What Is Calcium Lactate?

A Less Concentrated Form of Calcium

Calcium lactate is a calcium salt. It is a less concentrated form of calcium, and seems to be less bioavailable than other forms of supplemental calcium. This means it's less available to be absorbed and used by your body. For this reason, calcium lactate is not the most practical form of oral supplemental calcium.

Calcium lactate is often used as a food additive to enhance the calcium content of foods, replace other salts, or increase the overall pH (that is, decrease the acidity) of the food.

This article looks at the supplement calcium lactate and what the research says about its health benefits. It also discusses side effects, dosage, and other calcium supplement options.

Close-Up of Pills on White Background
Noraishah Mohd Tahir / EyeEm / Getty Images

Dietary supplements are not regulated like drugs in the United States, meaning the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve them for safety and effectiveness before products are marketed. When possible, choose a supplement that has been tested by a trusted third party, such as USP, ConsumerLabs, or NSF. However, even if supplements are third-party tested, that doesn’t mean that they are necessarily safe for all or effective in general. It is important to talk to your healthcare provider about any supplements you plan to take and to check in about any potential interactions with other supplements or medications.

Supplement Facts

  • Active ingredient: Calcium
  • Legal status: Available over the counter
  • Suggested dose: 200 mg to 1,000 mg, depending on manufacturer
  • Safety considerations: High levels of calcium can cause kidney problems, including kidney stones and poor kidney function

Uses of Calcium Lactate

Supplement use should be individualized and vetted by a healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian, pharmacist, or doctor. No supplement is intended to treat, cure, or prevent disease.

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. It is required for bone health and for heart, muscle, and nerve function. In the body, blood calcium levels remain relatively consistent and unchanged. Calcium is acquired from dietary sources. 

Apart from calcium for bone health, additional possible benefits of calcium lactate supplementation include benefits to heart health, oral health, and exercise performance.

Heart Health

An older study examined the effect of calcium lactate supplementation on cholesterol in 43 people with hyperlipidemia and previous viral inflammation of the liver. The study participants were divided into a test group and a control (placebo) group. The test group was given calcium lactate and vitamin C three times a day for four weeks.

After four weeks, it was found that the test group had decreased total cholesterol levels by 4%. Additionally, the supplementation did not cause side effects. However, there were no statistically significant changes of other cholesterol markers.

This study shows promise for calcium lactate supplementation on heart health. However, it was small and used a relatively low dose of calcium lactate. Additional studies are needed to validate the role of calcium lactate supplementation in relation to heart health.

Oral Health

A study looked at whether adding calcium lactate to xylitol chewing gum helps remineralize lesions on tooth enamel. Artificial lesions were made on enamel slabs of human extracted teeth and worn by 10 volunteers. Another 10 were used as controls and stored in a humidifier.

The study participants wore the enamel slabs in one of the following ways:

  • Without chewing gum
  • With chewing gum containing xylitol and calcium lactate
  • With chewing gum containing only xylitol

They did this four times a day for two weeks.

Remineralization was found to be greater after chewing xylitol and calcium lactate gum than in the other groups. This led researchers to conclude that it might increase remineralization of tooth enamel surfaces.

A 2014 study looked at the ability of a calcium lactate pre-rinse to increase fluoride protection against tooth enamel erosion. The researchers found that the pre-rinse followed by a fluoride rinse significantly decreased surface loss of enamel when used before an erosive challenge.

However, researchers of an earlier study on calcium lactate pre-rinse found that it did not significantly affect plaque fluoride concentration under any condition.

The mixed results and small sample size of these studies means further research is needed before calcium lactate can be recommended for oral health.

Exercise Performance

Researchers studied the effects of calcium lactate on repeated high-intensity exercise performance. They measured blood pH and bicarbonate of physically active young men at several time increments after ingestion of calcium lactate or placebo.

The study found that both low- and high-dose calcium lactate supplementation increased blood pH and bicarbonate. However, the increase was not enough to improve repeated high-intensity exercise performance.

A 2017 double-blind, placebo-controlled study examined the effect of long term calcium lactate supplementation on blood pH, bicarbonate, and high-intensity intermittent exercise performance.

Calcium lactate, sodium bicarbonate, or placebo was given to 18 athletes four times a day for five days. The researchers concluded that calcium lactate supplementation did not enhance high-intensity intermittent performance.

