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Some people experience a few minor problems when taking supplements. For some individuals, taking calcium supplements often makes them constipated. The combination of calcium and another vitamin or mineral is often said to make the problem worse. So if you want to make sure you get your daily quota of calcium but avoid digestive problems, what do you do?
Calcium is an important nutrient in the body, and if your diet is low in this particular mineral – for whatever reason – it is best to rely on supplements to make sure you meet your daily recommended amount.
For adults, this is around 1000mg, and for anyone over 50, they should up it to 1,200mg.
Patients who complain about a possible link to their calcium supplements and constipation are normally on calcium carbonate. Doctors find that calcium citrate is a lot gentler on the system than calcium carbonate and has less of a binding effect on the stool. For anyone changing supplements there is some simple advisory steps.
- Work your way up
When you switch supplements, say calcium carbonate to calcium citrate, switch to a low dosage. This will ensure that your body adjusts to the new supplement in such a way that the risk of constipation is reduced. Work your way up to your required dosage over three weeks to a month.
- Take it in small doses
According to experts, the body can only tackle small doses of calcium at a time – normally around 500mg. So take your supplements in three parts throughout the day.
- Up the roughage in your diet
Fibre is the best thing to consume to avoid constipation, so try to keep your diet rich in wholegrains, fruit and vegetables.
- Keep hydrated.
Another thing that reduces the risk of constipation is water, so drink six to eight glasses a day.
- Speak to your GP
If you are on other medication, your doctor might be able to pinpoint the cause of the constipation and help you from there.