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What are the Different Types of Calcium Supplements?

By J. Beam
Updated May 17, 2024
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Calcium is the most prevalent mineral in the body and adequate calcium intake is essential to healthy bone development and health. It has been proven that calcium prevents osteoporosis, and the effect of this mineral on other conditions is also being studied. While it is recommended the daily recommended intake be obtained from eating a variety of calcium-rich foods, it may become necessary for individuals to take calcium supplements to obtain the recommended daily intake of this important mineral.

There are two primary forms of calcium supplements – calcium carbonate and calcium citrate. Calcium carbonate supplements contain more calcium than calcium citrate. These supplements may also take the form of gluconate, lactate, or phosphate, but calcium carbonate is the most common form of supplement for this mineral.

There are basically two types of calcium supplements available. Supplements in the form of a pill are most common in the health and nutrition aisles of drugstores. For individuals who have no aversion to swallowing a pill and who cannot meet or have difficulty meeting their recommended daily intake, the pill supplements are ideal. Taking only one pill can account for an entire day’s worth of calcium. However, calcium pills are large and bulky, compared to an aspirin, for instance, and some people, especially children, may have difficulty swallowing them.

Another readily available type of calcium supplement comes in a chewable form. Soft and available in flavors such as chocolate, caramel, or fruit, these are easier for some people to take. The primary difference between chewable supplements and pills is the amount of calcium contained in them. The chewables contain less calcium than pills, requiring the person to take more to meet the daily recommended intake. However, for children and those who can obtain some calcium from food sources, chewable supplements are a good option.

If you are concerned about your calcium intake and believe calcium supplements may benefit you, you should talk to your doctor about your recommended daily intake and develop a dietary plan around any supplements before you take them.

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Discussion Comments
By MissDaphne — On May 06, 2012

@abundancer - And another nice thing about leafy greens is that they do contain animal protein. Digesting animal protein takes a lot of calcium, so the more meat and even dairy you consume, the more calcium you need!

I take a calcium dietary supplement because it seems to be one of the few supplements that is really well-supported by research. I take pills most of the time, but when I am pregnant, I take chewables - that is, I take Tums! I get bad heartburn and Tums (and other brand equivalents) are the safest way to treat it.

Once I start needing the Tums, I stop taking my regular calcium supplement (aside from what's in my prenatal vitamin) to avoid overloading. No one wants kidney stones!

By abundancer — On Mar 06, 2011

When I think about my daily intake of calcium from my diet, I think about dairy foods. However, another great source of calcium that I have found is green foods. They are loaded with calcium as well as the other nutritional benefits we typically associate with greens.

I also found a great supplement. According to my N.D., one of the best calcium supplements is a combination calcium and magnesium. The magnesium helps your body to absorb the calcium.

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