top calcium-rich foods

Top 114 Calcium-Rich Foods That Can Mess Up Your Protocol

Calcium is an essential mineral for life.

But, in certain circumstances, eating calcium-rich foods can become dangerous.


For example, if you are following the Coimbra Protocol or any other high-dose vitamin D protocol, eating the foods at the top of the list can increase your calcium blood levels and​ even hurt your kidneys.

That’s the reason why Dr. Coimbra warns his patients to avoid all dairy.

However, other calcium-rich foods may go unnoticed, such as white wheat bread or tofu that's been prepared with calcium sulfate.

The result?

A dangerous build-up of calcium in your blood known as hypercalcemia might develop.

On the other hand, if you try too hard, removing all sources of calcium from your diet, you might develop the opposite problem: hypocalcemia.

In a nutshell: You want to be following a low-calcium diet, not a no-calcium diet.

  • ​Low-calcium diet
  • ​No-calcium diet.

How much calcium should you be consuming in a low-calcium diet?

When a patient has a high calcium blood level, the Doctor may warn me to drink plenty of water and consume less than the recommended daily allowance of 1,000 mg of calcium per day.

However, things are not as linear when you are taking a large quantity of vitamin D.


Because increasing your intestinal calcium absorption isn’t the only way vitamin D ​raises your calcium levels.

In fact, when taken in high doses, vitamin D influences the calcium metabolism of the bones themselves, bypassing the need for PTH stimulation and causing ​your bones to release more calcium into the blood than they normally would.

What should you do, then?

Upon starting your protocol, be sure to remove all dairy protocols and all the items at the top of the list from your diet.

Also, be sure to follow all the other safety guidelines such as drinking at least 2.5 liters of water per day and taking vitamin D co-factors, like magnesium.

At this point in time, you’ll probably be taking 40,000 IU or less, as that’s the common starting dose when doing the protocol under proper medical supervision. For this reason, you need to be careful with your calcium intake​ from the start.

2 months later you’ll be ​checking your blood and your urine.

That’s when your Doctor might decide to increase, or lower, your vitamin D dosage.

Either way, be sure to take a closer look at your results.

Are your calcium levels near the maximum value allowed by the normal range?

Some Doctors will dismiss the significance of that result. After all, if your values are still within range, there should be no cause for alarm.

However, some people have developed symptoms of hypercalcemia, ​such as concentration problems and irritability, even though their values ​were not quite above the maximum level allowed by the laboratory ranges.

Therefore, if your calcium levels are not near midrange, be sure to be extra careful about your calcium intake and to remove most of the items at the top of this list.

If your next blood test results still show a very high level, you might need to stop your vitamin D supplementation for a few weeks.

Never mess with your electrolyte levels.

If your Doctor isn’t worried about them and wants you to continue to take higher doses of vitamin D, be sure to look for a second opinion from a Doctor better familiarized with both vitamin D and calcium.

It might be the case that you’ve found a Doctor who is excited about the therapeutic value of vitamin D but unaware of the true dangers ​posed by it.

A good Doctor, on the other hand, will make sure your calcium levels are kept in check and will pay attention for any ​early ​symptoms of hypercalcemia.

If such a Doctor decides to maintain your vitamin D dosage ​while you are hypercalcemic, he will be sure to put you on calcium-lowering drugs too.

How this list can help you

First, it helps you to understand the amount of calcium present in various foods, so you can better understand what other foods have calcium levels similar to dairy products.

Second, this list may also help if you if are finding it difficult to keep your calcium levels within the recommended range.

When you begin supplementing with high-dose vitamin D, you should only worry about cutting dairy products and reducing the consumption of white wheat bread — as well as cutting out cereals and other foods fortified with calcium.

However, if your blood and urine tests reveal that your calcium levels are getting higher (but not to the point of causing symptoms), this indicates you need to further reduce your calcium intake.

If this is the case, use this list to check if you are ingesting any of the non-dairy foods ​in the middle of the list and try to reduce the​ir consumption.

​On the other hand, if your calcium levels are dropping too much, getting close to the minimum recommended values, this may be a sign that you need to introduce some non-dairy calcium-containing foods in your diet, throughout the week.

You can start by introducing into your diet foods from the nearer bottom of the list.

Subsequently, adjust what non-dairy calcium-containing foods you will allow in your diet according to the results of future blood work.

How this list was assembled

​This list was prepared using two databases, the USDA database​ ​and the database provided by the Portuguese National Health Service. (1, 2)

​It presents information on foods with more than 100 milligrams of calcium per 100 grams.

