Calcium is necessary for healthy bones and teeth as well as a properly functioning nervous system. Your doctor may have told you recently to add more calcium to your diet, which sent you searching online for the perfect product, only to be a little confused. From calcium carbonate to coral calcium, which should you take?
We carry seven individual types of calcium, and it's a question we get all the time. Read on to learn the similarities between supplements and what sets them apart.
The Different Forms of Calcium
When shopping for calcium, there are many options to choose from, which can be confusing. Here are the various forms of calcium available in supplement form and what makes them unique from each other:
1. Calcium Carbonate -- The most often recommended form of calcium, calcium carbonate has the highest amount of elemental calcium and requires fewer daily pills to get the desired amount -- calcium carbonate is said to be about 40 percent elemental calcium. This calcium is found within solids like limestone. This form is also one of the easiest for the body to absorb and is often used in antacid tablets.
2. Calcium Citrate -- One of the easiest forms to absorb, calcium citrate is a combination of calcium and citric acid. This is because calcium citrate dissolves more easily in the system, making it beneficial for those who have less stomach acid to help them break it down. This type of calcium may be used as a food additive or as a supplement.
3. Calcium Hydroxyapatite -- If you're specifically looking to rebuild and strengthen your bones, calcium hydroxyapatite is the type for you. This form of calcium is considered most beneficial for the bones because hydroxyapatite is found naturally in the bones (as well as the teeth). These supplements are usually created from bovine (cow) bones or cow's milk.
4. Calcium Lactate -- This type of calcium combines the mineral with lactic acid. As calcium lactate, the calcium is easily absorbed and utilized by the body without taxing it or causing any discomfort (calcium can have some digestive symptoms). If you have a sensitive stomach, this would be the one to try out first and see how you tolerate it.
5. Calcium Malate -- Binding calcium with malic acid creates calcium malate. This combination creates a supplement that is very bioavailable, which means the nutrients can be easily absorbed and utilized by the body for their intended purpose. Sometimes calcium citrate and calcium malate are combined to increase this bioavailability even more.
6. Calcium Pyruvate -- Calcium pyruvate in the combination of calcium with pyruvic acid. The body naturally produces pyruvate when sugars are broken down. Taking this form of calcium can help aid your digestion while also providing you with additional energy. For this reason and its ability to support lean muscle, this supplement is a favorite of bodybuilders.
7. Coral Calcium -- Most calcium supplements are produced using isolates from another substance, like limestone. Coral calcium is a type of calcium is taken from coral reefs that have fossilized, keeping valuable trace minerals intact. Trace minerals support a number of the functions within the body, helping you feel energized. Trace minerals include zinc, copper and chromium.
Speak with your doctor if you're unsure which calcium would be best for your specific health needs. They can also help you determine the best daily dose. The recommended dose for adults is 1,000 mg a day until the age of 50, when women need 1,200 mg a day.
Getting the Most Out of Your Calcium
One of the best ways to make sure you're absorbing all the calcium you can out of your chosen supplement is to combine it with vitamin D and magnesium. These two vital nutrients help the body properly utilize calcium, storing it in the tissues that need it and making sure it supports the central nervous system as well. Most supplement instructions recommended taking the calcium with food, which will also aid in absorption.
Another important tip to remember is that you take your calcium separately from any other multivitamin or supplement. This is because the mixture of nutrients can block each other out, competing to be absorbed causing you to potentially lose some of their benefits. Taking it close to bedtime allows you to experience the calming effect calcium and other minerals have on the nerves, which can actually help you sleep better.
Which form of calcium do you take? Check out all these different calcium supplements and more at eVitamins and let us know what your favorite is!