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Frequently Asked Questions

In order to prevent osteoporosis I decided to buy some calcium tablets. I have heard there are several types of tablets containing different compounds such as calcium citrate, calcium carbonate, calcium sulphate and calcium phosphate. Does it matter which type of calcium compound is in the product?

Wenke Steveling

The best way to get enough calcium is via the diet, particularly in the form of dairy products like cheese and yoghurt which contain also Vitamin D to improve calcium absorption.  Other foods with calcium include certain dried fruit, green vegetables, wholemeal bread or calcium-fortified foods. As well as a healthy diet, regular exercise builds bone mass and density during formative years. Exercise is just as important in later years, as a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of osteoporosis.

For people who have a low dietary intake of calcium, supplementation with calcium and Vitamin D maybe needed.

A wide variety of calcium supplements, including calcium carbonate, calcium phosphate and calcium citrate, are available in a wide range of preparations, combinations (with vitamins and other minerals) and strengths (containing different amounts of calcium), which can make selecting one a confusing experience. The "best" supplement is the one that meets an individual’s needs based on tolerance, convenience, cost and availability. In choosing a calcium supplement, the following are important considerations: purity, absorbability, tolerance, interactions (between prescription or over-the-counter medications and calcium supplements) and combinations used. The best advice is that you check with your doctor to see which form suits you best.

High dietary intakes of protein, caffeine, phosphorus, and sodium are the other dietary factors that can have an adverse effect on calcium balance, but their effects appear less important in individuals with adequate calcium intakes. As the mineral content of water varies a lot from one mineral water to another, the best is to read the labels.

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The European Food Information Council (EUFIC) is a non-profit organisation which communicates science-based information on nutrition and health, food safety and quality, to help consumers to be better informed when choosing a well-balanced, safe and healthful diet.

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This site was last updated 01/09/2014
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