Four Times When NOT To Take Calcium Supplements

Christina Lasich, MD Health Pro September 16, 2011
  • Timing is everything. When it comes to taking Calcium supplements, certain times should be avoided. Sometimes, the Calcium is less likely to be available for the body. At other times, Calcium might prevent important nutrients, vitamins and medications from being helpful. In order to get the most out of your Calcium supplements without causing harm, try to adhere to these four rules.

     

    Do NOT take Calcium with Spinach-If you take Calcium within two hours of eating spinach, you may not be able to completely absorb the Calcium into your body. Spinach contains compounds called oxalates that are known to block the absorption of Calcium through the mucosal lining of the gut. You can still eat spinach, but just not within a two window of taking your Calcium supplement. Same goes for beet greens and rhubarb too.

     

    Do NOT take Calcium with your MultiVitamin-If you take Calcium within two hours of taking your Multivitamin, a few problems could occur. One problem is that Calcium may interfere with the absorption of Iron (even the iron from red meat). Women and anyone prone to iron deficiency anemia should know that Calcium and Iron do not mix well. In fact, other minerals can also interact with Calcium. Some even think that certain vitamins like Vitamin D are not absorbed in the presence of Calcium. So try not to take your multivitamin at the same time that you take your Calcium supplement.

     

    Do NOT take Calcium with certain medications-If you take Calcium supplements within two hours of taking certain medications, you may not absorb the medication. The list of medications known to interact with calcium include: Thyroid Hormones, Tetracycline Antibiotics, Quinolone Antibiotics (like Cipro), Alendronate, and some seizure medications. To keep things simple, just remember not to take Calcium within two hours of taking any medications.

     

    Do NOT take Calcium with antacids or proton pump inhibitors-The products that help millions of people control stomach acid production do interact with Calcium in various ways. Antacids that contain aluminum should not be taken with calcium because this combination can lead to potentially dangerous levels of aluminum in your body. Additionally, Proton Pump Inhibitors like Prilosec and Pepcid block the absorption of calcium carbonate because this form of calcium requires high levels of stomach acid to absorb properly into the body. As a general rule, if you need to control your stomach acid, but also need your calcium, the best combination is to use Calcium Citrate and a proton pump inhibitor.

     

    No one likes a bunch of rules. But since you are going through the trouble of keeping your bones as healthy as possible by taking extra Calcium, you should also go through the trouble of timing your calcium intake appropriately. Timing really is critical to keep the Calcium from interfering with minerals, vitamins and medications. Proper timing is also important to keep certain foods, minerals and medications from interfering with the calcium. Take your calcium, but take it wisely.