Here we have brought together the best answers to how to take calcium supplements for the best absorption, such as the best way and time. Click the link below to go straight to a specific answer.
Table of Contents
Calcium is crucial for keeping bones healthy and robust. If the level of calcium in your blood is low, a disease called calcium deficiency or hypocalcemia happens.
Insufficiency of calcium can cause health problems such as osteoporosis. That is, your bones become brittle.
Calcium supplements are an alternative to prevent and treat calcium deficiency. But, the question is, how and when to take calcium supplements for maximum absorption?
The first best way to take calcium for absorption is to see what type of calcium you are taking.
For example, calcium citrate is not highly dependent on stomach acid for absorption. For that reason, If the calcium supplement contains citrate, you can take it either with your meal or alone.
But, for the best absorption of calcium carbonate supplements, you should take it when the amount of stomach acid is at the peak, simply put, with food.
Because stomach acid helps absorb calcium carbonate better. So, taking with food increases calcium absorption.
Another best way to absorb calcium and maximize calcium absorption is to take them in a dose of a maximum of 500 mg each time.
For instance, if you have to take 1,500 mg a day, take three times a dose of 500 mg at different times of the day. So, taking doses less than 500 mg increases calcium absorption in the intestine.
Best Time to Take Calcium
Since bone resorption peaks at night, the best time to take calcium tablets is night.
But, if you have to take it two times a day, your breakfast is another perfect time for the best calcium absorption.
Remember that if you have to take 1000 mg a day, taking 500 mg at 9 a.m and the second 500 mg at 9 p.m could be ideal for the best absorption. Again, calcium is best absorbed in small doses.
A study shows that taking calcium in the morning and the evening can control bone resorption markers in an early postmenopausal woman.
Best Way To Take Calcium
In the first place, the best way to take calcium supplements depends on what form of calcium you take.
For example, you can take calcium citrate with food or on an empty stomach.
But, take a calcium carbonate supplement with food because the stomach acid is at the peak.
For that reason, to find the best way to take calcium for absorption is to find out what form of calcium supplement you are taking.
In the second place, the best way your body can absorb calcium supplements is when you take them in doses of less than 600 mg at one time.
To illustrate, if you have to take 1,000 mg a day, it is better to take 500 mg twice a day. It is how you should take high doses of calcium supplements over the day.
Last, do not take calcium supplements with medications and foods that block the absorption of calcium.
To name a few, do not take calcium with antibiotics, HBP medicines, or bisphosphonates.
What Interferes With the Absorption of Calcium?
For that reason, to prevent any deficiency related to those minerals, do not take calcium supplementation with foods that block calcium absorption. For example, calcium absorption can be reduced by taking with spinach.
But what foods block calcium absorption?
Calcium absorption is decreased by foods that contain oxalic acid and phytic acid. They can interfere with the absorption of calcium.
Oxalic acid is high in foods such as:
- Sweet potatoes
- Collard greens
On the other hand, some foods increase calcium absorption. That is, lemon and foods that contain lysine enhance calcium absorption in the gut.
Which Calcium Supplement Is Best Absorbed?
Your body can absorb calcium citrate supplements more easily than calcium carbonate.
Also, you can take calcium citrate on an empty stomach.
Calcium citrate supplements, on the other hand, give only 20% elemental calcium.
For that reason, you may have to take higher doses to satisfy your body’s daily calcium needs.
Does vitamin D increase calcium absorption?
Vitamin D is one of the factors that have effects on calcium absorption. It is one of the vitamins that help absorb calcium.
So, vitamin D is needed for the proper absorption of calcium in the small intestine. And it helps the body absorb calcium.
Does vitamin C increase calcium absorption?
Studies indicate that calcium citrate supplements and natural sources of vitamin C, such as oranges, can raise calcium absorption in the human intestinal.
Also, L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C) not only helps absorb calcium but increases the absorption of iron.
Given these points, taking calcium and iron supplements with vitamin C helps calcium absorption.
What are the side effects of calcium supplements?
Can taking calcium supplements be harmful?
Taking a high dose of calcium supplement or with some medications can bring about some adverse effects, for example:
- Severe Diarrhea
- Kidney Stone
- Vitamin D Toxicity
- Abdominal Pain
“Calcium Deficiency Disease (Hypocalcemia): 7 Symptoms and Causes.” Accessed June 29, 2020. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321865
Scopacasa, F., Need, A. G., Horowitz, M., Wishart, J. M., Morris, H. A., & Nordin, B. E. (2002). Effects of dose and timing of calcium supplementation on bone resorption in early menopausal women. Hormone and metabolic research = Hormon- und Stoffwechselforschung = Hormones et metabolisme, 34(1), 44–47. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-2002-19967
Institute of Medicine (US) Committee to Review Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin D and Calcium. “Overview of Calcium.” Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. U.S. National Library of Medicine, January 1, 1970. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK56060
Straub D. A. (2007). Calcium supplementation in clinical practice: a review of forms, doses, and indications. Nutrition in clinical practice : official publication of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, 22(3), 286–296. https://doi.org/10.1177/0115426507022003286
Christakos, S., Dhawan, P., Porta, A., Mady, L. J., & Seth, T. (2011). Vitamin D and intestinal calcium absorption. Molecular and cellular endocrinology, 347(1-2), 25–29. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mce.2011.05.038
Khazai, N., Judd, S. E., & Tangpricha, V. (2008). Calcium and vitamin D: skeletal and extraskeletal health. Current rheumatology reports, 10(2), 110–117. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11926-008-0020-y
Morcos SR, El-Shobaki FA, El-Hawary Z, Saleh N. Effect of vitamin C and carotene on the absorption of calcium from the intestine. Z Ernahrungswiss. 1976;15(4):387-390. doi:10.1007/BF02020506
Li, K., Wang, X. F., Li, D. Y., Chen, Y. C., Zhao, L. J., Liu, X. G., Guo, Y. F., Shen, J., Lin, X., Deng, J., Zhou, R., & Deng, H. W. (2018). The good, the bad, and the ugly of calcium supplementation: a review of calcium intake on human health. Clinical interventions in aging, 13, 2443–2452. https://doi.org/10.2147/CIA.S157523