Calcium lactate is a dietary supplement prescribed mainly for those suffering from a deficiency of calcium, a mineral that is essential for bone formation and maintenance. It is one of several such calcium supplements, all of which are salts combining elemental calcium with other chemicals. Calcium lactate contains 13 percent calcium by weight. While useful for calcium-deficient patients, calcium lactate also has some adverse side effects.
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The role of calcium in the maintenance of optimal health is hard to overstate. MedlinePlus points out that the human body contains more calcium than any other mineral. While 99 percent of the body’s calcium is stored in the bones and teeth, the remainder can be found in blood, muscle and intracellular fluids. In addition to the formation of bones and teeth, the mineral allows blood vessels and muscles to contract and expand, helps promote optimal nervous system operations and aids in the normal secretion of hormones and enzymes, according to MedlinePlus.
One of the primary advantages of calcium lactate, when compared with other calcium supplements, is its high degree of solubility, according to Cathy Carlson-Rink, a Canadian naturopathic physician. Its lower content of elemental calcium makes it more easily absorbable in the digestive tract, Carlson-Rink explains. Although most people obtain adequate levels of calcium through their diet, supplementation may be necessary for those who are taking certain medications that reduce calcium absorption or suffering from such medical conditions as osteoporosis, rickets and hypoparathyroidism. Doctors often prescribe calcium lactate or other calcium supplements to ensure that pregnant and breastfeeding women are maintaining adequate blood levels of calcium.
Adverse Side Effects
Although the body needs adequate levels of calcium to function optimally, too much of the mineral can cause unpleasant and even dangerous side effects. The most common side effects of calcium supplements, including calcium lactate, are dizziness, excessive sweating, tingling sensation, irregular heartbeat, nausea and/or vomiting, and skin redness or rash, according to MayoClinic.com. Less common side effects may be drowsiness and difficult or painful urination. Early signs of a calcium overdose include dryness of the mouth, severe constipation, headache, extreme thirst, irritability, depression, loss of appetite and profound fatigue or weakness.
Contraindications and Interactions
If you have a history of kidney stones or a parathyroid gland disorder, Drugs.com suggests that you consult your doctor before taking calcium lactate or any other calcium supplement. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should also talk to a medical professional before beginning self-treatment with calcium lactate.
Because calcium lactate can interact adversely with certain medications, talk to your doctor before taking the supplement. Calcium lactate can interfere with the body’s absorption of some drugs, including digoxin, antacids, calcitrol and other vitamin D supplements and antibiotics, such as doxycycline, minocycline and tetracycline, according to Drugs.com.