Know the basics
What is calcium used for?
Calcium is a naturally occurring element. It is found naturally in foods. Calcium is necessary for many normal functions of your body, especially bone formation and maintenance. Calcium can also bind to other minerals (such as phosphate) and aid in their removal from the body.
Calcium carbonate is a dietary supplement used when the amount of calcium taken in the diet is not enough. Calcium is used as an antacid, in osteoporosis prevention, and for calcium supplementation, and to prevent and treat hypocalcemia, hypermagnesemia, hypoparathyroidism, and vitamin D deficiency.
There are not enough studies about how this herbal supplement works. Please discuss with your herbalist or doctor for more information. However, there are some studies that show Calcium is cation needed for maintenance of nervous, muscular, and skeletal function, enzyme reactions, normal cardiac contractility, coagulation of blood, secretory activity of exocrine and endocrine glands.
The concentration of calcium in the body tends to decline as we age. Calcium absorption can vary depending on race, gender, and age.
Bones are always breaking down and rebuilding, and calcium is needed for this process. Taking extra calcium helps the bones rebuild properly and stay strong.
How should I take calcium?
Use calcium carbonate as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- Take calcium carbonate by mouth with or without food.
- Take calcium carbonate with a full glass of water (8 oz/240 mL).
- Do not take an antacid that has aluminum in it within 1 hour before or 2 hours after you take calcium carbonate.
- If you take azole antifungals (eg, ketoconazole), bisphosphonates (eg, etidronate), cation exchange resins (eg, sodium polystyrene sulfonate), cephalosporins (eg, cefdinir), direct thrombin inhibitors (eg, dabigatran), iron, mycophenolate, quinolones (eg, ciprofloxacin), tetracyclines (eg, minocycline), or thyroid hormones (eg, levothyroxine), ask your doctor how to take it with calcium carbonate.
- If you miss a dose of calcium carbonate, take it as soon as you remember. Continue to take it as directed by your doctor or on the package label.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use calcium carbonate.
How do I store calcium?
Calcium is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store calcium in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of calcium that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.
You should not flush calcium down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Know the precautions & warnings
What should I know before using calcium?
Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to calcium carbonate or any other drugs.
Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had kidney disease or stomach conditions.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking calcium carbonate, call your doctor.
The regulations for an herbal supplement are less strict than the regulations for a drug. More studies are needed to determine its safety. The benefits of taking this herbal supplement must outweigh the risks before use. Consult with your herbalist or doctor for more information.
Is it safe to take calcium during pregnancy or breast-feeding?
There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using this medication during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking this medication. This medication is pregnancy risk category C according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:
- A=No risk,
- B=No risk in some studies,
- C=There may be some risk,
- D=Positive evidence of risk,
Know the side effects
What are the side effects of calcium?
Calcium can have several side effect including constipation, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, flatulence, diarrhea, rebound hyperacidity, eructation
Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about side effects, please consult your herbalist or doctor.
Know the interactions
What drugs may interact with calcium?
Calcium may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, non-prescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.
Calcium may interact with your current medications or medical conditions. Consult with your herbal healer or doctor before using.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and non-prescription medications you are taking, especially digoxin (Lanoxin), etidronate (Didronel), phenytoin (Dilantin), tetracycline (Sumycin), and vitamins. Do not take calcium carbonate within 1-2 hours of taking other medicines. Calcium may decrease the effectiveness of the other medicine.
Does food or alcohol interact with calcium?
Calcium may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.
What health conditions may interact with calcium?
Calcium may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.
Understand the dosage
The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. ALWAYS consult your doctor or pharmacist before using this medication.
What is the dose of calcium for an adult?
The usual adult dose for Antacid: 0.5-1.5 g orally 1 hr after meals and bedtime.
The usual adult dose for prevention of Hypocalcemia, Depletion, Osteoporosis: 1-2 g orally daily.
The dose for calcium may be different for every patient. The dose that you take depends on your age, health, and several other conditions. Herbal supplements are not always safe. Please discuss with your herbalist or doctor for your appropriate dosage.
What is the dose of calcium for a child?
The dosage has not been established in pediatric patients. It may be unsafe for your child. It is always important to fully understand the safety of the drug before using. Please consult with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How is calcium available?
Calcium is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:
Tablet, capsule, orally: 500 mg750 mg900 mg
What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?
In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.
What should I do if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of calcium, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017
CALCIUM http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-781-calcium.aspx?activeingredientid=781. Accessed July 8, 2016.
calcium supplement https://www.drugs.com/cons/calcium-supplement-oral-parenteral.html. Accessed July 8, 2016.
calcium supplements - oral http://www.medicinenet.com/calcium_supplements-oral/article.htm. Accessed July 8, 2016.