Finally, even though I've taken great care ​while curating this list, please bear in mind that this list is by no means exhaustive. T​here might be high-calcium foods that are not registered in these databases or that I've missed.

​The top calcium-rich foods

  • 1
    Tofu, koyadofu, prepared with calcium sulfate: 2,134 mg.

The number one spot is occupied by an unsuspecting food: ​Koyadofu.

​What is koyadofu?

It's ​essentially dried-frozen tofu.

Bear in mind, though, that the ​tofu​ isn't the problem.

After all, ​tofu is made from soybeans, and soybeans make their first appearance on this list on position ​55, in the form of soybean flour, with 250 mg of calcium per 100 grams.

Though that's still impressive, it's also almost 10 times smaller than 2,134 mg.

​Where's all t​he calcium coming from, then?

The culprit is in the preparation process.

You see, there are at least two ways of transforming soybeans into tofu.

One of these methods involves calcium sulfate, the other magnesium ​chloride.

But that's not the whole story. Why?

​Because regular tofu has just 683 mg of calcium per 100 grams, less than half of koyadofu, even though it has also been prepared with calcium sulfate.

So, there must be something going on with the process of ​making freeze-dried tofu that increases its calcium content.

Therefore, before throwing ​your tofu away, look at the label and answer 2 questions:

  1. I​s it koyadofu or regular tofu?
  2. Was it ​prepared ​with calcium sulfate or magnesium ​chloride?

If ​you answered "koyadofu and calcium sulfate," then you have on your hands a calcium-bomb.

That's great if you want to increase your calcium intake but awful if your goal is to stay safe on a high-dose vitamin D protocol.

If it's just regular tofu but has been prepared with calcium sulfate​ you also need to discard it. It's just too much calcium in a single serving.

calcium-rich tofu

However, if it's regular tofu ​that has been prepared with magnesium ​chloride, ​you have just the calcium in the soybeans to worry about, about 250 mg per 100 grams.

Th​at's still on pair with some cheeses, but you might be able to eat it every once in a while, as long as you are sure that your calcium levels are under check.

Interestingly enough, neither the USDA nor the​ Portuguese National Health Service ​list tofu prepared​ with magnesium chloride ​in their databases, therefore I didn't add it to this list. 

  • 2
    ​Parmesan cheese: 1300 mg.
  • 3
    ​Ground cinnamon: 1230 mg. 
  • 4
    ​Milk, buttermilk, dried: 1184 mg.
  • 5
    ​Milk, semi-skimmed powdered milk: 1150 mg.
  • 6
    ​Cheese, Emmental: 1080 mg.
  • 7
    ​Cheese pasteurized, American, fortified with vitamin D: 1045 mg.
  • 8
    ​Seeds, Sesame seeds, whole, dried: 975 mg
  • 9
    ​Milk, full fat powdered milk: 920 mg.
  • 10
    ​Cheese, swiss: 890 mg.
  • 11
    ​Flemish cheese 30% fat: 850 mg.
  • 12
    ​Parmesan cheese topping, fat-free: 800 mg.
  • 13
    ​Flemish cheese 45% fat: 800 mg.
  • 14
    ​Whey, sweet, dried: 796 mg.
  • 15
    ​Cheese, pasteurized process, swiss: 772 mg.
  • 16
    ​Cheese, Roquefort: 770 mg.
  • 17
    ​Cheese, provolone: 756 mg.
  • 18
    ​Molten cheese 40% fat: 750 mg.
  • 19
    ​Cheese, Muenster: 717 mg.
  • 20
    ​Cheese, cheddar: 710 mg.
  • 21
    ​Cheese, mozzarella, low moisture, part-skim: 697 mg.

​As expected, dairy products dominate the remaining of our top 2​1.

That's the reason why they are contra-indicated in the Coimbra Protocol.

There'​re ​two notable exception, though. Did you notice ​them?

The first one is cinnamon with 1230 mg of calcium.

calcium-rich cinnamon

Note, however, that this value is for 100 grams of cinnamon.

One teaspoon, in contrast, contains about 2.6 grams of cinnamon which corresponds to just 31 milligrams of calcium.

Therefore, you don't need to worry about it.

The second exception are sesame seeds. This seeds are calcium-rich so be ​sure to avoid all sesame butters​. This would include a condiment made from houlled sesame seeds called tahini, which has 426 mg of calcium per 100 grams.

