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Bone Up on Calcium Products

Katherine M. Bennett

Recently published articles may prompt physicians to specify calcium citrate when ordering an oral calcium product, but pharmacists should take a close look at the evidence.

Two studies compared the bioavailability of calcium citrate with that of calcium carbonate. The first study, in the November-December 1999 issue of American Journal of Therapeutics, analyzed data from 15 published trials and reported 22 percent to 27 percent greater absorption of calcium from calcium citrate products. The second study, in the November 1999 issue of Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, reported increased bioavailability of calcium citrate in 18 healthy women who took single doses of Citracal, a Mission Pharmacal product. 

In a third study, which also appeared in the November-December 1999 issue of American Journal of Therapeutics, calcium citrate was shown for the first time to stabilize bone density in women five to 10 years into menopause. 

All three studies were conducted by researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. This is the same institution that helped to develop Citracal.