The Different Forms of Calcium – Which Is best?

Almonds and milk

When I think of calcium, I think of building strong bones! Calcium is also important for the body’s heart, nerves and muscles. Without this mineral the body would not form properly. Most people think of getting calcium through milk or other dairy products, but there are many types of calcium supplements you can take to fill nutrient gaps.

Here is a breakdown of the two most popular types of them.

Calcium Carbonate – This is probably the most popular form of calcium with about 40% elemental calcium. It’s also the least expensive form, usually used as an antacid to relieve heartburn, indigestion and upset stomach. If you’ve ever taken a Tums, you have taken calcium carbonate. Don’t forget to eat something when you take this. It’s important to help the body dissolve the calcium so you get the best absorption. Know that some people complain of calcium carbonate causing constipation.

Calcium Citrate – This supplement contains about 20% of elemental calcium.  Calcium citrate is well absorbed on an empty stomach and does not constipate. The downside is that it has less calcium per pill, so you would have to take more to get the full benefit. Calcium citrate is more easily absorbed, especially for people with reduced stomach acid. Older people and bariatric patients would benefit from calcium citrate over calcium carbonate.

Even if you eat healthy and have a balanced diet, you still might want to consider a calcium supplement if you:

  • Eat a vegan diet
  • Are lactose intolerant and/or limit dairy products.
  • Have osteoporosis, receiving long-term treatment with corticosteroids.
  • Eat large amounts of protein or sodium, which can cause your body to excrete more calcium.
  • Have certain bowel or digestive diseases that decrease your ability to absorb calcium, such as inflammatory bowel disease or celiac disease.

Things to keep in mind when taking calcium:

  • Calcium can compromise the absorption of certain minerals such as iron and zinc.
  • Calcium can decrease the absorption of certain drugs – bisphosphonates, and some antibiotics.

Bottom line is that calcium is essential for growth, maintenance and reproduction. Whether you take calcium carbonate or calcium citrate you are still going to get the benefits of both. If you do decide to take a calcium supplement, I would highly recommend taking it with vitamin D since it aids in absorption. Take our assessment to find out if our Calcium Citrate w/Vit D is the right choice for you.

If you’re looking for the highest quality calcium supplements, Persona offers a better way to get better vitamins. Take our free assessment to get personalized vitamin recommendations based on your unique needs. Find out what your body really needs at


Interested in learning what supplements are right for you? Take our free assessment.

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