Mornin' gals (or afternoon for some of you
Make sure you are taking calcium complex (from citrate fumarate, malate, succinate, as well as carbonate). If it is strictly carbonate it is much cheaper, but that is just like eating ground up shells/limestone and doesn't absorb like the others. If you can't get a complex try calcium citrate instead. Almond milk is supplemented by calcium carbonate only. My MD who is also into other natural health options told me about this. Maybe you are not absorbing it well?
Here's some interesting info:
Proteins also have a negative effect on calcium stores because amino acids contain sulfur, which in turn affects the bodys pH balance. Plant-based proteins tend to have lower concentrations of sulfur-based amino acids and are more alkaline in nature. Meat, on the other hand, is very acidic, and the body reacts to re-balance itself by leaching alkaline calcium out of the bones to neutralize the acid. For every 1 gram protein in your diet, you can expect 1 milligram calcium to be lost or eliminated in your urine.
Through his research, Dr. T. Colin Campbell of the famous China Project (see Chapter 3) has determined that even though most Chinese consume no dairy products in their daily diets, osteoporosis is uncommon in China even though they consume only half the amount of calcium as compared to Americans. Instead, they obtain all their dietary calcium from plant-based sources.
A small sampling of vegan foods that are high in calcium:
1 cup hijiki 648 milligrams
1 cup tofu 516 milligrams
1 cup cooked collard greens 358 milligrams
1 1/2 cups calcium-fortified oatmeal 326 milligrams
1 cup calcium-fortified orange juice 270 milligrams
10 medium figs 270 milligrams
1 cup cooked spinach 244 milligrams
1 cup cooked white beans 160 milligrams
The two main forms of calcium in supplements are carbonate and citrate. Calcium carbonate is more commonly available and is both inexpensive and convenient. Due to its dependence on stomach acid for absorption, calcium carbonate is absorbed most efficiently when taken with food, whereas calcium citrate is absorbed equally well when taken with or without food . Calcium citrate is also useful for people with achlorhydria, inflammatory bowel disease, or absorption disorders . Other calcium forms in supplements or fortified foods include gluconate, lactate, and phosphate. Calcium citrate malate is a well-absorbed form of calcium found in some fortified juices .
Calcium supplements contain varying amounts of elemental calcium. For example, calcium carbonate is 40% calcium by weight, whereas calcium citrate is 21% calcium. Fortunately, elemental calcium is listed in the Supplement Facts panel, so consumers do not need to calculate the amount of calcium supplied by various forms of calcium supplements.
The percentage of calcium absorbed depends on the total amount of elemental calcium consumed at one time; as the amount increases, the percentage absorption decreases. Absorption is highest in doses ≤500 mg . So, for example, one who takes 1,000 mg/day of calcium from supplements might split the dose and take 500 mg at two separate times during the day.
Some individuals who take calcium supplements might experience gastrointestinal side effects including gas, bloating, constipation, or a combination of these symptoms. Calcium carbonate appears to cause more of these side effects than calcium citrate , so consideration of the form of calcium supplement is warranted if these side effects are reported. Other strategies to alleviate symptoms include spreading out the calcium dose throughout the day and/or taking the supplement with meals.
Drink plenty of water and avoid dehydration. Nighttime cramps can sometimes be a result of not drinking enough water. Make sure that you're drinking enough H2O during the course of the day in order to prevent cramps during the night. How much water are you supposed to drink during the course of the day? According to the Mayo Clinic, females should aim to drink about 2.2 liters a day, while males should aim to drink about 3 liters of water a day.
How can you easily tell whether you've had enough water to drink? Look at the transparency of your urine. Clear urine signals adequate hydration, while yellowish urine signals less adequate hydration.
Maybe trying to keep a little pitcher of water & a glass or a water bottle by your bed might help. It would be worth a try. Re: the 'strange' places to get cramps - muscles run all over our bodies in all different directions and these muscles may be just as susceptible to cramping as the usual culprits. Try warming the area with a heating pad or hot water bottle before you stretch. Hope this gets figured out for you... keep on the doctor and if he doesn't know, get him to refer you to someone who might. Take a list of any meds you use, also ask your pharmacist about the cramps in relation to your meds as they know waaaay more than the docs about drug side effects & interactions.