Dr. Kumar Pati, USA


Calcium carbonate is a chemical compound with the chemical formula CaCO3.  It is a common substance found in rock in all parts of the world, and is the main component of shells of marine organisms, snails, pearls, and eggshells.  Calcium carbonate is the active ingredient in agricultural lime, and is usually the principal cause of hard water.    It is commonly used medicinally as a calcium supplement or as an antacid, but excessive consumption can be hazardous.


Calcium carbonate is widely used medicinally as an expensive dietary calcium supplement or gastric antacid.  It may be used as a phosphate binder for the treatment of hyperphosphatermia (primarily in patients with chronic renal failure).  It is also used in the pharmaceuticals.  Calcium carbonate is used in the production of toothpaste and has seen resurgence as a food preservative and color retiner, when used in or with products such as organic apples or food.


As a food additive, it is designated E170.  It is used in some soy milk products a s source of dietary calcium;  one study suggests that calcium carbonate might be as bioavailable as the calcium in cow’s milk.  Calcium carbonate is also used as firming agent in may canned or bottled vegetable products.


Calcium carbonate is a dietary supplement used when the amount of calcium taken in the diet is not enough.  Calcium is needed by the body for healthy bones, muscles, nervous system, and heart.  Calcium carbonate also is used as an antacid to relieve heartburn, acid indigestion, and upset stomach.  It is available with or without a prescription.  This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses;  ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.


Calcium carbonate comes as a tablet, chewable table, capsule, and liquid to take by mouth.  It is usually taken three or four times a day.  Follow the directions on your prescription or package label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand.  Take calcium carbonate exactly as directed.  Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.  When using this medicine as a dietary supplement, take it with food or following meals.


Chewable tablets should be chewed thoroughly before being swallowed;  do not swallow them whole.  Drink a full glass of water after taking either the regular or chewable tablets or capsules.  Some liquid forms of calcium carbonate must be shaken well before use.  Do not take calcium carbonate as an antacid for more than 2 weeks unless your doctor tells you to.




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