How to Best Absorb Calcium Supplements

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Calcium is needed for strong bones and teeth and for healthy gums. It is also needed to maintain a normal heartbeat, for the transmission of nerve impulses and for the proper functioning of muscles.

Things You'll Need

  • Calcium Supplement
  • Magnesium Supplement
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D

Instructions

  1. Take vitamin C at the same time you take a calcium supplement. Or eat a food rich in vitamin C, such as an orange. This helps with the absorption of calcium.

  2. Eat foods high in the amino acid lysine, which is needed for calcium absorption. These include eggs, fish, lima beans and soy products.

  3. Take a sunbath without sunscreen for 15 minutes, three times a week. Sunshine is the easiest way to get vitamin D, which is essential for proper absorption of calcium. Stay out of the sun when the rays are strongest, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

  4. Divide up your doses of calcium. It appears to work more effectively if taken in smaller doses spread out over the day, rather than a large dose all at once.

  5. Combine calcium with magnesium in a 2-1 ratio - two parts calcium to one part magnesium.

  6. Avoid taking iron and calcium together. It reduces the efficacy of both minerals.

  7. Avoid taking large doses of zinc with calcium. At high doses, zinc can interfere with calcium absorption.

  8. Decrease or eliminate soft drinks from your diet. They are high in phosphorus, which can cause you to lose calcium. High phosphorus intake can lead to calcium excretion in your urine.

  9. Decrease or eliminate animal-based products in your diet. High intake of animal-based proteins causes increased amounts of calcium to be excreted in your urine. A high intake of sodium is another culprit.

  10. Cut down on junk foods, alcohol, caffeine and white flour. All of these lead to an excessive loss of calcium from your body and a decreased rate of absorption.

  11. Eat foods containing oxalic acid in moderation. Oxalic acid interferes with calcium absorption. Foods containing oxalic acid include almonds, beet greens, cashews, chard, kale, rhubarb and spinach.

  12. Use wheat bran in moderation. Excessive amounts can interfere with calcium absorption.

  13. Check your prescription medications. Some, such as glucocorticoids, can interfere with calcium absorption. Discuss supplementation with your doctor.

Tips & Warnings

  • The recommended dose for a calcium supplement is 800 to 1,500 mg per day.
  • Antacids are not a good source of calcium because they neutralize stomach acid, and calcium needs the acid in order to be properly absorbed. Aluminum containing antacids may cause increased calcium excretion.
  • If you are taking prescription medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking supplements.
  • Do not use calcium supplements if you have kidney stones or a history of kidney stones.
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