Which Type of Calcium Should You Take?

Are you confused by the many types of calcium supplements you see on drugstore shelves? Calcium along with vitamin D is one of the most important components for maintaining healthy bones. When it comes to selecting a calcium supplement, you may be bewildered by all of the choices available to you. The calcium in calcium supplements is usually found compounded with another compound such as carbonate or citrate. With so many types of compounds available, which type of calcium supplement is best?

Some of the many options available to you when selecting a calcium supplement include calcium citrate, calcium carbonate, calcium gluconate, calcium lactate, and calcium glubionate. When considering which calcium supplement is best for your needs, it’s important to know the advantages and disadvantages of these different forms of calcium.

A form of calcium known as calcium citrate has certain advantages if you don’t produce a great deal of stomach acid, a condition known as hypochlorhydria. It’s also a good form of calcium to take if you’re on acid blocking prescription medications since it can be readily absorbed even by a stomach that’s less acidic. It’s best taken between meals for maximal absorption. Calcium carbonate is the least expensive form of calcium, but it needs adequate stomach acidity to be well absorbed, so it should be taken with meals. If you don’t want to swallow a pill, calcium glubionate comes in a syrup form.

When deciding which calcium supplement is the best for your individual needs, keep in mind that all of these types of calcium will work well if you’re taking the proper amount, between 1,000 and 1,300 milligrams per day. These forms of calcium can have differing amounts of elemental calcium, so read the bottle carefully and make sure you’re getting the proper amount of calcium.

Once you start calcium therapy, you may find that you can tolerate certain types of calcium better than others. To determine which calcium supplement is best for you, start by choosing the least expensive form of calcium, calcium carbonate. Begin taking it with meals in two divided doses of 500 mg. each and monitor your response. If you experience side effects such as digestive upset you can switch to another form of calcium and start the process over until you find one that works for you. Calcium is best taken in divided doses of 500 milligrams each to maximize absorption.

Once you find a form of calcium that works for you and doesn’t give you digestive upset or excessive gas, continue taking it in two divided doses. If you’re a woman over the age of fifty or you’re at high risk for heart disease, talk to your doctor before taking calcium supplements. Some recent studies show that women taking calcium supplements after menopause may be at higher risk for heart disease.

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