Vitamin C, found in abundance in many fruits and fruit juices, has low toxicity and numerous health benefits. Calcium, found in milk and other dairy products, is an essential mineral that may reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis and other bone conditions. As some vitamins and minerals can negatively affect your body's ability to absorb others, it is important to know the possible interactions between such compounds as calcium and vitamin C.
Vitamin C enhances the absorption of calcium, and when taken together they can maximize bone strength.
Vitamin C and Calcium Absorption
Despite the numerous possible effects that different vitamins and minerals have on one another, there are no known negative interactions between calcium and vitamin C. In fact, one study found the exact opposite. It evaluated the effect of vitamin C in the form of pepper, orange, and parsley juices on calcium absorption and found that these juices enhanced the gut's ability to soak up calcium. So, it might be a good idea to drink some OJ with your next calcium supplement.
Otherwise known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is mildly acidic. These acidic properties may make pure vitamin C supplements challenging to digest if you have a sensitive stomach. Calcium ascorbate combines ascorbic acid with calcium carbonate to neutralize the acidic properties of vitamin C. In addition to reducing your risk of experiencing digestive difficulties, this combination may also help to increase your calcium intake due to the effects of vitamin C on calcium absorption.
Vitamin C, Calcium, and Bone Health
Both vitamin C and calcium play important roles in building, maintaining, and preventing the break down of bone. While calcium helps to form bones and may play a role in preventing osteoporosis, vitamin Cs role in collagen production makes it essential to the repair and maintenance of your bones and teeth.
Collagen also helps to build, repair and maintain your skin, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments, all of which are important to the healthy functioning of your bones. This means that taking calcium and vitamin C together might be the best way to build and maintain healthy bones.
Opposite Effect on Iron Absorption
While calcium and vitamin C may play complementary roles in your skeletal system, they have different effects on iron absorption that further add to the reasons why these two compounds should be taken together. By taking vitamin C, which aids iron absorption, with calcium supplements, which may hinder iron absorption, you may be able to minimize the negative effect of calcium on iron intake.
Check With Your Physician
Anytime you add in a new vitamin or another dietary supplement, it's essential that you check with your primary care physician. Not only can some supplements work together or against one another, but they can also do the same with some medications. You need to ask your doctor about dose, timing, and if you should take your supplements with food or on an empty stomach.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin C
- National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: Calcium and Vitamin D: Important at Every Age
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin C
- NY Times: A Calcium Quandary
- Effect of Vitamin C and Carotene on the Absorption of Calcium for the Intestine