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When to Take Calcium, Zinc and Copper?

Question: Bone supplements contain zinc and copper along with calcium, VC, VD3, VK, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and boron, theoretically to enhance absorbability. How does that fact square with your recommendations to "take calcium supplements separately from multivitamins that include iron, zinc or copper, as well as separately from individual  supplements of iron, zinc and copper."

Mineral absorption is for sure complex and is currently still being investigated to fully characterize the receptors, mechanisms and kinetics involved.  Calcium has been shown to impact iron absorption with the particular receptor involved being DMT-1 (Nramp2) which also is involved in absorption of other metals such as zinc, copper, cobalt and manganese.  In some cases, more than one route of absorption may be available and other factors such as pH and mineral status may also influence, as well as the specific form of the minerals.  The conservative approach is to separate the calcium from others since then you won’t have to worry about impact on absorption. 

It could be argued that, in a mixed diet, the various minerals aren’t going to be separated….  Bottom line is that we don’t have a conclusive answer.  The conservative approach again would be to take the SWU273 Bone Support Multiple (which doesn’t have calcium) at a different time of day from the calcium for best utilization.

This question was answered by a trained product specialist at Swanson Health Products. Do you have a question you’d like answered? Send it via email to

(Note: as per industry regulations, we cannot and will not answer medical questions, make treatment or diagnosis recommendations or comment on disease inquiries. Such questions must be answered by your doctor or professional health care provider.)


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