The next item on our list may surprise you even more, though.

  • 22
    ​Bread, white wheat: 684 mg.

Does this mean that you shouldn't be eating bread either?

It depends.

As you'll soon see, bread makes several appearances on this list. 

That's because bread can be made from different kinds of flour.

calcium and different kinds of bread

Avoid white wheat bread as much as you do cheese because it can be calcium-enriched, as it sure seems to be the case here, since white wheat flour doesn't contain this much calcium per 100 grams, not even close.

But, if you know what's in your bread, feel free to be more liberal with​ it.

For example, regular whole wheat clocks at just 29 mg of calcium per 100 grams and doesn't even makes it to this list.

It's the way that whole wheat is processed and enriched that's the problem.

white flour and calcium

When ​wheat is stripped of its ​various parts, in order to make white wheat, that unbalances its nutritional contents, and that's something you'd better pay attention to if you are striving to maintain a low-calcium diet, especially if it has been fortified with calcium.

​Our list continues with the aforementioned regular tofu, made with calcium sulfate, followed by more ​types of cheese.

  • 23
    ​Tofu, raw, firm, prepared with calcium sulfate: 683 mg.
  • 24
    ​Cheese, Mexican, queso chihuahua: 651 mg.
  • 25
    ​Cheese spread, pasteurized process, American: 562 mg.
  • 26
    ​Cheese, blue: 528 mg.
  • 27
    ​Cheese, mozzarella, whole milk: 505 mg.
  • 28
    ​Wheat and rice flakes enriched with vitamins, calcium and iron: 500 mg.

​Number 2​8 serves as an example of ​why calcium-enriched foods are out.

​While on a high-dose vitamin D protocol you should avoid ​any​ calcium-enriched food items​, be it cereals, vegetable milks or any other kind of fortified foods, most of which have not been included in this list to leave room for​ ​the non-fortified items.

  • 29
    ​Cheese, feta: 493 mg.
  • 30
    ​Vegetable sour cream 58% fat, with calcium: 480 mg.
  • 31
    ​Pancakes, buckwheat, dry mix, incomplete: 476 mg.
  • 32
    ​Canned sardine, semi-skimmed, preserved in olive oil (drained): 470 mg.
  • 33
    ​13% protein curd: 470 mg.
  • 34
    ​Seeds, sesame butter, tahini, from roasted and toasted kernels (most common type): 426 mg.
  • 35
    ​Chocolate powder with high-fat content: 420 mg.

From this portion of the list, I'd like to call your attention to several items.

​​At number ​30 we have one more example of ​how ​to make a high-calcium bomb. All due to enrichment. 

Number ​31 refers to a commercial preparation, a buckwheat mix you can use to make pancakes. This doesn't mean buckwheat contains a high amount of calcium, though. 

​Buckwheat has 19 mg of calcium per 100 grams, making it a low-calcium item.

Once again, it's the processing and the added ingredients that mess up with ​its nutritional equilibrium.

At number ​32 we have sardines. Not ​regular sardines​ but ​canned​ sardines. These latter ones can be a problem. Why?

canned sardines calcium content

Because of the calcium-rich fishbones.

And, truth be told, it can be difficult to avoid eating some of the smaller bits of fishbone while eating canned fish. That's why you'd be better avoiding canned sardines and eat the regular sardines instead.

Wild sardines only make it to this list at position ​90, with just 143 mg of calcium per 100 grams.

Finally, ​at ​position ​3​5 there's chocolate powder.

I love chocolate as much as you probably do. So let's look closer at that number to see if we can get away with eating at least ​some ​chocolate.

​A regular 100g dark chocolate tablet has around 24 squares. Even if it was made of 100% pure chocolate powder, each ​​square would still have less than 18 mg of calcium.

​This means a regular chocolate table, which will often have between 30% to 50% of other ingredients like sugar, would have even less calcium per square.

That's still a lot of sugar, though. However, right now, we are worried only about calcium, right?

But what about milk and white chocolate?

Although these values will naturally vary considerably depending on the ​percentage of chocolate, milk, sugar, and other add-on ingredients, the USDA gives us an estimate of 189 mg for regular ​milk chocolate (position ​7​1 on this list), 199 mg for white chocolate (position 6​8 on this list) and 56 mg for dark chocolate (not enough to be featured on this list).

chocolate squares

That's about 7.9 mg per milk chocolate square, ​8.3 mg per white chocolate square, and 2.3 mg for dark chocolate ​— assuming 24 squares per 100 g tablet.

