What Is the Best Time to Take Calcium Supplements Daily? | Exercise.com Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

What Is the Best Time to Take Calcium Supplements Daily?

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life. He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women's...

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UPDATED: Aug 25, 2020

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  • Calcium supplements can be taken at any time of the day.
  • Calcium is best absorbed when taken with food because the stomach acid produced aids in absorption.
  • Calcium supplements can interact with some prescription medications.
  • Calcium is absorbed most effectively when taking doses of no more than 500 mg.

Calcium supplements can be taken at any time of the day. The best time for you to take it will depend on your individual needs.Things like dosage, other medications, and the type of calcium you are using will affect when you take it.

Calcium supplements are used for many things including bone-building and weight loss. You should always read the label. They will have directions for taking the supplement.

Calcium is best absorbed when taken with food because the stomach acid produced aids in absorption. Calcium citrate is the exception, it can be taken without food and you do not lose absorption.

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What Medications Can Affect When to Take Calcium Supplements?

Calcium supplements can interact with some prescription medications. The Mayo Clinic suggests planning your supplements at least a few hours before or after taking some prescriptions. For others, it may be dangerous to take calcium supplements at all.

  • Levothyroxine should not be taken at the same time as calcium for two reasons. First, calcium reduces the absorption of Levothyroxine.
  • Second, Levothyroxine needs to be taken on an empty stomach. This includes synthetic and natural forms.
  • Calcium supplements may make cellulose sodium phosphate, magnesium sulfate, and some antibiotics not as effective if you take them together. Etidronate and phenytoin may also be affected by calcium.
  • You should wait at least two hours after taking these prescriptions before you take a supplement
  • If you take digitalis, nitrates, or medications containing calcium can have dangerous interactions. You should consult a doctor if you are on these medications and think you need calcium supplements.

This is not a complete list, so if you take any prescription drugs talk to your doctor or pharmacist about possible interactions.

How Should I Take Calcium Supplements?

Calcium is absorbed most effectively when taking doses of no more than 500 mg. If you need higher doses such as 1000 mg they should be divided over the course of the day.

If you need 2400 mg of calcium, you would want to take it over 5 doses in a day.

The Livestrong website also says that you should take at least one dose before bed. This is because research has shown the body uses more calcium at night to build and maintain bones.

Calcium is also a natural muscle relaxer and may calm the mind, aiding you in going to sleep.

If you are taking calcium supplements you need to drink plenty of water. You will need at least 6-8 glasses a day while taking them. This will help avoid constipation.

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What Are the Different Types of Calcium Supplements?

There are several types of calcium on the market. They each contain different levels of calcium and are absorbed in the body differently.

The two most popular calcium supplements on the market are calcium citrate and calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate is less expensive and contains more calcium then citrate.

  • Calcium carbonate requires high levels of stomach acid to digest and is best if taken with orange juice. This form is found in many antacids.
  • Calcium citrate is easier for the body to absorb and digest. This means it does not need to be taken with food to be effective.

Avoid calcium derived from bone meal, dolomite, and oyster shells. These may contain lead which can build up in your body.

Toxic lead levels cause brain and kidney damage. It can also lead to anemia and elevated blood pressure.

How Much Calcium Should I Take?

The following are recommended doses from WebMD for different conditions treated with calcium supplements.

  • Low calcium: 1 gram daily
  • Heartburn: 0.5-1.5 grams when needed
  • Renal failure: 1.334 grams with meals increase to 2-2.67 grams as necessary
  • Weak bones: 1200 mg a day
  • Pregnant women: 300-1300 mg per day
  • Premenstrual syndrome: 1.2 grams daily
  • High blood pressure: 1.5 grams a day
  • Colorectal cancer: 1600 mg daily
  • High cholesterol: 1200 mg per day
  • Fluoride poisoning: 125 mg twice a day, combined with vitamin D and ascorbic acid
  • Weight loss: up to 2400 mg daily

Calcium is safe for most healthy people to take. It may cause some minor gas or belching.

You should avoid taking too much though. Some research shows consuming high levels of calcium may cause you to have a heart attack.

Unless recommended by a doctor do not consume more then 1000-1300 mg of calcium. This includes the dietary source as well as supplements.

And don’t forget that taking supplements of any sort is only one part of an overall healthy lifestyle. To maintain an exercise routine you’ll be sure to love, contact us today about our PRO Plan!

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