A- A+

Viactiv Calcium Review

Viactiv calcium chews contain calcium carbonate (500 mg), plus vitamins D (500 IU) and K (40 mcg)Viactiv-Calcium-Review | Review Article.  Other ingredients includes corn syrup, sugar, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, nonfat milk, artificial flavor, soy lecithin, citric acid, mono- and diglycerides, carrageenan, sodium phosphate, red 40 and  blue 1.  Viactiv calcium is a registered trademark of McNeill Nutritionals. Each chew contains 20 calories and 3 grams of sugar.

Consumer Reviews
Viactiv serves as a sweet treat, a departure from typical calcium supplement pills.  On Viewpoints.com, 87% people surveyed recommend Viactiv calcium.  One example of a favorable review is:

"It may not exactly taste like Fannie May, but HEY!
We all enjoyed our Thanksgiving feast today at my friend's house in Brookfield and afterward, as I was chatting with my hostess in her kitchen, I noticed a box of Viactive Calcium Chews sitting on a countertop.  I had been curious about this product for a long time…so I waded right in and asked my friend for one of her Viactiv Calcium Chews.  I won't lie to you and say that these chews are as good as Fannie May caramels.  They aren't but they are delicious just the same..."

An example of unfavorable review is:

"Poorly absorbed and high sugar!
Too bad that these are candy, with kidney stones attached!  Calcium carbonate is poorly absorbed, generally . . . and if you're prone to kidney stones, these'll make 'em!   Get calcium citrate instead! . . . preferably one without sugar!"

Comparison to Other Calcium Forms
It does not appear that Viactiv calcium has any published bone-related scientific research but relies on large number of studies done on calcium carbonate.  Calcium Carbonate is a common type of calcium used in many dietary supplements.  Carbonate’s attractiveness to pill manufacturers is obvious: it’s quite inexpensive, easy to work with and  highly concentrated.  Drawbacks center on the user’s experience: it is not highly soluble and can produce intestinal gas. 

Calcium carbonate has been tested against AdvaCAL, Viactiv-Calcium-Review | Review Articlepremium calcium, in several published studies, involving postmenopausal women and men or elderly women. AdvaCAL participants typically reported statistically significant bone density increases, the calcium carbonate users did not.  A review of fractures in one of those studies found that AdvaCAL users enjoyed a significant reduction in fracture risk from placebo, calcium carbonate users did not.  Because of the small size of that fracture study, more research is suggested.   

Similarly, a 7-year study tracked bone density changes and hip fracture risk among 36,000 women taking calcium carbonate with vitamin (as Oscal+D) or a placebo. The authors concluded:

“Among healthy postmenopausal women, [Oscal+D] supplementation resulted in a small [+1% after 7 years] but significant improvement in hip bone density, did not significantly reduce hip fracture, and increased the risk of kidney stones.”

A sub analysis of highly compliant Oscal users in the study found a 29% reduction in hip fractures compared to placebo.  These results should be taken with some caution, because they represent only highly compliant subjects, and not typical user results in the trial. 

Viactiv chews are  a unique, fun concept.  Just do not expect bone building performance better than other calcium carbonate pills with Viactiv calcium.