Calcium supplements are required for people following a diet with insufficient calcium. Furthermore, many individuals facing the risk of osteoporosis, especially women, may require calcium supplements for bone health.
However, how can you determine that you are taking the right calcium supplements?
Even though the supplements are in form of tablets or capsules containing either Calcium Carbonate or Calcium Citrate, they often cause minimal to severe side effects.
Keep reading to learn about the right Calcium Supplements and the organic way of fulfilling the requirements without them. You will also learn whether you need them or not and the right amount your body requires.
Who Are in Need of Calcium Supplement?
Even following a healthy diet chart, there are still enough chances of facing calcium deficiency. Your nutritionist may suggest you have calcium supplement in the following cases you are
- Lactose intolerant and cannot have dairy products,
- Following a vegan diet with fewer calcium-rich ingredients,
- Suffering from celiac or inflammatory bowel diseases that lessen the ability of the body to absorb calcium,
- Consuming corticosteroids for a longer period, or
- Excreting calcium from your body results from receiving more protein and sodium than calcium.
Without any delay, you must consult with your dietitian about whether you should take calcium supplements or not.
What Are the Available Good Calcium Supplements?
Most physicians or nutritionists suggest taking calcium supplements containing calcium carbonate or Calcium Citrate as their main ingredient and a mixture of a few other minerals and vitamins.
Some supplements like Coral Calcium Supreme provides Calcium, Magnesium, and other Essential vitamins – A, B (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and B12), C, D3, E, and trace minerals.
Which Calcium Component Do You Need?
While buying the supplement, it is important to check whether you are getting the right one for yourself or not.
You need to look for the following elemental calcium components on your supplement bottle-
- Calcium Carbonate: elemental calcium level: 40%
- Calcium Citrate: elemental calcium level: 21%
- Calcium Lactate: elemental calcium level: 13%
- Calcium Gluconate: elemental calcium level: 9%
You may find two common components: Calcium Carbonate and Calcium Citrate. Most people prefer to consume supplements containing Carbonate as their main ingredient as it is cheaper than the other ones and easily accessible.
However, while taking the carbonate supplement, keep in mind that you have to take it in full stomach. Otherwise, your body cannot absorb the mineral properly.
Again, you can take Calcium Citrate with or without food as it is easily absorbable through the gut wall. In special cases, you may need to obtain a supplement containing Lactate or Gluconate.
In any case, check the label in the first place to ensure that you will be getting enough Calcium in each dose, and consult your doctor about whether it is the right amount or not.
Your respected physician can suggest the proper supplement for you that maintains a natural ratio of every mineral and vitamin.
How Does Your Body Interacts With Calcium Supplements?
Our body is capable of absorbing various components when we eat.
However, giving the body an extra boost of calcium through supplements may interact with the body differently and can cause some side effects.
A few side effects are given below:
- Acidic gastritis, or
We have mentioned already consuming the supplement with food to avoid such side effects. Moreover, drinking water and other fluids can improve such conditions.
While starting the supplement, it is better to start from a lower dose. It helps the body to get used to the extra calcium gradually. Initiate from 200-300mg dose every day for a week.
If you are taking:
- Medication for Paget’s disease (chronic bone disorder) or Osteoporosis,
- Synthetic thyroid hormones,
- Blood pressure medications,
- Bisphosphonates, or
- Calcium Channel Blockers – you may need to limit your supplement as they interact with the drugs, making them less effective.
On the contrary, you must limit laxatives, antacids, and steroid consumption as they pull out calcium from the body with other toxic substances.
How to Choose the Right Calcium Supplements?
Choosing the right Calcium Supplement is sometimes difficult, as many supplements are available in the market with attractive commercials and packaging.
We recommend consulting your nutritionist and following the prescription before getting any. While following the prescription, it is better to monitor the period you are taking the medication.
Monitoring the effects will help you decide whether the supplement you are taking is right for you. Here are a few crucial factors that will affect your choice of Calcium Supplement for you:
As mentioned above, a Calcium supplement can cause unwanted side effects. You may need to change different brands to determine which is best compatible with your body.
Consult with your pharmacist to find a less interactive supplement if you are on a prescription regimen already for any disease.
● Calcium Level:
The elemental calcium content of a supplement is significant since it represents the calcium supplement’s true content. This amount is what the body uses to build strong bones and maintain overall health.
It is helpful to check the Supplement Facts label on calcium supplements to see how much calcium you will receive in a single serving.
Calcium carbonate, for instance, contains 500 milligrams of elemental calcium for every 1,250 milligrams (mg) of calcium carbonate (as Calcium Carbonate: elemental calcium level: 40%).
To know the calcium level in a serving, you’ll need to know the serving size (in this case, the number of pills).
● Form of Supplement:
There are various forms available in the market as calcium supplements. You can take any of the following forms: Capsules, Tablets, Liquids, powders, or chews at your convenience.
● Cost and Quality:
The price of calcium supplements varies widely. If you’re on a tight budget, compare shops or consult the pharmacist.
The responsibility of assuring the quality and safety of dietary supplements rests squarely on the shoulders of the manufacturers.
The U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), NSF International, and ConsumerLab.com (CL) are a few of the organizations that independently test products for various brands.
Hence, check the label of your supplement to ensure whether the quality is tested or not.
What Are the Other Ways to Obtain Extra Calcium?
After diagnosing with Calcium deficiency, people often tend to take medications to fill up the quota of Calcium in the body as soon as possible. However, you have already read about the side effects and drug-drug interaction.
So, what can be the right Calcium supplement other than the medicated and processed ones?
First of all, try exercising regularly to strengthen your body. And secondly, you need to include certain food items in your diet.
● Bone-Fortifying Workouts
Increasing your daily activity level also helps your bones. Studies show that compared to less sedentary women, those who sit for more than nine hours a day are 50% more likely to suffer a hip fracture.
Hence, increasing your time on your feet or standing might have a cumulative effect. Park away from the office building or residence, consider using the stairs instead of the elevator and feel free to walk around while talking on the phone.
Regular exercise and movement safeguard bone health. Bone loss can be prevented using weight-bearing workouts like walking, running, and weight lifting.
● Food Items Containing Calcium:
Some fruits, vegetables, plant-based proteins, and dairy products are rich in calcium. Add up these ingredients in your meal to have an extra dose of Calcium:
- Pinto beans,
- Dried figs,
- Yogurt or milk (for lactose-tolerant people)
- Leafy green vegetables, for example, spinach.
It is always better to depend on natural and organic sources to ensure you take the right Calcium Supplement. Modify your diet a little and practice healthy exercise habits regularly to see the changes in your bone health.
However, if you feel that your body needs calcium or if the doctor prescribes a supplement to you, make sure you take one that suits your body. If you still feel pain or become easily tired while working, consult your dietitian and ask for a supplement that your body can easily absorb.