The Question and Answer Guide to Calcium Supplements!

Calcium Q & A

There is so much misleading information around us, and for the sake of making a profit we the consumers are very often taught to believe that we are giving our body what it needs when in fact we are actually doing little that is helpful to ourselves. Here we will clarify most of the misleading info about calcium.

Which type of Calcium is best?

Mineral supplements such as calcium are made from many different forms of the mineral. Common mineral forms are citrate, malate, gluconate, carbonate, bis-glycinate, micro-crystaline hydroxyapitate, and oxide.

What defines one form as being better than another is mainly it’s ability to be broken down during digestion small enough to cross cell walls and to be absorbed by the human body. The best forms for this are citrate, malate, and bis-glycinate (bis-glycinate is also referred to as chelate, or amino-acid chelate). These have the highest bio-availability (absorbability), and are so close to each other in this that they are all excellent choices.

It doesn’t pay to take other forms of calcium since the body will get limited or no access to the actual mineral. The same recommendation applies to the mineral Magnesium; citrate, malate, and bis-glycinate are best.

Minerals other than calcium may at times have benefits in other forms.

Why does it just say calcium on my bottle, and nothing else?

Better forms are always listed by manufacturers. If a supplement label does not list the form of its vitamins or minerals, then it contains the cheapest, and usually least absorbable form. In this case, calcium carbonate and magnesium oxide.

The most well known form of the mineral calcium and the one put to the most use is calcium carbonate (and of magnesium is magnesium oxide). When calcium and magnesium supplements were pioneered in the first half of the twentieth century these were the forms that were technologically available and used in supplements. It was considered groundbreaking for the industry at the time.

Nowadays, these two forms are considered ancient technology for supplements, as they are the poorest absorbed forms of each mineral respectively, by the human body. They are still used today because they are the cheapest for a manufacturer to purchase.

Does one form of calcium have more calcium than another?

The mineral level of calcium carbonate is the highest of all forms at about 40% elemental (meaning that 40% of calcium carbonate is pure calcium). The next nearest in elemental level is calcium citrate at about 20%.

However, since the carbonate form of calcium is so poorly absorbed by the human body, we’re not actually getting most of that calcium.

Calcium citrate on the other hand is so much more bio-available that even at 20% elemental, calcium citrate provides more calcium to the body than calcium carbonate at 40% elemental, and by a sizable margin.

Calcium malate is similar in elemental level to calcium citrate and may even be more bio-available than citrate.

A bis-glycinate (or amino acid chelate) is not a specific form of mineral but a mineral that has been bonded to an amino-acid which carries the mineral across the cell wall. (Amino-acids are the building blocks of protein, protein is what makes up our muscles and soft tissue).

Why is calcium carbonate so popular with manufacturers?

For starters, it’s the cheapest. Manufacturers also use calcium carbonate for another reason. It allows them to create a simple marketing ploy. Due to calcium carbonates high mineral level, a manufacturer can put 500 mg and sometimes up to 600 mg of this highly nonabsorbent calcium in one tablet. Who wouldn’t be enticed by the statement “you only need two tablets to get your daily dose of calcium?”..when the industry standard is four tablets.

Why are calcium and magnesium tablets always so big?

The problem lies in the fact that as minerals go calcium and magnesium are extremely bulky. They simply cannot be condensed enough to be very small. These mineral products are kept on the bigger side in order to minimize the number of tablets needed to get a required dose. As well, if they were to be divided up into multiple, smaller tablets, we would need to take twice as many tablets to get the recommended amounts of calcium, and magnesium. The problem then is that most people just won’t do it. We’ll take too few, or none, and either way not get the calcium amounts that our bodies need.

Should I take calcium with magnesium?

It’s best to take them together. The body needs both. It also needs to maintain calcium and magnesium in the blood stream in roughly a 2:1 ratio. We should have give or take two times the calcium than magnesium. They work in concert with one another for many functions of the body. For example, calcium is required/utilized by the body in order for us to contract our muscles (to use our muscles) and magnesium is necessary for muscle relaxation. One theory even says that if we take in only calcium, raising our calcium level without raising our magnesium level with it, then the body will release calcium from places (such as bone) and evacuate it out of the body in order to maintain the required 2:1 blood ratio, causing a net calcium loss.

