Getting the most from your calcium supplement

November 29, 2000

ROCHESTER, MINN. -- Many women (and men) can benefit from calcium supplements to their diets. The December issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter offers these tips to make sure you are getting the most from calcium supplements:

With food or not? -- Calcium carbonate supplements (Caltrate, Oscal, Tums) require stomach acid for digestion and are generally absorbed better when taken with meals. Calcium citrate (Citracal) doesn't require stomach acid and can be taken anytime.

Small amounts best -- Calcium is better absorbed in smaller amounts throughout the day.

Adequate Vitamin D -- Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. You should consume 400 to 600 international units a day through your diet or a supplement.

Ask your doctor if you would benefit from a calcium supplement. Recommended amounts vary depending on your age, other medications and medical conditions.

Mayo Clinic

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