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Is cal­cium best ab­sorbed when taken with other min­er­als?

The an­swer isn’t clear. Although one study of post­menopausal women found that trace min­er­als ( 5 mg cop­per, 2.5 mg man­ganese, and 15 mg zinc) with cal­cium cit­rate malate im­proved bone den­sity more than the cal­cium alone, it’s also known that large amounts of cal­cium or mag­ne­sium com­pete for ab­sorp­tion with each other and with other min­er­als. Smaller amounts of min­er­als, such as those found in mul­ti­vi­ta­mins, aren’t prob­lem­atic.

How should cal­cium be taken?

For best ab­sorp­tion, and to pre­vent cal­ci­fi­ca­tion of your ar­ter­ies, take no more than 500 mg at one time from food and sup­ple­ments com­bined. Cal­cium cit­rate can be taken with or with­out food, but other forms should be taken with a meal, as they need stom­ach acid to be bro­ken down.

Which form is best?

Cal­cium cit­rate and cal­cium cit­rate malate are re­garded as the most ab­sorbable. Cal­cium car­bon­ate, the least ex­pen­sive form, is also the least ab­sorbable and most likely to cause gas, bloat­ing, and con­sti­pa­tion in high doses. Other forms vary in ab­sorp­tion, and may be bulkier, re­quir­ing more pills for a higher dose.

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