You may need calcium supplements if you do not get enough calcium through diet. But, selecting the best calcium supplements is a difficult task. There is an array of calcium supplements available in the market. To select you can follow a guide.
You may fall short of your calcium requirements even if you think that you are taking a balanced diet. If you are an adult you need about 1000 mg of calcium daily. For postmenopausal women and men above 70 years of age, the requirement is, even more, about 1200 mg. If you are following a vegan diet or take a limited amount of dairy products, you may not get enough calcium. Moreover, if you consume large portions of protein food or have osteoporosis, you need a higher amount of calcium. You may also need extra calcium if the capacity of your digestive system to assimilate calcium is limited by some gastroenterological abnormality. But choosing the best calcium supplements is a difficult task. There is an array of calcium supplements on the market. Let’s follow a guide to select the best calcium supplements.
Carbonates or citrates
Supplements combine calcium with other substances, mostly carbonates or citrates. While carbonates contain the highest amount of calcium, they also require an appreciable amount of stomach acid for absorption. These supplements are best taken with food. Carbonates also have a tendency to stoke constipation or a feeling of bloating.
Calcium citrate supplements, on the other hand, can be absorbed easily in less stomach acid. Hence, take them on empty stomach. However, these supplements contain less calcium. You may need to take more of it compared to carbonates to meet your daily requirement.
Calcium gluconate and Calcium lactate contain even lesser amounts of calcium. While Calcium lactate contains 13% elemental calcium, calcium gluconate contains only about 9% of it.
The amount of calcium per serving
It is normal for people to go for products that contain a high percentage of calcium. But, these supplements may not serve your interest in the best way possible. Your body cannot afford to absorb more than 500 mg of calcium in one serving. So, if you take more than that in one serving, rest of the calcium may go to waste, even if it is one of the best calcium supplements. It is better to split your total requirement of calcium into two or three pills over a day. This way you can get value for your money too.
Avoid toxic metals
Some supplements may be made from unrefined bone meal, oyster shell, dolomite, or even coral. These products may be contaminated with heavy metals such as lead. It is better to avoid these products. The best calcium supplements should not contain toxic elements.
Don’t take more than the recommended dosage
Some people are in the habit of taking more calcium than recommended by the doctor. However, this may be dangerous. Excess of any element may have side effects. This is true for calcium as well. So never venture to take more than recommended. Your doctor is always a better judge than you.
Beware of drug-drug interactions
There are some drugs which can interact with your calcium supplements. So if you are taking zinc supplements, hypothyroidism drugs or antibiotics like tetracycline, you need to space the two with several hours in between. This way you can avoid interaction of the supplements with potentially interacting elements in these medicines or other supplements.
Know the importance of vitamin D
To absorb calcium well you also need vitamin D. Without adequate vitamin D, even the best calcium supplements may not work well. Vitamin D is produced in the body with the help of sunlight. However, most of us are less exposed to sunlight compared to our forefathers. So you need to have foods that are rich in vitamin D. You can get vitamin D fortified food or have foods like egg yolk and canned salmon.