Calcium carbonate is a chemical compound used as both a calcium supplement and an antacid. The absorption of this type of calcium depends on the pH level in your stomach. Your body constantly breaks down and rebuilds itself requiring a continual intake of minerals such as calcium. This includes your bones and teeth which contain most of the calcium in your body. According to the book "The A to Z of Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements," calcium carbonate is a relatively good source of calcium containing approximately 40 percent elemental calcium. As with any calcium supplement, you should speak with a medical professional prior to consuming calcium carbonate.
Cancer of the Colon and Rectum
According to the book "Nutrient A-Z: User's Guide to Foods, Herbs, Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements," by Michael Sharon, M.D., calcium may play a role in preventing cancer of the colon and rectum. While evidence is not conclusive, supplemental calcium carbonate may have a protective effect on your colon and rectum. Increasing your intake of calcium through calcium carbonate supplementation may also help to reduce non-malignant tumors in your colon.
Several different variables affect your blood pressure. Calcium supplementation may help to directly reduce your blood pressure levels. However, clinical evidence has not confirmed this direct correlation. According to Sharon, individuals who consume diets with vegetables high in calcium generally have lower blood pressure levels. Further, supplementation of calcium with health supplements such as calcium carbonate may also help to reduce blood pressure.
Who is at Risk for Calcium Deficiency
If you don't supply your body with adequate amounts of calcium from food and supplements, you body will use calcium stored in your bones. This leaching can result in osteoporosis, a condition characterized by the deterioration of your bones. Postmenopausal women and individuals with a lactose intolerance have a higher risk of developing calcium deficiency. Doctors often prescribe calcium carbonate supplements to treat individuals with calcium deficiencies. In these individuals, calcium carbonate can help restore optimal calcium levels and prevent future deficiencies.
Health Risks from Excessive Calcium
The Food and Drug Administration has established upper intake levels for vitamins and minerals as a precautionary measure. For calcium, the FDA recommends that healthy individuals not exceed 3,000 mg per day from all sources, including food and supplements. Excessive calcium levels in your body can cause constipation, increase your risk of developing kidney stones and prevent your body from properly absorbing other minerals. You can also make some health conditions worse by taking calcium supplements including calcium carbonate. You should speak with you doctor prior to taking any calcium supplement.