Calcium supplements are used to prevent and to treat calcium
deficiencies. Most experts recommend that supplements be taken
with food and that no more than 600 mg should be taken at a time
because the percent of calcium absorbed decreases as the amount
of calcium in the supplement increases. It is recommended to
spread doses throughout the day. Recommended daily calcium
intake for adults ranges from 1000 to 1500 mg. It is recommended
to take supplements with food to aid in absorption.
Vitamin D is added to some calcium supplements. Proper vitamin D
status is important because vitamin D is converted to a hormone in
the body which then induces the synthesis of intestinal proteins
responsible for calcium absorption.
The absorption of calcium from most food and commonly used dietary
supplements is very similar. This is contrary to what many calcium
supplement manufacturers claim in their promotional materials.
Milk is an excellent source of dietary calcium for those whose bodies
tolerate it because it has a high concentration of calcium and the
calcium in milk is excellently absorbed. Soymilk and other vegetable
milks are usually sold with calcium added so that their calcium
concentration is as high as in milk. Also different kind of juices boosted
with calcium are widely available.
Calcium carbonate is the most common and least expensive calcium
supplement. It should be taken with food. It depends on low pH
levels for proper absorption in the intestine. Some studies
suggests that the absorption of calcium from calcium carbonate is
similar to the absorption of calcium from milk. While most
people digest calcium carbonate very well, some might develop
gastrointestinal discomfort or gas. Taking magnesium with it can help
to avoid constipation. Calcium carbonate is 40% elemental calcium.
1000 mg will provide 400 mg of calcium. However, supplement labels
will usually indicate how much calcium is present in each serving,
not how much calcium carbonate is present.