THE RIGHT KIND OF CALCIUM
CONTRIBUTOR :: MARCELLE FERREIRA
After finishing her National Diploma in Food-technology at the Technikon Pretoria, Marcelle developed an interest in natural medicine. She has been marketing and selling nutritional supplements for the past ten years and has developed an extensive knowledge of vitamins, minerals and herbs and their different effects on the body. She has found that supplementing her diet on a daily basis, healthy eating habits and avoiding additives has made a significant difference to both her health and her weight.
Here are some facts to help you along in the choice between calcium carbonate and calcium citrate.
Calcium carbonate is less expensive and also frequently used in antacids. It also gives a more concentrated elemental calcium yield than calcium citrate. Calcium citrate is also commonly available but slightly more expensive.
The effects of both on the body have been put through rigorous studies. It has been found that both are extremely safe and up to 2000 mg can be taken by men and women of all ages daily. The only side effect experienced has been bloating or gas perceived by people who are starting out on a calcium supplement. Gastrointestinal tolerability studies comparing citrate and carbonate found that that calcium citrate can cause slight bloating in some people.
Absorption is the other issue. Although it is commonly believed that the body absorbs calcium citrate more easily, a recent study conducted at Creighton University in Omaha, which appeared in the June, 2001 issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition showed absorption of the two forms of calcium to be the same. Robert P. Heaney, M.D., from the Osteoporosis Research Centre at Creighton and senior investigator on this study said that "both calcium sources were equally well absorbed and had equivalent bioavailability."
Calcium carbonate is however, best absorbed when ingested along with food while Calcium citrate has been shown to be best absorbed when taken without food. Calcium citrate has also been found to enhance the absorption of aluminum while calcium carbonate has no effect on aluminum absorption.
Calcium is essential for maintenance of adequate bone mineral density. Osteoporosis, or thinning of bones afflicts millions of people, most, but not all of whom are post menopausal women. Risk of hip and other fractures rises dramatically in people with osteoporosis.
When choosing a calcium supplement, calcium carbonate is the more cost effective choice as well as being easy to remember to take, since it should be taken with meals. Calcium carbonate supplements also require a lower number of tablets per dose and are generally lower in price. McNab's Body Maintenance includes calcium carbonate along with magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin D and Boron, all essential in supporting the body in calcium absorption.
When we heal the body through food, we use sea vegetables to supply completely bioavailable forms of minerals including calcium!