Calcium and magnesium are essential for healthy bone and teeth development. Your organs also need both minerals to function properly. Calcium content is more abundant in your body than magnesium. However, your systems cannot absorb the former unless the latter is present. Many foods provide the two nutrients. Take supplements if your doctor determines they can benefit you. Get the supplement form your doctor indicates, which might not be the most easily absorbed.
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Calcium supplement labels list elemental calcium among the ingredients. Next to it, the manufacturer indicates how much of it each serving has. Elemental calcium is the amount of the mineral that the supplement provides in a form your body can absorb. Calcium citrate is the most easily absorbed calcium supplement. But it is also the form that contains the least elemental calcium at 21 percent. In addition, calcium citrate interacts adversely with antacids that contain aluminum, creating a toxic condition. For these reasons, your doctor might prescribe a different supplement type. Your body works a little harder to absorb it, but the option suits your particular situation better.
Calcium phosphate is 39 percent elemental calcium and it is easily absorbed, notes “Arthritis Today.” In addition, this form of calcium does not cause gas or constipation as other types might. Your doctor may prescribe calcium phosphate to treat a diagnosed deficiency of the mineral or if she believes you are at risk for developing a calcium deficiency. Take the supplement with a meal and drink 8 oz. of water.
The University of Maryland Medical Center states that the three most easily absorbed magnesium forms are magnesium citrate, magnesium gluconate and magnesium lactate. Magnesium citrate relieves constipation by drawing water from other parts of your body into your intestines. The added moisture induces peristalsis -- intestinal contraction and relaxation -- which pushes the stool out.
Your doctor may prescribe magnesium gluconate when laboratory tests reveal your magnesium supply is below normal levels. The supplement is contraindicated, however, if you suffer from kidney disease, notes Drugs.com. The drug information website also advises that this form of magnesium is more easily absorbed when you take it with a meal.
Magnesium lactate corrects a deficiency of the mineral. This form of the nutrient facilitates the operations of your digestive and nervous systems, as well as your heart’s. Your doctor may also prescribe magnesium lactate to treat gastric problems such as indigestion and heartburn. You may not be able to take this mineral type if you have a history of kidney or heart disease.