Did you know that no multivitamin could possibly contain a day’s worth of calcium, simply because this bone-building mineral is made of big molecules that couldn’t be packed into a single pill small enough for human beings to swallow. Unless you faithfully get three to four servings of dairy products every day, plan to keep a calcium supplement on your shelf – and to take it. Research proves that it can cut your risk of developing brittle bones and of the debilitating fractures that change the lives of millions of people each year. Here’s how to buy and take this important supplement:
For best absorption buy a brand name of look for the USP symbol.
Calcium won’t do you bones any good if the supplement doesn’t break down in your digestive system so your body can absorb it. Usually, name brands, types labeled “purified”, and those with the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) symbol will be tops for absorbability,. The National Osteoporosis Foundation says. Or go with a chewable or liquid supplement.
Test it yourself
Wondering about your pill’s absorbability? Place one in a small glass of warm water for half an hour and stir occasionally. If it hasn’t dissolved in 30 minutes, it probably won’t break down in your stomach either.
Check for “elemental calcium”
That’s the amount that’s available for absorption in your gastrointestinal system. The less elemental calcium per pill, the more pills you’ll need to reach your goal.
Carbonate or citrate?
The type of calcium supplement you need depends on your personality and your schedule.
Both types work equally well. If you eat most meals at home and are already in the habit of taking supplements or other pills regularly, choose carbonate. It’s the least expensive, provides the most elemental calcium per pill (40 percent versus 21 percent for citrate) so you need fewer pills per day – and is vest absorbed when the stomach acid levels are high – about an hour or so after a meal.
If you’re busy, eat away from home frequently, or are forgetful, choose calcium citrate. It’s a little pricier, but It’s better absorbed on an empty stomach then calcium carbonate.
Remember the key with calcium supplements is to have it all actually absorbed by the body, or taking or supplement isn’t doing you any good.
Start with a comfortable 500 milligrams per day and do not take more than 500 milligrams at a time.
Your body can not absorb more than 500 milligrams at a time. If you take two 500-milligram calcium supplements a day, space them at least three hours apart for maximum absorb-ability.
Balance pills with food
If you have a glass of milk and a slice of cheese with lunch, you’ve gotten at least 500 milligrams of high-quality calcium and don’t need a supplement right now. If you have just a smidge of calcium at dinnertime (say, as serving of broccoli sprinkled with almond slivers), and you haven’t had much other calcium during the day, adding a supplement could bring your daily goal of 1,200 milligrams. Don’t forget – calcium fortified foods count too.
Plan to get most of your calcium before dinner. That way, you’ll have time to catch up in the evening if you’ve missed a supplement or somehow had a day without many high-calcium foods.
Don’t mix calcium with meds that must be taken on an empty stomach
It can interfere with absorption of antibiotics like tetracycline, thyroid hormones, corticosteroids, and even iron supplements.
Hopefully these tips help you choose the best calcium supplement for you, and the best way to take them.
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