Digestive enzymes are naturally present in all living organisms to aid in the digestion of food by breaking down large food carbohydrates, lipids and protein macromolecules into smaller building blocks that can be easily absorbed and utilized by the organism. The Classification of Digestive Enzymes Digestive enzymes are classified based on their target substrate, whether it is carbohydrate, lipid, or protein. Within each class of enzyme lie many types of enzymes, each targeting different substrates, and digesting them into different sizes. Proteases and peptidases break down proteins into smaller peptides and amino acids. Amino acids, the smallest building blocks of
We know that several factors are important for bone health such as a healthy diet and lifestyle which includes the avoidance of smoking and excess caffeine, sodium and alcohol. Proper intake of several bone building nutrients, one of which is calcium, is also important. But don’t forget, in order for calcium to be efficiently used by the body, many nutrient cofactors are necessary such as vitamin D, vitamin K, magnesium, boron and others.
Ensuring that you are taking the best form of calcium for your body will not only benefit your bones, but will also save you from spending money on a type of calcium supplement that is not going to work well for you or which may provide little value to your body. With so many forms of calcium on the market, choosing one can be complicated indeed. Certain types of calcium supplements may be better for some types of people than others. Some of the most common forms of calcium supplements that are available include: calcium carbonate, oyster shell calcium, calcium gluconate, calcium citrate, calcium citrate-malate, calcium hydroxyapatite, and the more recently discovered calcium
Give Your Body Calcium It Can Use
Elemental calcium refers to the actual amount of calcium in the supplement. This is what your body can absorb and use for: growing bones and teeth, supporting muscle function, maintaining the heartbeat, nerve impulse transmission, wound healing and blood clotting among other important functions. The supplement facts panel on a calcium supplement is useful for determining how much calcium a serving actually contains although the bioavailability of the particular calcium type must be taken into consideration. Also, pay attention to the serving size when calculating the amount of calcium that is in one serving. For example, a label may or may not provide the total amount of available elemental calcium on a label. See examples of a supplement facts panel in Figure 1. Your body must be able to absorb and use the type of calcium in your supplement in order for it to be of benefit to you. The best way to take your calcium supplement is to divide your daily doses and take 500 mg or less at the same time as your meals, when your stomach is actively producing acid to aid digestion.
Choosing the Right Form of Calcium for You
Calcium Carbonate: This is a
This form of calcium provides one of the highest concentrations of elemental calcium (35-40%). For example, a calcium carbonate supplement contains 40 percent elemental calcium; this means that 1,250 milligrams (mg) of calcium carbonate will provide 500 mg of elemental calcium. Yet it has poor bioavailability and requires extra stomach acid production to be absorbed. This type of calcium is found in coral calcium, a form of calcium that has received much attention for exaggerated health claims. There is no research to confirm that coral calcium is in fact a better form of calcium than other forms.
Calcium Citrate: Unlike the
This type of calcium is absorbed to a greater extent than calcium carbonate. An analysis of 15 randomized trials concluded that calcium citrate was absorbed 22% to 27% better than calcium carbonate, whether taken on an empty stomach or with food.
Oyster Shell Calcium: Although it may seem to be a natural form
of calcium, and therefore higher in absorbable calcium, the calcium in the oyster shell as well as bone meal and dolomite, are more susceptible to have toxic levels of lead due to difficulty in maintaining quality control. It is better to avoid these natural forms of calcium.
Calcium Gluconate, Lactate
Calcium Lactobionate: This form
If you are a vegetarian and looking for a highly bioavailable calcium supplement, this is the form you will want to consider taking. AOR offers calcium citrate-malate in several supplements including: Ortho Bone Vegan, Multi-Basics 3, Essential Mix, Ortho Core and Ortho Minerals. Calcium citrate-malate is well-absorbed even when taken alone, and is recommended for individuals who have low levels of stomach acid, for those who are older, who are taking stomach acid blockers, or who have absorption or inflammatory bowel disorders.
What You Need to Know
Calcium comes in a variety of forms, but it is important to realize that not all calcium supplements are created equal. Choosing a form of calcium that will work well for you will depend on your digestive system and what your calcium needs are. According to research, one of the most well absorbed vegetarian forms of calcium is calcium citrate-malate. Microcrystalline hydroxyapatite complex (MCHC) is known as the most beneficial form of calcium since it offers more than just calcium; it provides