Calcium is one of the most important minerals the human body needs. Calcium is absolutely essential for strong bones and teeth, and helps the heart, lungs and muscles to work effectively. In fact, if you do not take in enough calcium, your body will even steal it from your bones. Starve your body of calcium long enough and you'll have dry, brittle bones and teeth, and you'll be more likely to develop osteoporosis, a serious condition that increases your risk of serious bone fractures.
Determine What Calcium Supplement to Take
Medical professionals know it's hard for people to consistently get enough calcium from their diets. That's why many supplements are now available that give people the necessary daily value of calcium in pill form. There are many different forms on the market now, so how do you know which to take?
Calcium can only exist in combination with other substances. These mixtures, called compounds, are available in different pill forms like calcium carbonate, calcium phosphate and calcium citrate. All different forms of calcium will work essentially the same in the body.
However, calcium absorption will depend on the amount of vitamin D in the body. The importance of vitamin D means your supplement should be fortified with vitamin D, no matter which type you choose. In addition, calcium in liquid form absorbs easier than calcium in solid pill form. Many vitamin brands now offer their supplements in liquid pill form for maximum effectiveness.
The Right Time to Take a Calcium Supplement
Calcium supplements can be taken any time of day. However, calcium is best absorbed into the body when it's taken in doses of 500 mg or less. You can take more doses over the courses of the day---for instance, once in the morning and once at night.
However, the different compounds of calcium supplements can affect the body in different ways. Calcium citrate is best absorbed in an acidic environment, meaning that it will not upset an empty stomach and you can take it any time of day. However, people with acid reflux might not be able to tolerate calcium citrate.
Calcium carbonate and calcium phosphate require an ample amount of stomach acid to absorb, so these should only be taken after a meal. Taking these supplements without food can cause an upset stomach.
Other Considerations for Taking Calcium Supplements
Whether or not you take your calcium supplement with food depends on the type of supplement you take. However, it's important to realize that your personal health circumstances can also dictate when you should take a supplement.
First, think about the other medications you take. Certain types of medicine can interfere with the absorption of your supplement (or vice versa) if you take them at the same time. Ask your doctor if this could possibly affect you. If it does, stagger your medication and supplement consumption throughout the day to keep it from happening.
In addition, different calcium supplements can affect people differently. Some supplements can cause everything from an upset stomach to constipation to excessive gas. If this happens to you, first increase your consumption of fluids and see if that fixes the problem. If not, consider switching your calcium supplement until you find one that works for you.
Remembering to take your calcium is easy once you find the right supplement for you. Daily consumption of calcium is one of the best habits you can have, and your strong bones and body will thank you for years to come.
Calcium Magnesium & Zinc Supplement Side Effects
Vitamins and minerals are important for everyday health. Most healthy individuals get enough of the recommended vitamins and minerals, including calcium, magnesium...
How to Best Absorb Calcium Supplements
Calcium is needed for strong bones and teeth and for healthy gums. It is also needed to maintain a normal heartbeat, for...
How to Best Absorb Magnesium Supplements
Magnesium is needed for hundreds of your body's basic functions, including regulating your heart and blood pressure and helping to metabolize sugar...
How to Best Absorb Iron Supplements
Although most people get adequate iron from their diet, some people may find they need an additional source. If your doctor determines...
How to Take Calcium
Bone health is finally becoming a health issue of note for all people: men, women and children. Calcium is a mineral that...
How to Take Potassium, Magnesium and Calcium
Deficiency in potassium, magnesium or calcium can be caused by a large variety of reasons. Smoking, drug or alcohol abuse, kidney or...
How to Maximize Calcium Absorption
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Dietary Guide for Americans, most adults ages 19 to 50 should consume at least 1,000mg...
The Best Time to Take Multi-Vitamins
The best time to take multi-vitamins is right after a meal with plenty of water, as many vitamins and minerals are fat...
How to Best Absorb Calcium Supplements
Absorb calcium by eating food rich in calcium, such as dairy products, leafy green vegetables, fortified orange juice and fortified cereal. Spread...
The Best Time to Take Vitamin D3
Vitamin D comes in several forms, the two most popular are D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). D2 is produced by plants, fungus...