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Calcium can do a lot of things, develop and build skin, hair and nails, strengthen teeth and bones, help with muscle contraction and cell signalling – however, it can also effect many people’s digestive systems.
A lot of individuals who take calcium supplements to get the much needed mineral do tend to have unpleasant side effects.
For some reason, there is an ingredient in some supplements that helps bind the stool, leading to constipation.
However, this doesn’t have to be a side effect you have to live with. There are other options that can give you the same hit of calcium without the discomfort of constipation.
What is in the calcium supplement that leads to constipation?
Many people have experienced constipation after supplementing their diet with calcium carbonate – one of the most common calcium supplements there is. However calcium carbonate requires a lot of stomach acid to digest, so needs to be taken with food. However, if you take it on an empty stomach, or produce less acid than average – the chances are, you experience these aforementioned unpleasant side effects.
We have a few pointers in order to avoid constipation.
- Try calcium citrate. This is gentler on the stomach and can be taken with or without food. Calcium citrate is the supplement that is used to fortify some types of orange juice.
- Take your calcium in instalments. Calcium is at its most effective in small doses – the body can only absorb a certain amount at any time.
- If you don’t seem to tolerate one brand, try another. Not all calcium supplements contain the same ingredients or have the same dose.
- Drink water. Constipation gets worse when dehydrated, so remember to have six to eight glasses of water a day.
- Keep a fibre-rich diet. Plenty of nuts, vegetables, whole grains and pulses are perfect for fending off any problems.