Calcium and Magnesium in Caltrate: What Does It Do for the Body?

Caltrate is a supplemental form of calcium carbonate, which is taken if you are not getting enough calcium naturally in your diet. Caltrate contains about 600 mg of calcium and 40 mg of magnesium, as well as other vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin D, zinc, copper, manganese and boron. Both calcium and magnesium have specific health benefits, but too much of these minerals may also result in adverse side effects. Consult your physician before taking Caltrate or any nutritional supplements containing calcium and magnesium.

Calcium Uses

Calcium is needed for your body to promote the formation of healthy bone tissue, as well as muscle, heart and nervous system function. The form of calcium in Caltrate, calcium carbonate, may also be used as an antacid to relieve symptoms of heartburn, acid indigestion and an upset stomach. Calcium supplements are most often used in the treatment and prevention of bone degenerative diseases, such as osteopenia and osteoporosis.

Calcium Precautions

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According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, excess calcium in your diet may cause some side effects. The most common side effects associated with a high calcium intake include constipation, upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, increased urination, kidney toxicity, mental confusion and irregular heartbeat. Individuals with hyperparathyroidism, kidney disease, sarcoidosis or cancer are at a higher risk of developing these effects and should consult with a physician before using Caltrate or any other form of supplemental calcium.

Magnesium Uses

According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, magnesium is essential for several hundred biochemical reactions, and is the fourth most abundant mineral found in your body. Magnesium supplementation increases skeletal muscle contraction and relaxation, the function of certain enzymes, the production and transport of energy throughout your body, and the formation of protein or protein synthesis. Caltrate provides roughly 10 percent of your daily value of magnesium.

Magnesium Precautions

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According to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, the upper limit for magnesium is 350 mg per day for adults, making side effects associated with magnesium supplementation somewhat rare, especially considering Caltrate contains only 40 mg of magnesium. Side effects associated with magnesium toxicity include diarrhea, impaired kidney function, hypotension, lethargy, confusion, disturbances in normal cardiac rhythm and muscle weakness. Because magnesium may interfere with the absorption of some heart medications, consult your physician if you are taking any medications for heart health before supplementing with magnesium.