Hypoparathyroidism and Nutrition

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by Mary Chapman |

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Hypoparathyroidism is a rare condition in which the parathyroid glands produce too little parathyroid hormone or PTH. This causes a decrease in blood calcium levels and an increase in blood phosphorus levels, which can lead to a broad range of symptoms that include tingling sensations in the fingertips, toes, and lips, and muscle pains or cramps.

Here’s some information regarding nutrition, which is central to treatment.

How is hyperparathyroidism treated?

The goal of treatment for hypoparathyroidism is to ease symptoms and normalize your body’s levels of calcium and phosphorus.

For optimal treatment and specialized testing, it’s recommended that you consult an endocrinologist — a physician who specializes in diagnosing and treating disorders affecting the endocrine system.

Your treatment regimen will be lifelong, and will usually include calcium and vitamin D supplements. Because high doses of calcium can cause side effects, you should only take them if instructed by your physician. Vitamin D supplements, usually in the form of calcitriol, can also help your body eliminate phosphorus. Again, your physician will prescribe the best dosages for you.

What are good sources of dietary calcium?

If you have hyperparathyroidism, your physician might recommend that you consult a dietician, who will likely advise that you follow a high-calcium diet. Good sources of calcium include:

  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Fortified orange juice
  • Green and leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, kale, and okra. While high in calcium, spinach is also high in oxalates. These naturally occurring compounds bind to calcium, making some of the calcium ingested unavailable.
  • Rhubarb
  • Oats
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Butternut squash
  • Soybean drinks with added calcium
  • Tofu
  • Edamame
  • Beans, especially white beans, and lentils
  • Dried figs, apricots, and prunes
  • Seeds, especially sunflower seeds
  • Almonds
  • Bread and anything made with fortified flour
  • Sardines and canned salmon

What should I avoid?

Avoiding the following foods can help your general health.

  • Preservatives and food additives
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Refined foods, such as white bread and pasta
  • Trans fats, which can be found in commercially baked goods
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco

Monitoring and medical intervention

Your physician will regularly check your blood to monitor your levels of calcium and phosphorus. At first, these tests will likely be weekly, then monthly. Eventually, you’ll need tests about twice annually. If there are any changes in your calcium or phosphorus levels, your physician will adjust supplemental calcium dosages accordingly.

If immediate relief is needed, your physician might recommend hospitalization so that you can receive calcium intravenously.


Last updated: April 24, 2020


Hypoparathyroidism News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.