What Are the Effects of Eating Gypsum?

Red wine, studio shot
Gypsum is sometimes used during wine production. (Image: Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Calcium sulfate, or gypsum, is nontoxic. It's used as an additive in a variety of different foods as well as in supplements to help increase calcium intake. Check with your doctor before taking gypsum supplements to make sure these would be safe for you.

Calcium Intake

Gypsum is between 23 and 29 percent calcium. Adults should consume 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams per day of calcium to help keep their bones and teeth healthy and their blood vessels functioning properly. Getting plenty of calcium and vitamin D in your diet can help limit your risk for osteoporosis and premenstrual syndrome. Other sources of calcium include dairy products, sardines, green leafy vegetables and beans.

Use as a Food Additive

Gypsum is used in brewing beer and it can help maintain the proper clarity and tartness in wine. As an additive, it helps regulate acidity and improve the stability and quality of foods. It can sometimes be found in white bread, blue cheese, ice cream, flour, canned vegetables, pasta, dairy products, processed fruit, candies, breakfast cereals, soy products, baked goods, processed meats or fish, condiments, soups, alcoholic beverages, prepared foods and water-based beverages.

Potential Side Effects and Interactions

Calcium supplements can cause side effects including bloating, gas and constipation. If you experience side effects, it may be helpful to split your dose up throughout the day and take it along with food.

Calcium supplements can interact with certain medications, including those for osteoporosis, antibiotics, anticonvulsants and diuretics. Taking these medications along with calcium could increase the risk for side effects from these medications and interfere with their effectiveness.

Considerations

Adults shouldn't consume more than 2,500 milligrams of calcium per day, as this could cause toxicity symptoms, including nausea, abdominal pain, constipation, vomiting, loss of appetite, fatigue, high blood pressure, frequent urination, confusion and coma. Getting too much calcium could interfere with zinc and iron absorption, increasing your risk for deficiencies of these nutrients.

Choose a supplement with the United States Pharmacopeia symbol, as these supplements have been tested to verify they contain the amount of nutrients listed and are less likely to be contaminated with toxic substances, such as lead.

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