The ideal way to get nutrients to build a healthy and strong body is through balanced diet1. However, when it comes to Calcium, it is sometimes difficult to meet the recommended levels from foods alone due to the limited availability of Calcium-rich foods and certain dietary habits1,2 For example; Indian women were habitually found to consume low amounts of Calcium3 as elaborated in this article. If you are consuming Calcium and Vitamin D3 supplements due to deficiency or fragile bones4 ,then here are some tips to maximize absorption from these supplements.
Some interesting facts about calcium
Fact 1: Keep an eye on per serving dose of Calcium as the body can absorb only 500 mg of Calcium at one time1,5.
Having one bulk dose of 1000 mg Calcium a day might seem appealing, but our body cannot absorb 1000 mg of Calcium all at once. Splitting it into 2 doses of 500 mg is a much wiser choice. Our body finds it difficult to absorb more than 500 mg of Calcium at a time.
Fact 2: Always ensure you get enough Vitamin D3 from sun exposure and your diet or choose a supplement with Vitamin D3 for Calcium absorption1.
Vitamin D helps our body to absorb calcium. If you are not getting enough from sun exposure or from the diet, then choose a supplement that also provides vitamin D along with calcium.1
Fact 3: Always consume Calcium supplements separately1,5.
Always consume Calcium supplements independently and not in combination with any other medicines. If you take other medications, antibiotics, iron or zinc supplements, or even osteoporosis-related medicine then take them separately. For example; have Calcium supplements during lunch and take the other medicines after dinner1,5.
Fact 4: Follow the recommended dose as suggested by the doctor or by the manufacturer1.
Never increase the dose of Calcium supplements by yourself. Always follow the recommended amount as suggested by the doctor or by the manufacturer on the pack to prevent side effects1.
Fact 5: It is preferable to consume Calcium supplements with food6
When we eat food, our body produces stomach acid to digest it. So eating most Calcium supplements with food might improve the absorption of Calcium from supplements6. Our bones are constantly remodeled, which causes Calcium to move in and out dynamically.
In children and adolescents, the bone building or remodeling process is much more efficient as compared to older adults. A low Calcium intake among older adults might result in osteoporosis.
It is important to remember that Calcium is best absorbed from the foods we eat and the fluids we drink. Vitamin D3 from the diet and from sunlight exposure ensures we absorb the Calcium we eat. For otherwise healthy patients, it is important to eat a balanced diet instead of depending only on supplements. However, these supplements can help bridge the Calcium gap that might result from dietary or other absorption issues.