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How to Choose the Suitable Calcium Supplement?

How to Choose the Suitable Calcium Supplement?

Calcium supplements are widely available with many varieties. Some of them claim to have the best absorption or the highest concentration of calcium while some say that they are natural calcium. So how does one choose the right calcium supplement? The following are two factors to be considered;


1) Calcium Content:

To determine the actual calcium content, the total weight of calcium compound is not the one to look for. The “elemental calcium” is the number you want to check. Due to the differences in the molecular size of chemical components, the concentration of elemental calcium varies. In general, the percentage of calcium in calcium carbonate, calcium sulfate, calcium citrate and calcium lactate are 40%, 23%, 21% and 13% respectively. While the calcium carbonate has higher calcium content, it is noteworthy that people who have stomach problems should not take this form of calcium supplement. The reason is more gastric acid is needed to digest calcium carbonate and thus it is more likely to cause bloating or excess secretion of gastric acid.


2) Absorption Rate:

Absorption is the key to determine whether the nutrient can be utilized by the body or not. The pharmacological term is “bioavailability”. The higher bioavailability results in better absorption and utilization in the body. Hence, this factor should be taken into account along with the content of elemental calcium when choosing the right kind of calcium supplement.


Although there are many factors, such as age, the dosage of the calcium supplement and other dietary components, which can affect the rate of bioavailability, calcium citrate has the best absorption rate than other common forms of calcium supplements, followed by calcium lactate, calcium gluconate and calcium carbonate. Research found that its absorption rate can be 2.5 times higher than that of calcium carbonate.


Another type of calcium supplement that is gaining reputation is the ionized calcium, a type of calcium in ionic form instead of calcium compound.  Ionized calcium is extracted from corals. It is water soluble and exists as free calcium ions inside the body. As ionized calcium doesn’t need to be further digested and can be absorbed directly, its bioavailability is high and helps maintain the body pH balance rapidly.



Regardless of the age groups, adequate intake of calcium is essential for normal body functions. For those people who choose to take calcium supplements, please consider the above two important factors when purchasing. Sometime a more expensive product is not necessarily the best as the requirements for different individuals vary. On the other, it is more important to choose the most suitable one!

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