Customers walking into a health food store today are faced with a vast array of calcium supplements. They might ask: Which one should I pick? Which one is best? Not easy questions to answer. All calcium forms will accomplish the same task: providing your body with a nutrient that it needs to build healthy bones and teeth; however, which form of calcium has the features the customer wants in a calcium supplement? Looking at shelves of calcium products is kind of like shopping for a car; there are many makes and many models—some are basic and others are more sophisticated.
Fortunately, there are many forms of calcium to satisfy a customer’s needs. Like the car lot, a health food store offers many options; therefore, we have to select a calcium products that consumers will feel confident in taking regularly and that will provide the most benefit. Some consumers have done research and will come armed with information. They have already made choices based on advertising, word-of-mouth or an article they have read. They already know the form of calcium they want, be it a “Ferrari” or a “Ford.”
If there is not a specific preference: Asking these basic questions will help in the selection process: “Do you prefer tablets, capsules, soft gels, liquid or powder?” Tablets are for consumers who want high dosage in fewer pills. Capsules are flavorless and may be easier to swallow than tablets for some. Soft gels have a slicker surface and may slide down the throat more easily for some. Liquids are easiest to swallow and are available in different flavors. Powders are flavorless, versatile and can be mixed with food or beverages.
Other questions may be, “Do you have high or low stomach acid?” Should you use a calcium that has buffering action or a calcium that does not further reduce your stomach acid? “Do you have absorption issues?” Rapid transit time in the bowels may affect a person’s choice of calcium.
What is calcium? Calcium (Ca) is one of the most important minerals found in our bones and teeth—99 percent of body calcium is found there. But the calcium molecule does not like to travel alone and, in its most basic state, it comes bonded to carbon (C), oxygen (O), and/or hydrogen (H) molecules or in more complex form, it is bonded to organic or amino acids that act as stabilizing carriers. On most labels, the amount of calcium listed actually indicates the pure or elemental calcium because it is that amount of the calcium that is deemed important to our daily supplementation, not the complex of materials with which it is bonded.
Where does calcium come from? Other than the calcium found in bone, the only natural form of calcium found in nature is calcium carbonate, a calcium molecule bonded to one molecule of carbon and three molecules of oxygen (CaCO3). One of the most common minerals on the face of the earth, calcium carbonate is called calcite, aragonite or vaterite by geologists. In its geological forms, it constitutes approximately four percent, by weight, of the earth’s crust. Commercial sources of calcium carbonate used to make supplements are: limestone, dolomite, oyster shell, egg shell, coral and sea water (have you ever seen that white deposit left by hard water? That’s mostly calcium carbonate). Calcium carbonate is the starting material for all other forms of calcium supplements. From this starting material, calcium can be reduced to more concentrated forms, such as oxide or hydroxide or it can be chelated (bonded) to organic acids and amino acids to help support enhanced absorption.
This article is used by permission from Nutraceutical’s Education Specialist and is for information only. Do not make any changes in your diet or lifestyle without consulting with your preventive healthcare practitioner. We pray for your continued health and prosperity in accordance with 3 John 2, blessings, Donna.