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Calcium Is Not Hard To Take

Advertising is already trumpeting the results of a study published in the November 2000 Journal of Clinical Pharmacology that found supplements containing calcium citrate were better absorbed than those made from calcium carbonate.

Twenty-five postmenopausal women were studied and calcium citrate gave significantly higher levels of calcium in the blood and urine than did calcium carbonate. The supplements were given with a standardized breakfast, so the influence of fasting was not an issue in this study. However, the women were not allowed to eat for six hours after getting their breakfast and pills and had been on a low calcium diet. The calcium carbonate may have simply been absorbed more slowly. The actual absorption from the intestine was not measured (only indirect estimates of changes in blood and urine were made).

HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Yes indeed, calcium citrate is better absorbed than calcium carbonate. But is it really important? If you are getting the recommended intake (1200 mg/day) of calcium, this takes into account the less than perfect absorption that occurs. You are better off getting calcium from foods that provide other nutrients. These include milk, yogurt, and sardines with bones. Plant sources such as almonds, kale, and broccoli are much less bioavailable, so you need to eat a lot more of these to get the same amount of calcium into your system.

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