As a side note, chocolate​ also has a significant oxalate level. This can contribute to the formation of kidney stones, especially when your calcium urine levels are high. (3)

We'll take a closer look at this factor when analyzing nuts and spinach.

  • 36
    ​Cheese, Camembert: 388 mg.
  • 37
    ​Cornmeal, white, self-rising, degermed, enriched: 350 mg.
  • 38
    ​Carob flour: 350 mg.
  • 39
    ​Nuts, almond butter, plain, with salt added: 347 mg.
  • 40
    ​Condensed milk, cow: 340 mg.
  • 41
    ​Egg substitute, powder: 326 mg.
  • 42
    ​Ham and pineapple pizza — filling: 320 mg.
  • 43
    ​Cheese, Camembert: 300 mg.
  • 44
    ​8% protein curd: 300 mg.
  • 45
    ​Cornmeal, white, self-rising, bolted, with wheat flour added, enriched: 299 mg.
  • 46
    ​Raw Galician cabbage: 290 mg.
  • 47
    ​Milk, canned, condensed, sweetened: 284 mg.
  • 48
    ​Fish, salmon, pink, canned, drained solids: 283 mg.
  • 49
    ​Kanpyo, (dried gourd strips): 280 mg.
  • 50
    ​Milk, dry, nonfat, calcium reduced: 280 mg.
  • 51
    ​Cheese, ricotta, part skim milk: 272 mg.
  • 52
    ​Almond, kernel, with skin: 270 mg.
  • 53
    ​Nuts, almonds, dry roasted, without salt added: 268 mg.
  • 54
    ​Cooked cauliflower: 260 mg.
  • 55
    ​Soy, low-fat flour: 260 mg.
  • 56
    ​Onions, dehydrated flakes: 257 mg.
  • 57
    ​Wheat flour, white, all-purpose, enriched, calcium-fortified: 252 mg.
  • 58
    ​Soybeans, dried, raw: 250 mg.
  • 59
    ​Hazelnut, kernel: 250 mg.
  • 60
    ​Bread, cornbread, prepared from recipe, made with low fat (2%) milk: 249 mg.
  • 61
    ​Fish, mackerel, jack, canned, drained solids: 241 mg.
  • 62
    ​Dry fig: 240 mg.
  • 63
    ​Amaranth leaves, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt: 209 mg.
  • 64
    ​Cheese, Ricotta, whole milk: 207 mg.
  • 65
    ​Collards, frozen, chopped, unprepared: 201 mg.
  • 66
    ​Raw parsley: 200 mg.
  • 67
    ​Raw cress: 200 mg.

​W​​e finish our top ​67 ​at 200 mg per 100 grams.

In this part of the list there are also and a few ​items worth highlighting.

First there are the nuts, ​making their first appearances on ​the list.

Just like dairy foods, nuts are also contraindicated by Dr. Coimbra.

​What makes nuts worthy of a special warning?

​Since ​some nuts can be high in their oxalate content, they can contribute to ​the formation of kidney stones, especially if there's also a high-level of calcium present in your urine. (4)

There's also the phosphorus issue.

Although it is often not talked about, large amounts of vitamin D do impact your phosphorus levels.

Since nuts and seeds ​can be good sources of phosphorus, it makes sense​ to be careful about their intake.

​However, from a calcium-level perspective, if you eat​ them in small portions you should be okay, as long as you make sure you are avoiding all calcium​-rich dairy food.​

​This is true, if, of course, your lab results reveal midrange calcium and phosphorus levels. If that's not the case, you may want to ​further restrict your ​consumption of nuts and seeds just like Dr. Coimbra advises his patients to do.

Also, you need to remember the size of the portions you ​are eating.

For example, it's easy to drink ​a cup of milk ​while eating one loaf, or more, of white wheat bread with ​cheese. 

That could be a recipe for disaster.

But if it's cabbage or salmon, chances are you are going to eat them just once in the day.

