Calicium Citrate Benefits and Information

Along with playing an essential role in the formation of bones and teeth, calcium is intimately involved in many other vital body functions. It is essential to the transmission of nerve messages, the proper function of muscles including the heart, the activation of certain enzymes for digestion, the nourishment of cells, and the release of energy.

A debate has raged for decades among nutritional experts as to which form of calcium is better absorbed by the human body. A recent study conducted by the Southwestern Medical Center at the University of Texas recently reported that calcium citrate has an absorbtion rate 2.5 faster than calcium carbonate when both types were combined with Vitamin D and Boron.

Another study showed that absorption efficiency from a 250 milligram dose of calcium citrate malate was found to be 35; from calcium carbonate, 27; and from tricalcium phosphate, 25. For comparison, calcium absorption efficiency from milk was found to be 29. Some, but not all, studies suggest that calcium is more efficiently absorbed from calcium citrate than it is from calcium carbonate. The efficiency of absorption of calcium from a calcium supplement is greatest when calcium is taken at doses of 500 milligrams or lower.

According to 'The Doctor's Vitamin and Mineral Encyclopedia (Simon & Schuster, 1990) by Sheldon Hendler, M.D., Ph.D., calcium in the form of calcium citrate does not require stomach hydrochloric acid for absorption. This means that it is more readily absorbed and utilized by the body and can also be taken on an empty stomach.

Another unique advantage that comes with taking calcium citrate is that unlike other forms of calcium, it does not block iron absorption.

The blood uses calcium for so many functions that if there is a dietary deficiency of calcium, and therefore a decreased amount of calcium in the bloodstream, the body pulls the calcium it needs from the bones. This, in addition to the natural mineral loss, causes the bones to weaken and be dangerously susceptible to fractures, a serious condition termed osteoporosis. Other symptoms of calcium deficiency are muscle cramps, nervousness, increased cholesterol levels, insomnia, and numbness in and/or legs.

In 1994, the National Institute of Health (NIH) reported that Recommended Daily Allowance, 800 mg, for calcium is too low, and that half of American adults are not getting enough calcium on a daily basis. They recommend a dosage between 1,000 and 1,500 mg daily. Calcium expert Robert Heaney, M.D., of Creighton University believes that women need 1,500 mg of calcium a day-almost double the RDA. The average American diet fails to provide half of that amount.

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Supporting Literatture

Heaney RP, Dowell MS, Barger-Lux MJ. Absorption of calcium as the carbonate and citrate salts, with some observations on method. Osteoporosis Int. 1999; 9:19-23.
Heller HJ, Stewart A, Haynes S, Pak CY. Pharmacokinetics of calcium absorption from two commercial calcium supplements. J Clin Pharmacol. 1999; 39:1151-1154.