyone with thyroid issues? I do. My mom, some aunts, some cousins, even my father-in-law, and a couple of my neighbors have thyroid disorders. For those of you who have hypothyroidism or have been treated for hyperthyroidism and are now hypothyroid, taking calcium can be a challenge. How do I know this? Just read on to see why.
I talk to my mom regularly. As in every day, except maybe some Saturdays. (Yes, I’m that kind of daughter. Don’t you wish we were all like that?) When talking to her a few months ago, she kept telling me that she just didn’t feel good. She was tired. Then she started mentioning that her hair was getting thin and that if it got any thinner, she was going to end up bald. After working here at Cal-EZ for a while, I thought I’d ask her about what medicines and supplements she was taking. Our conversation went something like this.
Me: So Mama (I’m a southern girl and, yes, I still call my mama, Mama), are you taking calcium?
Mama: Yes, the doctor told me to.
Me: How are you taking it with your other medications?
Mama: What do you mean? I take them all together first thing in the morning so I won’t forget.
Me: You mean you take your calcium and your thyroid medication at the same time?
Mama: Of course. What did you think?
Me: Didn’t your doctor tell you to take your calcium either 4 hours before or 4 hours after your levothyroxine?
Mama: My doctor? No, he didn’t tell me anything like that. Why? Am I not supposed to take my calcium with my other medicine?
Me: (Eye roll. And I’m glad I was on the phone. Because even though my mama is older and I’m an adult, don’t think you can roll your eyes at her and get away with it!) Mama, you have to wait 4 hours after you take your medicine to take your calcium. Just wait until lunch time to take the calcium.
Me: Calcium interferes with levothyroxine and makes it like you’re taking a smaller dose of your medicine. In other words, you’re not getting your proper dose of thyroid medicine so probably you’re thyroid level is low making you tired and causing your hair to fall out.
Mama: (long pause) Oh.
Fast forward to 3 weeks later while I was on the phone with my mama again.
Mama: You know, I started taking that calcium at lunch time like you suggested. And you know what, my hair isn’t falling out like it was and I don’t feel as tired. You must have known what you were talking about.
Me: (Eye roll)
Did you know that levothyroxine is one of the most commonly prescribed medications? Studies have shown that taking calcium carbonate within 4 hours of taking levothyroxine might decrease the absorption of levothyroxine by a third. What better to make sure you are taking your calcium and levothyroxine 4 hours apart than to take Cal-EZ with you! One handy stick pack easily fits in a purse or shirt pocket. There’s no large bottle of calcium to lug around or a calcium pill to figure out how to transport. Or if you’re like my mama, she wraps hers in a paper towel and then accidentally throws it away because she forgets she wrapped her pill in it. (eye roll)
Learn more about taking calcium with other medications by downloading our free Calcium Tip Sheet.
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