Purpose of review: The kidneys play a critical role in the balance between the internal milieu and external environment. Kidney failure is known to disrupt a number of homeostatic mechanisms that control serum calcium and normal bone metabolism. However, our understanding of calcium balance throughout the stages of chronic kidney disease is limited and the concept of balance itself, especially with a cation as complex as calcium, is often misunderstood. Both negative and positive calcium balance have important implications in patients with chronic kidney disease, where negative balance may increase risk of osteoporosis and fracture and positive balance may increase risk of vascular calcification and cardiovascular events. Here, we examine the state of current knowledge about calcium balance in adults throughout the stages of chronic kidney disease and discuss recommendations for clinical strategies to maintain balance as well as future research needs in this area.
Recent findings: Recent calcium balance studies in adult patients with chronic kidney disease show that neutral calcium balance is achieved with calcium intake near the recommended daily allowance. Increases in calcium through diet or supplements cause high positive calcium balance, which may put patients at risk for vascular calcification. However, heterogeneity in calcium balance exists among these patients. Given the available calcium balance data in this population, it appears clinically prudent to aim for recommended calcium intakes around 1000 mg/day to achieve neutral calcium balance and avoid adverse effects of either negative or positive calcium balance. Assessment of patients' dietary calcium intake could further equip clinicians to make individualized recommendations for meeting recommended intakes.
Keywords: Calcium; Calcium balance; Chronic kidney disease; Chronic kidney disease-mineral bone disorder; Nutrition; Renal failure.