  • 68
    ​White chocolate: 199 mg.
  • 69
    ​Soybeans, green, raw: 197 mg.
  • 70
    ​Milk, sheep, fluid: 190 mg.
  • 71
    ​Milk chocolate: 189 mg.
  • 72
    ​Yogurt, plain, low fat, 12 grams protein per 8 ounces: 183 mg.
  • 73
    ​Garlic, raw: 181 mg.
  • 74
    ​Raw white beans: 180 mg.
  • 75
    ​Beef cube for broth: 180 mg.
  • 76
    ​Soluble coffee (powder) with caffeine: 170 mg.
  • 77
    ​Raw butter beans: 170 mg.
  • 78
    ​Seeds, lotus seeds, dried: 163 mg.
  • 79
    ​Bread, reduced-calorie, wheat: 163 mg.
  • 80
    ​Bread, whole-wheat, commercially prepared: 161 mg.
  • 81
    ​Arugula, raw: 160 mg.
  • 82
    ​Fried eel: 160 mg.
  • 83
    ​Turnip greens, frozen, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt: 152 mg.
  • 84
    ​Kale, raw: 150 mg.
  • 85
    ​Raw goat's milk: 150 mg.
  • 86
    ​Raw cabbage greens: 150 mg.

​When you ​supplement with high doses of vitamin D your​ intestine works extra hard at salvaging every last bit of calcium from the food you have eaten.

But, if your blood and urine work is fine, you don't need to stress about the items on this part of the list.

​Just like with chocolate, simply make sure you are not eating large portions.

​For example, sheep milk has less calcium per 100 grams than white chocolate, but whilst you'd eat 4 squares of white chocolate and be satisfied, you'd easily drink a full glass of sheep milk.

4 squares would be the equivalent to 33 mg, ​but what about the glass of milk?

​1 cup of milk weighs 243 grams.

Therefore, a single portion of sheep milk would contain 463 grams of calcium.

calcium in a glass of milk

So, don't let yourself be fooled by the apparently low numbers.

  • 87
    ​Seeds, sesame flour, low-fat: 149 mg.
  • 88
    ​Soybeans, green, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt: 145 mg.
  • 89
    ​Milk, lean, 2% milk fat, fortified with protein, with added vitamin A and vitamin D: 143 mg.
  • 90
    ​Wild sardines: 143 mg.
  • 91
    ​Milk, skim, 1% fat, fortified with protein, with added vitamin A and vitamin D: 142 mg.
  • 92
    ​Chickpeas, raw: 140 mg.
  • 93
    ​Roasted and salted pistachio: 140 mg.
  • 94
    ​Corn flour, yellow, masa, enriched: 138 mg.
  • 95
    ​Turnip greens, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt: 137 mg.
  • 96
    ​Kale, frozen: 136 mg.
  • 97
    ​Bread, cornbread, dry mix, prepared with 2% milk, 80% margarine, and eggs: 135 mg.
  • 98
    ​Peppers, sweet, green, freeze-dried: 134 mg.
  • 99
    ​Red bean, raw: 130 mg.
  • 100
    ​Eggnog: 130 mg.
  • 101
    ​Cowpeas (blackeyes), immature seeds, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt: 128 mg.
  • 102
    ​Bread, wheat: 125 mg.
  • 103
    ​Beans, black, mature seeds, raw: 123 mg.
  • 104
    ​Bread, white, commercially prepared, toasted: 119 mg.
  • 105
    ​Milk, producer, fluid, 3.7% milkfat: 119 mg.
  • 106
    ​Cheese, Neufchatel: 117 mg.
  • 107
    ​Beet greens, raw: 117 mg.
  • 108
    ​Mollusks, oyster, eastern, wild, cooked, moist heat: 116 mg.
  • 109
    ​Bread, reduced-calorie, oatmeal: 115 mg.
  • 110
    ​Cheese, cottage, lowfat, 2% milkfat: 111 mg.
  • 111
    ​Broccoli raab, raw: 108 mg.
  • 112
    ​Cream, fluid, half and half: 107 mg.
  • 113
    ​Bread, wheat germ, toasted: 100 mg.
  • 114
    ​Spinach, raw: 99 mg.

​​If you ask someone to name a calcium-rich food, chances are this person will name spinach.

spinach isn't high in calcium

Yet, ​spinach barely made it into our list.

​This doesn't mean you shouldn't worry about your spinach intake, though.

​Since it's rich in oxalates, spinach may ​promote your chances of developing kidney stones, especially if your calcium urine levels are high. (​5)

​Another aspect that may have caught your eye is bread.

Even though white ​bread was at position 2​2 with an impressive 681 mg of calcium per 100 grams, we see it being listed once again at positions 10​2 and 10​4 with 125 mg and 119 mg of calcium, respectively. 


​10​2, wheat bread, it's easy to explain. As we've seen, ​whole wheat flour has ​much less calcium than white wheat flour.

But what about number 10​4?

