Calcium citrate is the calcium salt from citric acid. It is a mineral that is present in fortified food and available in supplemental form. It is more easily absorbed in the body that calcium carbonate and helps prevent osteoporosis and promotes healthy bones and teeth. More recently is has been associated with weight loss.
Calcium Citrate Absorption
Calcium citrate is one of only two forms of calcium that is soluble in water (the other one is calcium maleate). The other forms (calcium carbonate and calcium phosphate) need to be dissolved by stomach acid before the body can absorb them. Once it has dissolved in water, calcium citrate produces calcium ions which pass into the small intestine and move into the body through the intestinal wall. Calcium citrate also produces what is known as calcium citrate complex which is able to pass between cells.
Calcium citrate has been connected to weight loss due to its ability to promote excretion of dietary fat, which may reduce gradual weight gain. It may also prevent fat storage in the body tissue and raise the rate of metabolism. In a 2003 study conducted by J. P. Heaney, 564 women were evaluated for weight and the effects of calcium in the diet. Of the 15 percent of women who were overweight 11 percent experienced weight loss when their calcium intake was brought up to the daily recommended value. Some nutritionists suggest that calcium citrate supplements may also help to reduce food cravings.
Gastric Bypass Surgery
After gastric bypass surgery, the body does not absorb calcium as readily as it did before the surgery, and a supplement of 500mg of calcium citrate two to three times daily is usually recommended. Calcium citrate is the most beneficial form of calcium for post gastric bypass not only because the body absorbs it more easily in general but also because it does not need a lot of contact with stomach acid to be absorbed and gastric bypass patients have minimal stomach acid contact.
Other Benefits of Calcium Citrate
The body uses calcium for the growth and maintenance of healthy teeth and bones, but its uses do not end there. Calcium is also beneficial for healthy heart muscle function, action of digestive enzymes and communication between nerves and the brain. Calcium can also bind to other minerals and help eliminate them form the body. If the body is deficient in calcium it will draw what calcium it needs from the bones which may result in osteoporosis. The recommended dose of calcium is between 1,000 and 1,500 mg daily.
You should not take calcium citrate if you suffer from parathyroid gland disease, kidney stones or if you are taking antacids, other calcium supplements or tetracycline antibiotics. If you experience constipation, nausea, vomiting, dry mouth or decreased appetite you should stop taking calcium citrate immediately and contact your physician.