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Citracal Calcium Citrate Review

Citracal calcium citrate is a prominent advertiser on television and in magazines today.  Calcium citrate competes with less costly calcium carbonate, the most common form of calcium supplement.  Carbonate brands include Tums ®, Caltrate ® and store labels.  Citracal calcium citrate is a registered trademark of Bayer Healthcare.

Make-up of Calcium Citrate
Calcium citrate powder is only about 21% of pure (or “elemental”) calcium. That means the remaining 79-80% is carrier. Calcium citrate tablets have been criticized as being large horse pills. That results from the 80% carrier.  These pills may be hard for people to swallow, especially for women. 

Other types of calcium do not have the Citracal calcium citrate challenge.  Calcium carbonate Citracal-Calcium-Citrate-Review | Review Articlecontains about twice the amount of elemental calcium as calcium citrate.  AdvaCAL, with AAACa calcium, is even denser than carbonate. AdvaCAL, premium calcium proven to increase bone density, is available in small, easy to swallow capsules.

Cautionary Statements
WebMD.com lists the following possible side effects and precautions for people taking Citracal calcium citrate products:

“Constipation or stomach upset may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: nausea/vomiting, loss of appetite, unusual weight loss, mental/mood changes, change in the amount of urine, bone/muscle pain, headache, increased thirst, increased urination, weakness, tiredness, fast/pounding heartbeat.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you have any allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems.

Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: high calcium/vitamin D levels (hypercalcemia/hypervitaminosis D), difficulty absorbing nutrition from food (malabsorption syndrome).

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of: heart/blood vessel disease, kidney stones, kidney disease, certain immune system disorder (sarcoidosis), liver disease, certain bowel diseases (Crohn's disease, Whipple's disease), little or no stomach acid (achlorhydria), and low levels of bile, untreated phosphate imbalance.

Chewable tablets may contain sugar or aspartame. Caution is advised if you have diabetes, phenylketonuria (PKU), or any other condition that requires you to limit/avoid these substances in your diet. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about using this product safely.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant before using this medication. During pregnancy, doses of vitamin D greater than the recommended dietary allowance should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.”

Absorption Vs. Oscal(r)
For years, the manufacturers of Citracal calcium citrate +D and Oscal +D calcium carbonate have disagreed about absorption rates of their products.  Creighton University researchers published results Citracal-Calcium-Citrate-Review | Review Articleshowing the two supplements to be equally well absorbed. University of Southwestern Texas experts found Citracal calcium citrate to be more absorbable. Ultimately, a hearing before the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Better Business Bureau resolved the matter. The NAD generally found the Creighton University research more compelling. Citracal no longer suggests that it is better absorbed.   Rather, its key claim today is that unlike other calciums, no food needs to be taken with Citracal calcium citrate.