What's the Best Form of Calcium Supplement?

Friday, September 21, 2012 by Vitamins and Supplements FAQs

Question: Is 5 htp relationship to tryptophan similar to ubiquinol's relationship to CO Q10? Also what is the best form of Calcium- so many forms. Is citrate really the best and why? If not, please explain how all the forms are derived and what their strengths and weak points are.

 

Question 1:
In the body, serotonin synthesis begins with tryptophan.  The tryptophan is hydroxylated to form 5-HTP.  5-HTP is carboxylated to form serotonin.  The reaction doesn’t reverse as far as I know.  Tryptophan may be used for other things in the body, also, such as helping to process nitrogen and serving as substrate for making niacin. When you get to the second compound in the pathway, the 5-HTP is like a targeted form which is more specific for formation of serotonin, rather than being used for other purposes.   

Ubiquinone (regular CoQ-10) and Ubiquinol are a redox pair with an intermediate state between.  Ubiquinone is the oxidized form.  Ubiquinol is the reduced form made from ubiquinone by the addition of a hydrogen atom to create an alcohol group (OH) instead of a ketone group C=O.  The two forms can generally cycle back and forth unless there are some defects in the system.

 

Question 2:
Citrate, microcrystalline hydroxyapatite, Aquamin and coral calcium are all well utilized.

Calcium is best absorbed in an acidic medium, hence best utilized, generally, when taken with food. Calcium Citrate has the advantage of being mildly acidic in nature (derived from Citric Acid); this acidity enhances absorption, even when taken without food.  

Hydroxyapatite includes both calcium and phosphorus in a two to one ratio; calcium and phosphorus compete for absorption, so, if dietary intake is skewed from the one to one ratio of the two required (1000 mgs of each per day), the phosphorus may hinder calcium absorption.  Those with very high protein intake, as well as those with liberal intake of carbonated beverages like soda may have high enough phosphorus already that additional phosphorus with the calcium is not desirable.

Aquamin is well-utilized and is appropriate for individuals who want a plant-based calcium.  It tends to be quite a bit more expensive than other calcium forms. 

Coral calcium is fine for absorption, but it is sometimes overpriced for benefits given.  Trace minerals in a mined form of coral calcium would probably not be as high as in a marine-grade coral because of leaching of minerals from environmental exposure.

Calcium carbonate has the advantage of high milligrams per pill since it’s 40% calcium by weight (higher percent than other forms).  It’s not as well absorbed, especially if an individual has low stomach acidity anyway or is taking an acid blocker.  Calcium carbonate is alkaline (basic) in nature—think similar to antacids.

 


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