Calcium supplements appear to be safe for most people, including children, pregnant women, and women who are breast-feeding, when used in the daily recommended amounts.
Calcium supplements are effective for people with low calcium intakes, to help reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis, and as an antacid to treat heartburn or dyspepsiadyspepsiaindigestion or upset stomach.
Some research suggests that low dietary calcium can worsen the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Taking 1,000 mg to 1,200 mg per day may help with symptoms such as depressed mood, bloating (water retention), or pain.
Research suggests that taking calcium supplements in the recommended daily amount may slightly lower cholesterol when combined with a low-fat or low-calorie diet.
If you have high blood pressure you may also benefit from calcium. Several studies have shown that calcium supplements slightly lower blood pressure for people with or without hypertensionhypertensionhigh blood pressure.
Calcium supplements are not associated with significant side effects. Some people who take calcium may experience the following side effects:
- passing gas
Taking calcium at the recommended daily dose in combination with vitamin D can help your body absorb calcium better.
Calcium supplements may interact with other medications. If you are using calcium supplements, ask your pharmacist whether they should be taken a few hours before or after other medications.
There may be an interaction between calcium and the following medications:
- bisphosphonates (e.g., alendronate, risedronate, etidronate)
- quinolone antibiotics (e.g., ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin)
- tetracycline antibiotics (e.g., doxycycline, minocycline)
- thiazide diureticdiuretican agent that increases urine flows (e.g., hydrochlorothiazide, indapamide, etc.)
- calcium channel blockers (e.g., amlodipine, diltiazem, nifedipine)
Talk to your doctor before using calcium if you are taking any of these medications.
Your health condition may affect your body's need and ability to use calcium. Talk to your health care provider before using calcium supplements if you have any of the following diseases or conditions:
- achlorhydria (a condition where there is low or no production of stomach acid)
- hyperparathyroidism (high levels of parathyroid hormone, which are involved in controlling calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus levels in the body)
- low or high phosphate blood levels
- hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone levels in the body)
- reduced kidney function
- sarcoidosis (an inflammatory disease that causes lumps of cells to form on various organs in the body, including the lungs, lymph nodes, and skin)
Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.