What is calcium citrate used for? Learn about the benefits and side effects of calcium citrate and precautions to take with this supplement
Calcium citrate is used to treat or prevent calcium deficiency. While calcium is found naturally in some foods, sometimes you may not be able to get enough calcium from your diet, or you may have a condition that causes low absorption of calcium.
What conditions can cause calcium deficiency?
Medical conditions that may require calcium supplementation include:
- Osteoporosis (weak, brittle bones)
- Bone fractures
- Ulcerative colitis
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Celiac disease
- Advanced age
- Vegan lifestyle
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding
What medications can cause calcium deficiency?
Certain medications may cause calcium deficiency. Hence, your doctor may prescribe you calcium citrate along with these medications:
As opposed to calcium carbonate, calcium citrate gets readily absorbed in your body. Since it can be taken on an empty stomach, it is especially beneficial for people who are on gastric acid-reducing medications (for heartburn), such as omeprazole.
What does calcium do for your body?
Your body needs calcium to build and maintain its skeletal system. About 99% of calcium in your body is stored in bones and teeth to make them strong. The other 1% of calcium is stored in your blood and soft tissues and plays important role in:
- Blood clotting
- Blood vessel contraction
- Muscle contraction
- Secretion of enzymes and hormones
- Functioning of the nervous system
- Maintenance of normal heart rhythms
- Maintenance of healthy blood pressure
What precautions should you take with calcium citrate?
Since calcium citrate may not be suitable for everyone, ask your doctor before you start taking it. Your doctor may not advise you to take calcium citrate if you have any of the following conditions:
- Kidney diseases, such as kidney failure or stones
- Hyperactive parathyroid gland
- Increased calcium levels in the blood
- Increased calcium levels in the urine
- Achlorhydria (little or no stomach acid)
- Malabsorption syndrome (difficulty absorbing nutrients from the intestine)
- Sarcoidosis (an inflammatory disease that affects multiple organs in the body, most commonly the lungs and lymph glands)
Calcium supplements can also interfere with the absorption of iron, magnesium, zinc, and thyroxine. So it’s best to keep a 4-hour gap between taking calcium citrate and multivitamins or iron supplements. Your doctor can offer guidance regarding proper dosage and timing.
Next to red peppers, you can get the most vitamin C from ________________.
Does calcium citrate cause side effects?
In most cases, taking calcium supplements don’t cause serious side effects. However, sometimes side effects may result when calcium levels increase in the blood, a condition called hypercalcemia. Consult your doctor if you notice any of the following signs and symptoms:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Muscle or bone pain
- Mood swings
- Increased thirst or urination
- Lack of energy
- Sudden weight gain
While rare, calcium citrate may cause an allergic reaction in some people. Inform your doctor immediately if you develop symptoms after taking calcium citrate, such as: