Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: Nov 1998

New Low-Cost Calcium Supplement

1,000 mg of calcium citrate and 100 IU of vitamin D3 in capsule form.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, on January 2021.


The Life Extension Foundation regularly profiles and evaluates important new products on the market, often making them available directly to you, as well as to Foundation members at a discount via the Life Extension Buyers Club.

Most women and many men do not obtain enough calcium from their diets or supplements. People are often confused about the number of elemental milligrams of calcium that is required to prevent osteoporosis, and as a result, they take too little calcium.

The Life Extension Buyers Club now is introducing a low-cost calcium citrate supplement that contains 1,000 mg of calcium citrate and 100 international units of vitamin D3 in each easily dissolved capsule.

Calcium is important in preventing a number of diseases in addition to osteoporosis. A unique benefit of calcium is that it blocks the absorption of iron into the bloodstream. Since many people have too much iron in their bodies, it would make sense for these people to take calcium with those meals that contain high levels of iron.

Why too much iron? Iron is a catalyst for generating free-radical activity, which has been identified as an underlying cause of cancer, atherosclerosis, liver cirrhosis, neurologic disease and other aging-related disorders. If a blood test reveals your serum iron level to be more than 100 micrograms per deciliter, it would be desirable to lower iron to under the 100 mark. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1998; 68:3-4) states that 300 mg of calcium taken with a meal can reduce the amount of iron absorbed by 40 percent. Reducing iron levels is especially important for hepatitis C patients who suffer liver cell damage when the hepatitis virus interacts with iron.

Unfortunately, some vitamin manufacturers don't make it easy to supplement with calcium. Calcium is often compressed into tablet form, but calcium itself is a natural binding agent that holds tablets together. As a result, when a large amount of calcium is compressed into a hard tablet, many people's digestive system will not break it down, leading to inadequate calcium absorption. You sometimes may hear of people eliminating hard tablets in their stool; this is usually a result of taking calcium tablets. The Life Extension Foundation has always recommended that calcium be consumed in some form other than tablets.

There are 220 elemental milligrams of calcium in each of the new calcium citrate capsules available from the Life Extension Buyers Club. To prevent osteoporosis, the daily intake of 1,500 to 2,000 mg of elemental calcium is recommended. To calculate the number of calcium citrate capsules you need, read the following carefully.

Supplementation with calcium citrate can provide a high amount of elemental calcium with fewer capsules being required. The citrate salt of calcium has been documented to be well-absorbed and utilized by the body. For those using Life Extension Mix and other supplements that already provide high amounts of magnesium, calcium citrate capsules provide a convenient way of taking potent amounts of elemental calcium. (In its latest formulation, Life Extension Mix contains no calcium. The Foundation recommends that women supplement with additional calcium.)

To determine how many calcium citrate capsules you should take, check the calcium content of other supplements you may be using, and also estimate the amount of calcium you are receiving in your diet. If you are eating a low-calcium diet and are not getting calcium from other supplements, you should take five to seven of these new calcium citrate capsules a day to reach the recommended level of 1,500 to 2,000 mg a day.

Be careful not to take calcium with food containing fiber, because fiber significantly interferes with mineral absorption. It is best to take calcium supplements at night on an empty stomach.

Three capsules of Mineral Formula for Women, or two capsules of calcium citrate provide more than 300 elemental milligrams of calcium. According to the published studies, the maximum amount of calcium that will inhibit iron absorption is 300 mg with each meal. Amounts of calcium greater than 300 mg do not cause any additional interference with iron absorption. On the other hand, since calcium will block iron absorption, avoid taking calcium with meals if you are iron-deficient.

Mineral formula for women is already a popular product. It contains, in capsule form, highly absorbable calcium, magnesium and potassium, along with vitamin D3, which enhances calcium absorption and utilization.

Calcium supplementation is one part of an osteoporosis prevention and treatment program. The Foundation recommends that, in addition to 1,500 to 2,000 mg of calcium a day, women also take 600 to 1,000 mg of elemental magnesium daily, plus about 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 to ensure optimal calcium absorption. Vitamin D3 also has been shown to promote the production of growth factors in osteoporotic patients, which improves osteoblast (bone-building) function. Life Extension Mix already provides an abundance of magnesium.

Mineral Formula for Women, at a dose of 4 to 9 capsules a day, provides a good source of the calcium and magnesium women need to ward off the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Women now have a choice between using the new calcium citrate capsules, or Mineral Formula for Women.