​The database consulted doesn't define what flour has been used, just that the bread is white.

​However, we can safely assume it's not made with​ calcium-fortified flour.

​M​aking the best use of this information

While on a high-dose vitamin D protocol your safety is first.

If you are getting great results from supplementation but you end up harming your kidneys, heart or brain due to hypercalcemia you'd ended up in worse shape than when you started the protocol.

But keeping your calcium levels in check is no easy task when you are supplementing with a hormone – vitamin D – that greatly enhances your body's ability to absorb calcium from food.

The solution?​

  • ​Make sure you avoid ​all dairy and restrict your intake of the foods at the top of this list.
  • ​Use good judgment and adjust the calcium you eat based on the results of your blood and urine tests.
  • ​If your calcium levels are getting out of hand aim for a daily intake of around 1,000 mg of calcium. That's calcium RDA.
  • If your calcium levels ​are near the maximum value allowed by the laboratory range consider stopping vitamin D supplementation entirely​ for a week or ​more.
  • R​esume ​supplementing only after ​making sure your calcium levels are down to their regular levels.

Always make sure you are drinking the recommended amount of water.

In this way, you'll be able to benefit from vitamin D without ​being harmed by its calcium-absorption enhancing properties.

calcium-rich cheese

Did you found this list useful?

In that case, consider sharing it with at least one person whom you believe would benefit from it.

Tiago Henriques

With more than 10 years of experience as a Public Speaker, Tiago Henriques has done hundreds of public talks. He was born in 1987, in Portugal, and is the Author of 3 books — and counting — and the creator and editor of the Portuguese Science Project, "Ciência Desenhada," where complicated science is explained in a simple way, using whiteboard animation techniques. Tiago developed his own practical and down-to-earth teaching method inspired by his experiences with the Portuguese Deaf Community and their use of highly visual, descriptive and easy-to-understand language.

  • DebB says:

    Thanks so much for outlining the finer details about calcium intake! I feared I would not be able to have anything containing calcium at all. But now I see that i can have things on the low end of the list and still make things with ingredients such as cinnamon or a few nuts and maybe a bit of whipped cream once in a while, if tests show my levels are in mid-range.

    • Hi Deb! I’m glad you found the article helpful. You are entirely correct. As long as you stay on top of your lab results you do have some room for adjusting your calcium intake. Also, be sure to speak to your Doctor about doing a periodic bone densitometry test, like once a year, just to make sure your bones remain healthy despite the low-calcium diet.

  • Ali says:

    I was just wondering if a calcium supplement is necessary if taking vitamin D with K. I occasionally supplement with D and Calcium ( 3 times per week, moderate D dose when taken and approx half RDA Calcium dose when taken ) but am now going to add K to take daily and increasing the D. I already take RDA Magnesium daily and generally my only intake of K would be from diet alone. I am very much interested in the ideas behind the Coimbra protocol. For me this would be any help for autoimmune skin condition. Thanks.

    • Hi Ali, if you are considering the Coimbra protocol, calcium blood and urine levels, along with bone density, will become some of your main concerns. This means that, by supplementing with calcium, you are effectively hijacking your chances on the protocol.

      On the protocol, you’ll take between 125 and 250 mg of magnesium 4x per day. This is higher than the RDA, but required, since vitamin D will eat up your magnesium stores. Your doctor may even prescribe you more magnesium depending on your test results.

      Also, make sure the vitamin k you are taking is k2 and not k1.

      Either way, I’d advise you to be sure to check at least your blood and urine calcium levels, along with testing your parathyroid (PTH levels) and kidney function, before attempting to raise your vitamin D intake beyond 10.000 IU per day.

      Above all, make sure you have a Doctor on board, even if it’s just your GP because high-dose vitamin D will cause physiological changes in your body.

  • Bob says:

    Would the protocol work for skin issues like seborrheic dermatitis and white spots condition

    • Hi Bob,

      It really depends on how much your skin symptoms are from an autoimmune origin. In that’s the case, and assuming you can find the correct vitamin D dose for your system, you should see a clear improvement on your symptoms.

      Also, and not related to vitamin D, there’s a simple folks remedy that I use for seborrheic dermatitis around my nose and the back of my ears.

      It consists of mixing apple cider vinegar and water 50/50.

      Then, you put a cotton swab (or your fingers if you are in a hurry and don’t mind the smell) on that water and spread it on your seborrheic skin a couple of times a day. It’ll sting a little but you can dilute the vinegar with more water if you find that it stings too much).

