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If you’ve studied your diet and have reckoned that your dietary calcium is well below the recommended amount, then it might be a good idea to take a calcium supplement. However, when to take calcium supplements all depends on what type of supplement you end of taking.
Three factors determine when you should take calcium supplements:
- What type of calcium is it? There are a number of different calcium supplements – all of which have different benefits. Read the label to find out exactly what type of calcium is in the supplement. If the supplement contains calcium citrate, for instance, you can take it with or without food. If the supplement contains calcium carbonate, take it with food. Stomach acid produced while eating helps the absorption of calcium carbonate.
- What is the stated daily dosage? Calcium is absorbed most efficiently when it’s taken in amounts of 500 milligrams (mg) or less at one time. So if you take 1,000 mg of calcium a day, split it into two or more doses over the day.
- Are you on any prescription drugs? Calcium supplements can interact with many prescription medicines, including antibiotics, bisphosphonates and high blood pressure medications. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about possible interactions between calcium supplements and your medications.
Another thing to bear in mind, is that it’s a good idea to take your calcium supplements at a different time from your multivitamin or an iron-rich meal. Calcium may not be absorbed as well if it’s taken at the same time as iron, zinc or magnesium.
Also, bear in mind that one type of supplement might not agree with you. A lot of people benefit from trying different ones, and working out which one works best. Some side effects might include burping and excess gas. If you feel you are experiencing more severe side effects, consult your doctor.
If you still aren’t sure about the best time to take calcium supplements, check with your doctor or pharmacist for guidance.