Calcium is available in numerous products throughout the United States and Canada. Your doctor may have one particularly in mind for you. But, if you’re left to choose, ensure that you are getting the correct type of calcium for nutritional supplementation by reading the labels of the products you are considering.
Look that the product contains one or more of the following types of calcium or calcium combinations:
- Calcium carbonate
- Calcium citrate
- Oral calcium glubionate
- Calcium gluceptate and calcium gluconate
- Oral calcium gluconate
- Calcium lactate
- Calcium lactate-gluconate and calcium carbonate
- Dibasic calcium phosphate
- Tribasic calcium phosphate
Calcium salt, in conjunction with some other substance (carbonate or gluconate, for example), is what provides the calcium. Not all calcium salts contain the same amount of elemental calcium; there is more elemental calcium in calcium carbonate than in calcium gluconate. When you are reading labels on calcium products, be sure that the amount of calcium refers to the amount of elemental calcium and not to the amount of overall calcium in the product.
When using calcium supplements, it’s important to remember that magnesium and vitamin D are essential in assisting with the absorption of calcium so that you will achieve the maximum benefit of your supplementation. Vitamin D is so important, actually, that milk is fortified with it for this reason. Many calcium supplements also include the vitamin.
Taking more than 500 mg of calcium at one time is not recommended. This is because your body cannot absorb more than 500 mg of calcium at one time. If you take more than 500 mg of calcium per day, make sure you spread your doses out over the course of the day.
Talk with your doctor if you have questions regarding the daily amount of calcium that you should be taking.
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