      The whole patch of skin will get bright red for a few days, but, as I keep at it, the skin will begin to get much better. I tend to overdo it though, and I’ll use the vinegar as an exfoliant of sorts until I can remove all the white skin. I do this for a couple of days and I’ll get clear skin again for weeks.

      Just make sure your wife doesn’t mind you smelling like vinegar.

      Ps.: Make sure your skin can tolerate the mixture first. For example, you can start with a 10% vinegar mixture to see how your skin reacts. As with everything online, exercise caution when applying what others did to yourself.

  • Jennifer says:

    Thank you for this post and for your excellent book. It is a helpful and practical manual. I read your post on the 13 foods to avoid with this protocol. Can you give advice on what you CAN eat? What would a normal day of meals look like while doing the protocol?

    • Hi Jennifer,

      Keep in mind that the article doesn’t say you need to avoid all those foods. For example, you can eat meat, spinach or nuts, just make sure you stay around the calcium RDA for your age group and avoid eating a lot of meat or fish cooked by “frying, broiling, or barbecuing”.

      What you must avoid is any milk, milk products, and calcium-fortified foods, like most cereals and some kinds of calcium-fortified flours used in bread making. There are also some very specific items that you need to avoid like canned fish (because of the fishbones – this doesn’t apply to tuna), star fruit, açai, the annonaceae family of fruits and sesame seeds. Finally, there’s that footnote on oxalates and vitamin C supplementation.

      With this in mind, though, you can eat basically anything. Even very unhealthy things, like sugary drinks and processed foods. Those you would avoid for purely health reasons, but they aren’t restricted in the Coimbra protocol. Though I can take the educated guess that maintaining a healthy diet would help your gut, lower inflammation and lower the amount of vitamin D that you need to take to keep your immune system under control.

      Here in Portugal, we tend to eat what’s called the Mediterranean diet. We consume a lot of bread, rice, beans, codfish, fresh sardines and other similar fishes, canned tuna, potatoes, and fresh salads. We also put a lot of olive oil on everything. Our supermarkets have a good variety of greens and fruits to choose from all year round.

      Over breakfast, I and my wife eat mostly fruit, but you could also make oatmeal or a smoothie without too much spinach. You could also eat cake, bread, drink a non-calcium fortified vegetable juice, eat bacon and eggs, etc. It really depends on how healthy you want to go with your breakfast, but most items aren’t really restricted by the Coimbra diet.

      For lunch and dinner, we eat all kinds of fish and meat. Mostly cooked in boiling water, in the oven or in the wok with olive oil and vegetables. Accompanied by rice, potatoes, leafy greens, carrots, etc. The choices are nearly endless.

      You can also eat any soup you’d like.

      The hardest part of this diet is really the desserts and the snacks, especially if you love ice-cream as much as we do.

  • Deb says:

    You mentioned raw white beans and chick peas. Would the cooked form have a different calcium amount? Also, what about BONELESS canned salmon? Wouldn’t that be zero or at least far less than salmon with bones?

    What about coconut (flakes or milk)? I’ve been substituting the So Delicious brand coconut milk to replace dairy in pumpkin pies and using a little in other baked goods for the same reason. The label doesn’t indicate a significant amount of dairy, if any, so I wonder if that’s correct?

    I had a major flare-up after drinking a So Delicious, soy-based milk for about a week. Although the label said “0” calcium content, I later learned that soy beans have tons of natural calcium. I can attest to that because it took me a long time to recover from the flareup. I no longer touch that product!

    • Hi Deb,

      The reason why you see the raw version of beans and not the cooked version is that the cooked version has much less calcium content and therefore didn’t make it into a list on the top calcium-containing foods. Cooked chickpeas, for example, have 49 mg content of calcium and white beans will have 90 mg for 100g. This is to be expected as food items will lose some of their mineral content when they are cooked in water as the water acts as a solvent for those minerals. I use as the source of this data.

      Pure (100%) coconut oil has zero calcium content. Coconut milk has about 16 to 18 mg.

      If you are 100% sure that the canned salmon is boneless, then it would have a much lower amount of calcium, although I couldn’t find a source for exactly how much.

  • Marlene Lamb says:

    this has been helpful I was in hospital for 8 days with high calcium I was taking 2000 units daily vitamin d3 when I got sick, I have sarcodoisis so maybe I should have not been on a high dose or it should of been checked, home now but worry every day if I will get sick again

    • Hi Marlene, I’m sorry to hear that. For someone without sarcoidosis, 2,000 IU is actually a very low dose if you compare it with the amount of vitamin D3 that your body is able to produce after a couple of minutes under the midday Sun. However, that same dose can lead to hypercalcemia in a person how has the disease.

