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Steroids, Calcium and Vitamin D


This is my 5th year of living with UC. In the last 3-4 years, I read & tried numerous different remedies that worked for others. I experienced a couple of remissions with each new one lasting longer than the previous one. Will the next one be long term?

Prednisone or Prednisolone Steroids and Calcium

Just a disclaimer: This is just my opinion, I’m not a licensed physician and you should consult your doctor for medical advice when it comes to treating your condition.

After reading numerous user stories on this site of steroid use to control major flare-ups of Ulcerative Colitis, I felt compelled to write and recommend a few simple things that you can do to lower your chance of osteoporosis caused by steroid use.

First of all, at the risk of being super obvious, your #1 goal should be to get healthy and stop bleeding so nice hard pipes can follow. Sometimes that requires drastic measures, like the use of steroids. Steroids should not be used as a maintenance plan for controlling colitis as these drugs have many bad side-effects, one of them being osteoporosis – loss of bone density. It’s OK to use steroids in emergencies to stabilize your condition but it’s not a long-term solution.
Steroids drain your body of calcium and your body relies on the stores of calcium in your bones to replace what steroids take away. So your body will draw on Calcium stored in your bones. Ask your doctor about this if you haven’t discussed it with her or him yet.

It is important that you take Calcium (supplements if you cannot provide it in your diet) and Vitamin D while you are on steroids. Studies have shown that Vitamin D helps with absorption of Calcium. It’s better to take smaller doses of Calcium throughout the day rather than one large dose once a day. Your body cannot absorb large amounts of Calcium all at once.

Do you take Calcium and Vitamin D supplements?

Calcium and Vitamin D Supplements from

Happy pooping! :)


written by “The Bird”

Submitted in the Colitis Venting Area

3 thoughts on “Steroids, Calcium and Vitamin D”

  1. In the general population, many people do not take enough vitamin D or calcium. U need to ask ur dr to check ur vitamin d levels and the dose is based on the blood test results. Always recheck and follow up with blood work. Sunlight with no sun screen on a large part of ur body for 20 minutes a day is the best way to get it. Colitis folks particularly since u may not b able to absorb it well from ur gut. U can google “vitamin D council” and look at what they say re vitamin D levels. For those like u colitis folks, they recommend a higher blood level. Dr mercolla also talks about it too. My husband, who has colitis, has only been on steroids twice and his bone density scan came back on very low end of normal. He does not eat a lot of calcium and his vitamin d levels have always been low. So finally the bone density scan woke him up to take these 2 supplements seriously.

  2. Thank you Anonymous and Kathy for the tips on steroids, calcium and vitamin D. I take prednisone occasionally and have never given much thought to the osteoporosis issue. Now I will be sure to discuss calcium and D with my doc when I see him later this month.

    George in Napa

  3. A bone density test in my early 50’s shocked me and showed I had osteo-penia, the beginning of osteoporosis. I was a heavy milk drinker my whole life. That made me a believer in calcium supplements and vit. D. Two years later a bone-density test showed my bones were a more normal density! Later I discovered I was gluten intolerant along with having UC so wasn’t absorbing my nutrients. I also take iron, among other supplements. I’m taking the steroid Entocort that stopped a recent flare. I wonder if I should take these supplements 3x a day.

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