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Nutrition Q & A

What Is the Best Calcium Supplement to Use?

The two main forms of calcium in supplements are carbonate and citrate. Calcium carbonate, the most commonly available, is inexpensive and convenient. Both the carbonate and citrate forms are well-absorbed, but individuals with reduced levels of stomach acid can absorb calcium citrate more easily.

Your body absorbs calcium carbonate most efficiently when the supplement is taken with food. Calcium citrate is absorbed equally effectively when taken with or without food. Also, absorption of calcium is highest when not more than 500 milligrams is taken at one time.

Some people who take calcium supplements may experience gas, bloating, constipation, or a combination of these symptoms. These symptoms can often be avoided by taking smaller amounts of calcium spread out over the day, taking the supplement with meals, or changing the type of supplement used.

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