Calcium carbonate is the least expensive type of calcium supplement currently available. The nutrient is important for maintaining strong bones and teeth. It can also be used as an antacid to relieve heartburn or indigestion by directly neutralizing stomach acid. Most people tolerate the supplement without problems, but belching, kidney stones, and constipation have been reported in some people taking this product.
What Is Calcium Carbonate?
Calcium carbonate supplements are among the most popular dietary supplements available. It is used as an antacid and as a calcium supplement. Among the various different types of calcium supplements, calcium carbonate is the least expensive.
Calcium carbonate works for indigestion or heartburn by directly neutralizing stomach acid. It works as a dietary supplement by supplying the body with calcium.
Most of the calcium in the human body is stored in the bones and the teeth. While many people think of bones and teeth as permanent, unchanging structures, they are actually being constantly broken down and rebuilt. It is absolutely essential to keep a certain steady level of calcium in the blood. If blood calcium carbonate levels are too low, the body will break down bone and teeth to increase the blood calcium carbonate levels. If the blood levels are high, then the body uses the extra calcium carbonate to rebuild bone and teeth.
Is Calcium Carbonate Effective?
Calcium carbonate is very effective for some uses. However, many uses have only a little scientific evidence in their favor, and some have almost none at all (see Does Calcium Work? for more information).
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Jellin JM, editor. Pharmacist's Letter/Prescriber's Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Web site. Available at: http://naturaldatabase.com/. Accessed October 21 2008.
National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements. Dietary supplement fact sheet: calcium (9/23/2005). NIH Web site. Available at: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/calcium.asp. Accessed October 13, 2008.
Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Fluoride. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1999. Available at: http://books.nap.edu/books/0309063507/html/index.html. Accessed October 21, 2008.
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