From preventing osteoporosis to maintaining cardiovascular health, calcium is vital nutrient. A deficiency can lead to serious problems, from tooth decay and brittle bones, to high blood pressure and depression. Taking calcium supplements is a great way to make sure the body has enough. Knowing how to take the best calcium supplement available, is an even better way to ensure proper absorption and utilization of this mineral.
What Hinders Calcium Absorption?
Taking calcium supplements is only beneficial if the mineral is actually absorbed. If not, it merely leaves the body as easily as it was introduced. Important factors to consider are:
- exercise levels: Too much exercise limits the absorption of calcium, while moderate exercise actually promotes it.
- diet: A diet rich in protein, fats, and sugars will make it difficult for calcium to be absorbed.
- Eating excessive amounts of foods which are high in oxalic acid, such as spinach, beet greens, almonds, cashews, rhubarb, and cocoa, is believed to block calcium.
- Other nutrients can cause problems. Iron binds with calcium, making both minerals ineffective. High amounts of magnesium, phosphorous, or zinc can make calcium supplementation ineffective as well.
What Enhances a Calcium Dietary Supplement?
While an excess of other nutrients in the bloodstream, indulgent dietary habits, and too much exercise, can all inhibit absorption, as well as increase the need for calcium, a balanced lifestyle will promote proper, efficient utilization. Calcium does need other nutrients to be absorbed. Adequate levels of vitamin D are necessary in the body. Vitamin K helps bind calcium to bone. Healthy levels of magnesium and phosphorous actually help with absorption. The amino acid, lysine, found in most dairy products, eggs, fish, beans, and meats, aids calcium supplementation.
Timing also enhances a calcium dietary supplement. It is more effective to take supplements throughout the day and at night in smaller doses, rather than taking one large dose. 500 milligrams of calcium is the most that can be absorbed at one time. Taking a vitamin with two or three times this amount is not more beneficial. The best way to take supplements, is to take at two or three different times, with meals. Taking calcium supplements at night is great for promoting a more restful sleep.
Chewable and Liquid Calcium Supplements
Which calcium supplements are best? Traditional pills, chewable, or liquid calcium supplements? Which form is most bioavailable — calcium citrate, carbonate, phosphate, or even coral calcium? When looking for the best type of calcium supplement, the most expensive, nor what is labeled as the most natural, is not necessarily the best.
Both chewable and liquid supplements are easier for the body to absorb. Pills are fine, although they still have to be broken down once they enter the stomach. Calcium carbonate, citrate, and phosphate tend to have low levels of bioavailability. Coral calcium has great potential, although it may be difficult to find a well-regulated brand. Both calcium citrate malate, and calcium orotate are more readily absorbed by the body.
Tips for Taking Calcium Supplements
Talk to a doctor about taking calcium supplements, especially if on any kind of medication. Take the time to read labels, and look for the most effective product. Eat a balanced diet for the nutrients which are necessary for absorption, such as vitamin D, as well as for the nutrients that calcium may interfere with. As few adults get enough of this essential mineral in their diet, proper calcium supplementation may be beneficial for preventing disease and promoting well-being for many people.