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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Soluble Calcium Supplement

Steve Ford writes in the UK Nursing Times that a soluble calcium supplement, a calcium supplement that comes in dissolving tablet form rather than as a hard pill, is now available in the British market.

A widely prescribed calcium and vitamin D supplement has been made available in a new dissolvable formulation.

Adcal-D3 Dissolve is indicated as an adjunct to specific therapy for osteoporosis and in situations requiring therapeutic supplementation of malnutrition.

It is available in handy tubes containing 14 effervescent tablets. Four tubes will be packaged together at a basic NHS price of £4.99.

Calcium tablets were known in the past to have poor dissolving abilities. They also passed into the bloodstream from the intestines in lower than optimal dosages. Many articles have been written over whether calcium citrate absorbed better than calcium lactate or calcium carbonate, for example.

Most tablets are better today and standard calcium carbonate tablets are so cheap and come in such large doses that they should be effective for most. Many pills are also chewable, including pills such as Tums, which is mostly calcium.

However, getting the calcium into liquid before it hits the stomach would help those, especially the elderly, who have more difficulty getting calcium to absorb properly. That's why the effervescing pills (i.e., pills like Alka Seltzer tablets) would be helpful.

I've also found some liquid calcium solutions in the U.S., although I don't know anything about them or their usefulness.

One potential warning. A New Zealand study of elderly women (Bolland MJ, Barber PA, Doughty RN, et al. "Vascular events in healthy older women receiving calcium supplementation: randomized controlled trial." BMJ 2008; DOI:10.1136/bmj.39440.525752.BE. found - to the utter shock and consternation of the doctors involved - that "cardiovascular events over five years: death, sudden death, MI, angina, other chest pain, stroke, transient ischemic attack, and a composite end point of MI, stroke, or sudden death" appeared to increase in the group given calcium supplements. When other factors were added in, however, the differences were less pronounced. The study included only 61 women given the calcium supplements, which were given in a higher dose and for a longer time. In addition, at an average age of 74 the women were much older than the usual group studied. For all these reasons, none of the doctors is considering this a definitive study. However, if you are elderly and at a risk for a cardiovascular event, talk to your doctor before starting on a soluble calcium supplement.

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