Calcium citrate, very frequently used as a food additive, is actually the calcium salt of citric acid, an organic acid found in abundance in any citrus fruit like lemons or oranges. Apart from being used as an additive, this compound is also widely used as a preservative or for adding synthetic flavor. But the health benefit of calcium citrate comes from its intake as a calcium supplement. Calcium citrate has made its way into common dietary supplements like Citracal. The mass percentage of calcium in calcium citrate is 24.1% when anhydrous and 21.1% when tetra hydrate, which naturally occurs in the mineral Earlandite.
What is the necessity of calcium citrate in our body?
Calcium citrate, as stated before, is a widely used calcium supplement. Now, someone with even an elementary level of education knows calcium is an absolute necessity for strong bones and teeth (thanks to all the over-repetitive toothpaste ads!). But the actual utility of calcium in human body exceeds that by a very large scale. Calcium is needed for every cell in our body to work properly. Apart from strengthening our tooth enamels, calcium keeps our muscles from cramping, including our heart muscles. Nerve impulses would fail to function properly without the right amount of calcium and nerves would not be able to transmit information from one nerve ending to the other if the calcium level in our body is not favorable.
Why calcium citrate?
Calcium citrate supplements are generally used to resist or cure low level of calcium in blood for people whose diets do not suffice the required amount of calcium for their bodies. It may be of help in health conditioned caused by low calcium levels, such as:
- Osteoporosis or bone loss
- Latent tetany
- Osteomalacia or rickets
Calcium citrate supplements India are also prescribed for special conditioned when the body requires more than usual amount of calcium, like during the times of pregnancy, nursing or post-menopause.
In case of a lot of people, the bioavailability of calcium citrate can be almost equal to that of calcium carbonate, which is a cheaper supplement. But, the issue with carbonate is that it is highly basic in nature and tends to neutralize the stomach acid. Calcium citrate however, does not affect the stomach acid in any way. The added cons of calcium carbonate include the difficulty of it being digested and a risk of acid rebound, or the overcompensation by the stomach through producing more acid. Calcium citrate, however, has the upper hand in both the cases at it is easier to digest and does not trigger any extreme acid production. Hence individuals sensitive to antacids or those whose body cannot produce adequate stomach acid as easily as it should, are often prescribed calcium citrate instead of any other supplement.
While using calcium citrate supplements, one has to be careful of a few things to reap the most benefits out of it. These include any special diet that is recommended by the doctor alongside of the supplement intake, consuming the supplement regularly and having your doctor or pharmacist help you find out what amount of calcium is best suited for you in a supplement and select the best product for you.