Calcium Citrate vs. Calcium Carbonate
Part 3: The Benefits of Calcium Citrate
In my two previous articles about calcium supplements, I discussed the benefits of vitamin D and magnesium as part of calcium supplements. In this article, I discuss the benefits of calcium citrate over calcium carbonate as a calcium supplement.
Calcium carbonate is an inorganic salt, whereas calcium citrate is an organic calcium salt, known as a chelated mineral. Calcium carbonate is less expensive than calcium citrate, but it may cause constipation and an upset stomach when taken without food. It is also not as easily absorbed into the body. On the other hand, calcium citrate has good solubility, excellent bioavailability, and is much less likely to cause abdominal discomfort. Calcium citrate does not have to be taken with meals, unlike the cheaper calcium carbonate supplement.
Researchers at the University of Texas in Dallas conducted a meta-analysis of calcium bioavailability, which evaluated studies on calcium citrate and calcium carbonate. Over 90% of the studies reviewed showed greater absorption of calcium from calcium citrate than calcium carbonate by an average of 22% to 27%, either on an empty stomach or with meals. This meta-analysis confirmed clinically that calcium citrate provides superior bioavailability of calcium.
Furthermore, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology by H. J. Heller provides physiological evidence of why calcium citrate is superior in protecting against bone loss. In this study, the effect of the these two calcium supplements on the parathyroid hormone was compared. When the parathyroid hormone levels are too high, calcium is leached from the bones; thus, suppression of this hormone is critical for maintaining strong bone density. This study found that calcium citrate produced significantly greater suppression of the parathyroid hormone over calcium carbonate.
Accordingly, the United States National Institutes of Health has recommended calcium citrate for calcium supplementation due to it’s superior bioavailability. I recommend taking 3 to 4 tablets of Forever Calcium per day, which contains an excellent well-balanced composition of calcium citrate, vitamin D, and magnesium for your calcium needs.
Back to: Health Supplement Tips and Educational Articles
Disclaimer: The above statements about the products have not been evaluated by the FDA. They are not intended to diagnose, mitigate, treat, cure or prevent a specific disease or class of diseases. If you are experiencing a medical problem, you should consult with a physician.