Benefits of Calcium

– It builds strong bones and teeth.
– It helps in facilitating the movement of nutrients across cell membranes.
– It helps prevent osteoporosis.
– It is needed for muscle contraction, blood vessel contraction and expansion.

Best Absorbed Form


Take With

Vitamin D

Don’t Take With

Iron, zinc and caffeine

Information on Calcium

The two main forms of calcium found in supplements are carbonate and citrate. Other forms of calcium in supplements or fortified foods include calcium gluconate, lactate, and phosphate. An acidic environment is required to absorb calcium (and vitamin D). Calcium carbonate neutralizes stomach acid and as a result the calcium (and vitamin D) are not absorbed well. Calcium citrate does not neutralize stomach acid so is more readily absorbed and as a result does not interfere with the absorption of vitamin D which is essential for the uptake of calcium into the bones. Calcium citrate is better absorbed in individuals, like post-op DS patients, who have decreased stomach acid. [52-54] Calcium citrate contains 21% elemental calcium. For more information on elemental calcium and understanding supplement labels see our Vitamin and Mineral Supplement Basics. 

Calcium absorption depends on the total amount of calcium consumed at one time and whether the calcium is taken with food or on an empty stomach. Absorption from supplements is best in doses 500 mg or less because the percent of calcium absorbed decreases as the amount of calcium in the supplement increases [47, 48]. Therefore, someone taking 1000 mg of calcium in a supplement should take 500 mg twice a day instead of 1000 mg calcium at one time.
The most efficient absorption of calcium is dependent on the presence of vitamin D in the body and this is why you should take vitamin D with calcium.
Check with your surgeon for the suggested post-op daily supplementation.

Caffeine and Calcium

Caffeine has a small effect on calcium absorption by temporarily increasing calcium excretion and may modestly decrease calcium absorption. This effect is easily offset by increasing calcium consumption in the diet [49]. Moderate caffeine consumption, (1 cup of coffee or 2 cups of tea per day), in young women who have adequate calcium intakes has little to no negative effects on their bones [50].