Calcium Carbonate vs Calcium Citrate
Calcium Carbonate and Calcium Citrate are two important calcium compounds. Calcium is a naturally occurring element with an atomic number of 20. It is represented by the symbol Ca. It is found in abundance in earth’s crust and is fifth most abundant by mass. It is also found abundantly in seawater as its ion is easily dissolved in water. Calcium is an element that is considered to be essential for living things, especially human beings. Many cellular processes are dependent upon calcium. Two of its compounds, calcium carbonate and calcium citrate are of particular importance for us having lots of benefits for human beings. Just what the difference between calcium carbonate and calcium citrate is and how they benefit us is what this article intends to explain.
To understand the importance of these two compounds of calcium, we need to understand the importance of calcium for human beings. It is essential for us as our bones and teeth develop only when body gets sufficient calcium. With advanced age, calcium deficiency can make bones weak and brittle which is why doctors advice taking calcium supplements. 99% of calcium in our body is contained in our bones and teeth. When there is deficiency of calcium, we tend to develop osteoporosis, rickets and poor blood clotting ability. When there is deficiency of calcium in blood, body uses calcium in bones and teeth, thereby weakening them.
It is a compound of calcium that is commonly found in rocks all over the world. Its chemical formula is CaHCO3 and it is the chief ingredient of shells of sea animals, egg shells, pearls and snails. Calcium found in this compound is used as a health supplement as calcium deficiency in human beings can lead to many ailments. It reacts with acids to release carbon dioxide. When heated strongly, it releases carbon dioxide to form another oxide of calcium know as calcium oxide, or quicklime. This quicklime, when added to water forms a base that is extensively used all over the world in the chemical industry. Marble and limestone, both of which are used for flooring, are actually different forms of calcium carbonate only. When water percolates through carbonate rocks, it partially dissolves these rocks and causes formations of stalactites and stalagmites.
Calcium citrate is a compound of calcium and citric acid. It is mainly used as a food preservative, additive and sometimes also to increase the flavor of food. It is also used to soften hard water. Doctors advice taking it as a calcium supplement to maintain healthy levels of calcium in our bodies. In calcium citrate, calcium is present by 21% of its mass. It is a white powder that is water soluble. Because it comes from citric acid, it has a sour taste, though it is a salt.
Difference between Calcium Carbonate and Calcium Citrate
It is clear then that calcium carbonate is alkaline based while calcium citrate is acid based.
According to scientists, calcium is best absorbed when it is in an acidic environment, hence for better and quick absorption of calcium, calcium citrate is better than calcium carbonate. It does not require extra acids from our stomachs; hence we can take calcium citrate as supplement any time of the day.
Calcium citrate pills generally contain less calcium than pills of calcium carbonate, and hence one needs to take in more pills of calcium citrate than calcium carbonate.
If you suffer from acidity, and doctor asks you to take calcium supplements for its deficiency, it is better to take calcium citrate.
Pills of calcium citrate are smaller than calcium carbonate. Some people find it hard to swallow large pills of calcium carbonate.
Studies have shown that calcium from calcium citrate is more readily available to the body than calcium from calcium carbonate.
However, before starting on any calcium supplement, it is always better to consult your doctor.