Hypercalcaemia Caused by Sunflower Seeds and Calcium Carbonate Supplements

  • Iqra Patoli Department of Internal Medicine, St. Mary’s Hospital, Waterbury, CT, USA
  • Mehrunissa Kazim Department of Internal Medicine, Holyoke Health Center, Holyoke, MA, USA
  • Saad Bin Jamil Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA
  • Syed Hassan Abbas Department of Internal Medicine, St. Mary’s Hospital, Waterbury, CT, USA


Hypercalcemia, calcium carbonate supplements, sunflower seeds


Introduction: Hypercalcaemia is commonly associated with malignancy or endocrinological disorders. However, sometimes it can occur due to increased oral intake of calcium. We present an interesting case of hypercalcaemia due to ingestion of sunflower seeds and calcium carbonate supplements.

Case Description: We present the case of a 53-year-old man with history of T-cell lymphoma and gastroesophageal reflux disease who was brought to the emergency room due to altered mental status, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. His calcium level was 3.30 mmol/l (normal value 2.23–2.58 mmol/l). Imaging studies were unremarkable. The patient was hydrated with normal saline and calcium levels improved. Once he was more coherent, he disclosed that he had consumed significant amounts of sunflower seeds and calcium carbonate supplements, which were considered to be the cause of his hypercalcaemia.

Conclusion: Hypercalcaemia is common and can lead to critical illness. Although hypercalcaemia is frequently associated with endocrinological disorders, sometimes the presentation is secondary to increased intake. The consumption of sunflower seeds and antacids containing calcium carbonate can cause symptomatic hypercalcaemia. It is important to recognize rare causes of hypercalcaemia in order to treat it in a timely manner and prevent recurrence.



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  • Published: 2021-10-13

    Issue: 2021: Vol 8 No 10 (view)

    Section: Articles

    How to cite:
    Patoli I, Kazim M, Jamil SB, Abbas SH. Hypercalcaemia Caused by Sunflower Seeds and Calcium Carbonate Supplements. EJCRIM 2021;8 doi:10.12890/2021_002845.