Calcium Malate Review
Calcium malate, sometimes called dicalcium malate, bis-glycinate chelate, is related but different than calcium citrate malate. One supplement manufacturer described it as follows (evi.com):
“Calcium Malate Chelate offers the best chelated minerals sourced from the world’s leader in chelated mineral science, Albion Advanced Nutrition. The calcium in Calcium Malate Chelate is now fully chelated to glycine and malic acid, providing a combination of the two most health promoting and most absorbable forms of calcium available. Malic acid is found naturally in apples and other fruits and vegetables. Glycine is a very low molecular weight amino acid found in foods and can be synthesized by the body. Calcium can be perfectly chelated to two moles of glycine.
In a study performed by Professor Robert P. Heaney, MD from Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska, comparing absorption rates of many common forms of calcium, it was observed that Albion's calcium completely and properly chelated to glycine has far greater absorption than calcium citrate, calcium hydroxyapetite, calcium carbonate and even greater absorption than calcium from milk. (Heaney, R.P. et al Calcit Tissue Int (1990) 46: 300-304.) True chelates are not only absorbed better than calcium salts, but they are retained better in body tissue such as bone. Chelated calcium is better tolerated than non-bound calcium salts as they do not cause the milk-alkali syndrome which can cause stomach upset and kidney problems. Also, the ligands the minerals are chelated to is important as the chelated compound will remain chelated throughout the gut and into the bloodstream. Mineral salts from non-true chelates break apart far sooner, usually in the stomach, leaving the body with the extra compound to deal with. Ionic minerals interfere with the absorption of other minerals including phosphorus and iron whereas chelated minerals do not. Also, vitamin D is added which helps to resorb calcium that otherwise would be excreted.”
Taking Calcium Supplements With or Without Food
In Calcit Tissue Int (1990) 46:300-304, no food was taken with the supplement. Research suggests that calcium chelates, such as calcium malate, mimic the function of food during digestion, keeping the calcium soluble in the intestine. The chelated calcium advantage over calcium carbonate, however, is negated when the latter is taken with food. There is little difference in absorption between calcium chelates and calcium carbonate when food is present.
Lack of Research of Calcium Malate
As with several chelated calciums, dicalcium malate, bis-glycinate chelate has no bone density or fracture risk reduction research referenced by companies who sell the nutrient. It was noticeably absent among all the other nutrients for which scientific article references were provided. A search on Medscape likewise found no scientific references to this compound. This does not mean that calcium malate is ineffective. Rather it means the compound is simply an unknown.
There are many calciums with “known” bone performance records, some quite good. AdvaCAL, comprised of a patented calcium oxide and hydroxide from Japan, has shown impressive, consistent bone density increases in four separate, published clinical studies. Those studies involved postmenopausal women and men or elderly women. If bone density improvement is a concern, it may be prudent to consider a calcium with a clinical track record Generally speaking, if companies think a calcium supplement would be a superior performer, usually they will invest in the research. That has yet to happen, apparently, with calcium malate .