      Here’s an excerpt from my book about the blood test you should take before attempting vitamin D supplementation:

      Calcitriol — also called 1.25(OH)2 D3, and 1.25-dihydroxycholecalciferol

      Reference Values: [footnote: 188]

      ● under 16 years: 24-86 pg/mL.
      ● greater than or equal to 16 years: 18-64 pg/mL.
      ● with significant variations depending on the chosen laboratory. [footnote: 189]

      Calcitriol is the active form of vitamin D. It is measured to see if the kidneys are fulfilling their function of converting calcifediol — the inactive form — into the active form. [footnote: 190] This blood test does not require fasting.
      The reference values used as guidelines are based on the common values observed in 95% of the population whose values were previously measured. This means when your results are being evaluated in the laboratory, your values are being compared to the values commonly found in other people. If they are similar, you are considered to be within normal range. [footnote: 191]
      However, being that the majority of the population doesn’t lead a healthy lifestyle, the average values used to compute the reference range have been getting worse.
      By comparison, studies of calcitriol levels in populations with healthier habits revealed reference values between 19.5 pg/ml and 38.5 pg/ml (29.0 pg/ml ± 9.5 pg/ml). [footnote: 192] Also, a smaller study of these populations indicated regular values in the order of “23.6 ± 1.3 pg/ml,” that is: between 22.3 pg/ml and 24.9 pg/ml. [footnotes: 193, 194]
      According to the Mayo Clinic: ‘Levels below the reference values are indicative of chronic renal failure and hypoparathyroidism’ — an underactive parathyroid gland. ‘Elevated levels are indicative of sarcoidosis, granulomatous diseases and some cancers, primary hyperparathyroidism and physiological hyperparathyroidism’ — an overactive parathyroid gland. [footnote: 195]
      Sarcoidosis is characterized by the formation of granulomas, small nodules that the immune system creates to isolate invaders, due to the presence of permanent inflammation mainly in the lungs. [footnote: 196] On the other hand, granulomatous diseases involve disturbances in the immune system. [footnote: 197]
      Sarcoidosis may indicate a hypersensitivity to vitamin D, [footnote: 198] hence the importance of this blood test.


      188. Article:
      189. Article:
      190. Article:
      191. Article:
      192. Brot C, Jorgensen NR, Sorensen OH. The influence of smoking on vitamin D status and calcium metabolism. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1999; 53 (12): 920-6.
      193. Bell NH, Shaw S, Turner RT. Evidence that 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 inhibits the hepatic production of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in man. J Clin Invest. 1984; 74 (4): 1540-4.
      194. Article:
      195. Article:
      196. Article:
      197. Article: B4nica-dgc
      198. Chambourlier P, Weiller PJ, Gabriel B, Mongin M. [Vitamin D hypersensitivity is a reality in sarcoidosis]. Nouv Presse Med. 1979; 8 (10): 784.

      Hope this helps

  • Niz says:

    I just had a left unilateral optic neuropathy 10 days ago and I have just started a course of intravenous corticosteroid therapy for 5 days. the mri did not show anything abnormal (normal mri) but the visual evoked potential examination showed poor conduction of the left optic nerve. my neurologist suspects demyelinating pathology (multiple sclerosis or optic neuromyelitis). can i start a preventive high dose vitamin d cure (50,000 iu per day then reduce after 1 month to stay at 10,000 iu per day) so as not to fall into multiple sclerosis or neuromyelitis? and does vitamin d supplementation last a lifetime? I plan to meet a doctor trained on the coimbra protocol but in Tunisia, we do not have a doctor trained on this protocol. I am waiting for the improvement of the health situation in the world to travel and find a French-speaking doctor.

    thank you so much

    • Hello Niz, I’m so sorry that I only saw your comment today! Studies have shown that 100,000 IU of vitamin D for up to a month can be safe and, if you have an autoimmune issue, chances are that you are vitamin D deficient to begin with. However, I never recommend a person to start supplementing with doses higher than 10,000 IU without first getting their blood and urine tested for calcium/24-hour calcium. You also want to make sure that your kidneys are working fine and that you follow that safety guidelines, such as a low-calcium diet and a high fluid intake. It has been almost a year since your comment, again, my apologies for the late reply.

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