Why do calcium supplements seem to always come with vitamin D3?

Vitamin D3 helps with the body’s ability to absorb the mineral calcium (not the other way around). Vitamin D3 is also essential for the body’s effective usage of calcium.

Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) is a synthetic version of the fat soluble vitamin-d and is utilized by plants. The natural version, vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), is what is utilized by animals and humans. Because it’s natural, the D3 form is not patentable. Drug companies (or anyone else) can patent D2, and have. It’s the reason D2 is what a pharmacy provides.

Can I get my calcium by eating antacid tablets like Tums?

These products use calcium carbonate which is extremely difficult for the body to absorb. This is even if taken with meals when there are digestive enzymes and gastric acid present to breakdown food and absorb nutrients. Moreover, people do not usually take Tums with meals but rather in-between meals as an antacid, when there is no digestion taking place. When taken this way there is actually no gain in calcium benefit to the body.

Calcium like this, that is not well-absorbed, can dilute stomach acid and inhibit digestion, resulting in more of the problem the antacid was originally taken to help. As well, this excess calcium in the blood due to poor absorption (instead of in the cells), can end up as plaque in our arteries. (Also, these antacid products contain lots of sugar, talc, mineral oil, synthetic dyes & artificial flavors.)

What are good food sources of Calcium?

Yogurt and other dairy products, sardines and salmon with bones, green leafy vegetables – the darker the green the better the source (eg. Spinich), fermented soy such as miso, natto, and tempeh, legumes (beans), nuts, broccoli and oranges.

How much calcium do I need?

The National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine recommendations in 2010 are:

Years of age ————– Calcium required per day

1-3 ——————————– 700 mg

4-8 ——————————- 1,000 mg

9-18 —————————— 1,800 mg

19-50 —————————– 1,000 mg

51 & older (women) —————- 1,200 mg

51 – 70 (men) ———————- 1,000 mg

71 – years ————————– 1,200 mg

Pregnant/Lactating-

Women 14 – 18 ——————— 1,300 mg

Pregnant/Lactating-

Women 19 – 50 ———————- 1,000 mg

Now you can not only get the calcium you need but the calcium your body can put to use.

Source of Calcium in Supplements – Which Compounds are Used as a Source of Calcium in Supplements?

Although many calcium salts are being utilized in making calcium supplements, the most prominent ones used as a source of calcium in supplements are calcium carbonate, calcium phosphate and calcium citrate. Out of these, calcium carbonate has been found to be the best, as it provides up to 40% of elementary calcium, higher than all other calcium salts.

A variant on calcium carbonate known as coral calcium, which is obtained from fossilized coral reefs above sea level is also used as a source of calcium in supplements. This source is essentially calcium carbonate but also contains traces of many other minerals like magnesium, sodium and potassium in just the right quantities.

Calcium orotate is another compound used in making calcium supplements, both liquid and in tablet form. This salt is known for its ability to suppress appetite and therefore assists in quick weight loss. Since it is a source of calcium, it can also be used to control calcium deficiency without eating a lot of food, especially coming from animal sources.

Because of our busy routines today, we don’t get to eat healthy diets anymore. Owing to this fact, most of us are calcium deficient and need calcium supplements or tablets to overcome this deficiency and avoid degenerative diseases in old age. Postmenopausal women are at a high risk of developing these diseases, particularly bone disease or osteoporosis. They should be consuming up to 1500 mg of calcium on a daily basis.

Coral calcium obtained from the Okinawa island of Japan is an excellent source of calcium in supplements. Many manufacturers across the globe are making use of this special kind of coral calcium to make good-quality and effective calcium supplements. However, you should be careful in buying these supplements because only marine grade Okinawa coral calcium is beneficial and better than normal coral calcium.

These products are made with totally natural ingredients, and therefore they don’t have any side effects associated with their consumption. However, people who are not used to consuming tablets or capsules regularly may experience constipation or stomach cramps in the first few days of the course.

Pregnant and lactating women are advised to check with their doctor before using any kind of dietary supplement to fulfill their nutritional needs. Food is the best source of calcium and all other minerals. However, when you are deficient of any of these nutrients, you do need the assistance of nutritional supplements to overcome this deficiency and avoid health complications.

