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The question of whether you should take calcium with food all depends on the actual supplement you are taking. The main forms of calcium supplements are calcium carbonate and calcium citrate.
With calcium carbonate, you have to take it with food. This supplement requires a lot of stomach acid to dissolve and absorb, so these types of pills are recommended to be taken at mealtimes with water. Anyone who takes them outside of mealtimes risks an upset stomach and constipation issues.
Calcium citrate is a gentler form of calcium. While you get the same amount of the nutrient in this form, it can be taken with or without food, so gives you a lot more flexibility. This type of calcium supplement is recommended for people who suffer from heart burn, acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome or those who have less than average stomach acid – like old people for example.
Calcium – in any form – is not great in large doses. So for anyone who has chosen to take supplements to get much-needed calcium in to their body, it is not once a day.
The body can only process so much – so it is a good idea to work out a schedule of taking your supplements twice or three times a day.
Another tip is to make sure your calcium comes with vitamin D or magnesium. Either of these two nutrients help the body absorb the calcium which can then be utilised by the body. Without either of these two the body just passes the calcium through the system.
Remember, if you are taking calcium supplements and iron supplements together, it is important to space them around two hours apart. Iron and calcium inhibit each other in the body, so keep some time apart from consuming the two nutrients.
While we’re on the subject of inhibiting calcium, avoid food and drink like alcohol and caffeine. This can also stop the calcium functioning inside your body.