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Best Absorbed Calcium Supplement

Resist best absorbed calcium supplement "research."  There is no definitive test of human absorption. Also, your ability to absorb certain types of calcium changes with age. Some drugs,Best-Absorbed-Calcium-Supplement | Review Article vitamins and nutrients can also affect calcium absorption.  Insoluble calciums such as calcium carbonate have shown absorptions rates of just 4%. Your best absorbed calcium supplement at age 30 may be totally mal-absorbed at age 60.

Best Absorbed Calcium Supplement Fact and Fiction.
Fact: Calcium carbonate supplements are mal-absorbed in certain situations. Calcium carbonate is highly insoluble. Clinical studies have shown that people with no stomach acid production, or those taking acid blocking drugs, will mal-absorb calcium carbonate when taken without food. Calcium hydroxyapatite is also insoluble.

Fact: Iron and strontium supplements can impair calcium absorption, when taken at the same time.  According the National Institutes of Health (NIH) calcium fact sheets, “mineral oil and stimulant laxatives decrease calcium absorption.

Fiction:  The 70- 100% absorption range used in best absorbed calcium supplement advertising has never been scientifically proven.  Most calcium experts consider those levels to be physically impossible in people. Yet, these best calcium supplement absorption claims have been made with coral calcium, algae calcium and calcium gluconate. What is a realistic rate of calcium bioavailability?  Published research by Robert Heaney MD and other suggests that 23 % to 37% represents the range of calcium absorption, among healthy young adults. Absorption rates may decline with age.

Fiction: Most effective or best absorbed calcium supplement claims cannot be substantiated by in vitro research. An example is a study with algaecal(r) calcium (Adulri Mol Cell Biochem. 2010 Jul;340(1-2):73-80).   Algaecal and other calcium forms were added to human bone cells (called osteoblasts) in incubation. Based on those findings, the marketers of Algaecal have advertised:

“The study findings provided evidence that Algaecal plant calcium is superior to the two most popular forms of calcium in all test parameters.”  (Algaecal website)

“In layman’s terms, the in vitro tests show Algaecal to be dramatically more effective…than other commonly used calcium sources.” (Raw Calcium ad, Better Nutrition, June 2010, pg 3)

In human biology, osteoblast cells never come in contact with a calcium supplement. The digestive tract breaks down any supplement or food, only absorbing some of the elemental calcium. The calcium in algaecal is calcium carbonate. It was tested against supplements also comprised of  calcium carbonate.   Calcium carbonate should not be superior to itself in a well-designed  test.

How to Judge Calcium Effectiveness
If calcium absorption is within a 23-37% range, why do certain brands perform better on bone density Best-Absorbed-Calcium-Supplement | Review Articleand fracture reduction?  AdvaCAL, for example, has consistently increased bone density in four studies and reduced fracture risk in another small one.  Two mechanisms appear to be in play with AdvaCAL.  First, the calcium appears to be on the high end of bioavailable, based on published absorption tests. Second, an amino acid extract in AdvaCAL called HAI appears to modulate or slow parathyroid activity (PTH) in the body.  Accelerated PTH activity has been linked to accelerated bone loss.  No other calcium supplement but AdvaCAL has HAI™.

Many people take calcium to increase bone density or reduce the possibility of fractures. Published bone density and fracture research is available for most quality calcium supplements. As such, there is no reason to get bogged down – or misled --by unsubstantiated marketing boasts of being the best absorbed calcium supplement.