Are There Really Effective Weight Loss Supplements?

The overweight are always looking for ways to help improve the success of their weight loss efforts. We all know that diet and exercise are critical to losing weight and keeping it off, but finding ways to help us burn those extra calories is certainly welcome.

There have been many substances reported to be effective in helping lose weight faster and easier. But, do any of them actually work? Well, that’s just the question that one review attempted to answer.

An article published in Obesity Reviews evaluated conjugated linoleic acid, diglycerides, medium-chain triglycerides, green tea, ephedrine, caffeine, capsaicin and calcium for their ability to speed weight loss by increasing the metabolism, inhibiting fat absorption or some other mechanism. In addition, this review evaluated the feasibility of actually using the substance as a weight loss supplement. The following details some of the substances that were reviewed in this article.

Conjugated linoleic acid

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a term for a group of geometric and positional isomers of octadecadienoic acid (linoleic acid) that occur naturally in food. The primary dietary sources of CLA are animal-based products like meat and dairy products. In animals, CLA has been shown to reduce body fat and increase lean body mass, particularly in mice. However, study results in humans have produced inconsistent results.

Calcium

Calcium and dairy products have gained a great deal of attention in the last few years for the possibility that they may be instrumental in helping to lose weight. There have been several significant studies that suggest that when people reduce their overall calorie intake, while increasing their intake of dairy products, they lose more weight than when restricting calories alone. Studies have also shown that, in general, people who consume low fat dairy products daily tend to weigh less and have less body fat than those who do not.

But what about people who use supplements rather than dairy products to increase their calcium intake? Different studies have produced different results in some cases; however, it appears that the most effective way to use calcium to help with weight loss is through dietary dairy calcium, rather than through calcium supplements alone. Because of this, researchers believe that it is not solely the calcium that helps with weight loss, but some combination of calcium and another substance in the dairy products.

If you’re aiming to increase your calcium intake to help promote weight loss, it is suggested that you consume at least 1400 mg of calcium daily.

Ephedrine and Caffeine

In recent years, there have been a multitude of weight loss supplements on the market that contained a combination of ephedrine and caffeine. These supplements were shown to be effective in increasing your metabolic rate.

However, ephedrine has been banned in the US because it was found to be unsafe. Many users have reported dangerous side effects from the use of ephedrine; including death from heart failure. Therefore, regardless of its effectiveness, using ephedrine for weight loss is not realistic.

Caffeine, however likely has some effect on the metabolism on its own. In many studies, people who consumed caffeine have been shown to lose more weight than those who did not consume caffeine, when placed on the same low calorie diet. In addition, studies have shown that caffeine drinkers tend to weigh less than those who never consume caffeine.

The problem with caffeine alone is that since most of us consume caffeine whether or not we’re trying to lose weight, it may have little effect on its own when we go on a diet. If we’re already consuming caffeine, we may need to increase the amount we consume significantly in order to see our bodies respond to it. Increasing your caffeine intake too dramatically can cause sleeplessness, jitters and increased heart rate and blood pressure, so this may make it unfeasible.

Green Tea

Green tea has been shown in many studies to increase metabolism, lower cholesterol levels, burn fat and inhibit the absorption of dietary fat. Part of green tea’s magic comes from the fact that it contains caffeine, but this is not its only weight loss property.

Green tea is a potent source of anti-oxidants, which is believed to be part of the reason that it seems to help burn fat. Green tea’s anti-oxidants are some of the most powerful found in any food, and they seem to help the body burn fat and reduce the amount of dietary fat that turns into body fat.

Green tea can be an effective weight loss supplement, and has virtually no side effects. In addition, green tea offers many health benefits. Green tea has been shown to lower cholesterol and prevent many diseases like heart disease and cancer. So, green tea is one weight loss supplement that can be added to your diet with the knowledge that it’s an overall healthy dietary change.

So, as you can see, there are many products that may have some effect on your ability to lose weight. Each person’s body is different, and for this reason, supplements may affect each person differently. As long as a supplement is safe, there’s no reason not to try it to see if it works for you. If you do find a supplement that’s effective, you’re one step closer to achieving your weight loss goals, and with less effort, as well.