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Calcium Explained

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All Calciums Are Not Created Equal.
You Need Calcium!

If you are looking for a calcium supplement to add to your diet you may have had one of the following questions.

•"Why are there different types of calcium"?
•"Why do I only get 200mg of calcium when it says it comes from 950mg of calcium"?
•"What is the best form of calcium to take"?
•"How much calcium should I take"?

If you asked any of these questions you are not alone and the answers can sometimes lead to more questions. Perhaps we start by saying that calcium comes from a variety of sources.

Here is a short list of calcium sources that make their way into supplements.
Oyster Shell Calcium
Coral Calcium
Calcium Citrate
Calcium Carbonate
• Calcium Gluconate
• Calcium Lactate
• Calcium Ascorbate

Question: "Why must I take 1500 mg of calcium to get 300 mg of calcium?"
Calcium is never found free in nature, which means it is always bound with other molecules and that is why some of the questions about amounts of calcium seem to be contradictions. Each of the above calciums has only a portion of "pure calcium". There's a percentage of "other stuff" attached to the molecule. So the percentage of the compound that's elemental calcium (pure calcium) is the issue when asking why you must take, say, 1500 mg of calcium citrate to get 300 mg of calcium. "Isn't calcium citrate calcium"? Yes, but the compound (ie. calcium citrate) is not entirely calcium. It has attached to it other elements. Of one milligram (1 mg) of calcium citrate, approximately 21% of that 1 mg is calcium. The rest is other elements. The molecular formula for calcium citrate is Ca3(C6H 5O7)2.

p class=claim>Something else to consider in choosing calcium:


A really good calcium is calcium ascorbate, which gets you the benefit of vitamin C as the other part of the molecule, along with the fact that it's no longer an acidic form of vitamin C... a neat solution to several problems. Again, however, it's both expensive, and difficult to find in many places.

The best compromise of price, percentage of elemental calcium, and absorption would probably be calcium citrate. The absorption is 30 to 35%, and the citric acid reduces the amount of stomach acids required for absorption. For most people, calcium citrate would be the most reasonable way to go.

In a nutshell the maximum amounts of calcium the body could possible use from each milligram of the below listed sources is:
• Calcium carbonate: 40%
• Calcium phosphate: 38%
• Calcium citrate: 21%
• Calcium Lactate: 13%.
p class=claim>And There is still more
What is the best form of calcium to take?

The two main forms of calcium found in supplements are carbonate and citrate. Calcium carbonate is the most common because it is inexpensive and convenient. The absorption of calcium citrate is similar to calcium carbonate. For instance, a calcium carbonate supplement contains 40% calcium while a calcium citrate supplement only contains 21% calcium. You have to take more pills of calcium citrate to get the same amount of calcium as you would get from a calcium carbonate pill since citrate is a larger molecule than carbonate.

One advantage of calcium citrate over calcium carbonate is better absorption in those individuals who have decreased stomach acid. Calcium citrate malate is a form of calcium used in the fortification of certain juices and is also well absorbed. Other forms of calcium in supplements or fortified foods include calcium gluconate, lactate, and phosphate.

And you might have an issue with higher quality supplements. The really good companies will state on the label something like "elemental calcium, in the form of... " and tell you how many milligrams of the real thing you're getting (though absorption is of course still an issue).

Unfortunately, some labels will state something like, "Calcium carbonate, 1000 mg." Are you getting 1000 milligrams of calcium? Nope, in fact you're getting 400 milligrams of calcium; what you got was 1000 milligrams of the entire compound.

We wish there were an easy answer. Fortunately, most calcium supplements are not expensive, so you can take a lot of one that isn't that well absorbed and do okay, as long as you're getting a multi-mineral supplement that has some of the other minerals in there.

Daily Calcium Recommendations

Children 1 to 3 years 500 mg
Children 4 to 8 years 800 mg
Youth 9 to 18 years 1300 mg
Adult 19 to 50 years 1000 mg
Adult 51 + years 1200 mg

When determining intake, you must go by the yield. Make sure the label states something like, 315 mg Calcium (from 1500 mg Calcium Citrate) or 600 mg Calcium (from 1667mg Calcium Carbonate).

Boost Calcium With Food

One obvious way to support the effectiveness of calcium supplements is to make sure you include plenty of calcium-rich foods in your diet, such as cabbage, kale, yellow, green, or waxed beans, and salmon. Foods that are high in magnesium include leafy green vegetables, whole grains, bananas, apricots, meat, beans, and nuts.

Calcium Category and Choices.

Click here for Good Bones Calcium Citrate and Calcium Carbonate. I recommend Wonder Laboratories for the overall best quality and price when considering vitamins, herbs and supplements.

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