These studies demonstrate that calcium lactate may not be beneficial for exercise performance. Additional studies may help researchers understand the mixed results of previous, earlier studies.

Calcium Deficiency

Long-term calcium deficiency can cause osteoporosis, a weakening of the bones that increases the risk of fracture.

What Causes a Calcium Deficiency?

Your body cannot make its own calcium. If you do not get enough calcium from your diet, your body will take it from your bones to maintain the appropriate levels of calcium throughout the rest of the body.

Calcium deficiency can also happen when you don't get enough vitamin D or magnesium, or when you are taking certain medications. This type of severe calcium deficiency is called hypocalcemia. It can also be caused by certain medical conditions.

Groups At Risk of Calcium Deficiency

Certain people are at greater risk of developing a calcium deficiency. These include:

How Do I Know If I Have a Calcium Deficiency?

Calcium deficiency doesn't always have symptoms. For some people, a broken bone may be the first sign of osteoporosis.

When calcium deficiency does cause symptoms, they may include:

  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Dry skin and patchy hair loss
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Muscle cramps or muscle spasms
  • Headaches
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Nervousness or anxiety

What Are the Side Effects of Calcium Lactate?

In smaller doses, calcium lactate seems to be well tolerated. However, overall high calcium intake can cause some side effects. These include:

  • Constipation
  • Gas and bloating
  • Decreased absorption of iron and zinc


Supplemental calcium, not from food, may increase the risk of kidney stones.

Dosage: How Much Calcium Lactate Should I Take?

Usual dosages range anywhere from 200 milligrams (mg) up to 1,000 mg depending on the brand and manufacturer.

Determining the exact amount of calcium in calcium supplements can be tricky, because pure elemental calcium is mixed with a filler during the manufacturing process. Check the label to find out how much elemental calcium is provided per pill. 

In a 200-milligram tablet of calcium lactate, there are about 26 milligrams of elemental calcium.

Recommended Dietary Allowances for Calcium

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDAs) for calcium varies by age and sex. The RDAs include your intake from all sources, including food, drinks, and supplements:

  • 1 to 3 years old: 700 milligrams per day
  • 4 to 8 years old: 1,000 milligrams per day
  • 9 to 18 years old: 1,300 milligrams per day
  • Men 19 to 70 years old: 1,000 milligrams per day
  • Women 19 to 50: 1,000 milligrams per day
  • Women 51+ and Men 71+: 1,200 milligrams per day

What Happens If I Take Too Much Calcium Lactate?

Excessively high levels of calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia) can cause serious side effects, such as:

  • Poor kidney function
  • Kidney stones
  • High urine levels of calcium
  • Hardening of blood vessels and soft tissue


Calcium supplements may interact with some medications, including antibiotics and the thyroid medication levothyroxine.

It is essential to carefully read the ingredient list and nutrition facts panel of a supplement to know which ingredients and how much of each ingredient is included. Please review the supplement label with your healthcare provider to discuss any potential interactions with foods, other supplements, and medications.

How to Store Calcium Lactate

Store calcium lactate in a cool, dry place in its original packaging.

Similar Supplements

Calcium lactate is one of several forms of calcium available as a supplement. Others include:

Calcium lactate contains only 13% elemental calcium, which means you have to take more of it than most other forms of calcium.

Calcium carbonate supplements contain much more calcium, about 40% by weight. These supplements should be taken with food, since your body uses stomach acid to absorb them. 

Calcium citrate supplements are easier for your body to absorb and do not need to be taken with food. This type of calcium is recommended for people taking PPIs. You need to take more calcium citrate in order to meet your recommended daily allowance since these supplements contain only half as much elemental calcium as calcium carbonate.

Calcium gluconate contains only 9% elemental calcium.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the best form of calcium to take?

    The best calcium supplement for you depends on your preference as well as your medical needs. Calcium carbonate and calcium citrate are the most often recommended. Calcium carbonate may be more cost-effective, but it needs to be taken with food. Calcium citrate does not need to be taken with food and may be preferable for people taking PPIs.

  • How should you take calcium for the best absorption?

    Calcium is easiest for your body to absorb from dietary sources like dairy products and leafy vegetables. If you take supplements, it's best to take smaller amounts of 500 mg or less split across two or more doses a day.

Sources of Calcium Lactate & What to Look For

It is always best to get your calcium from dietary sources. Calcium in foods is more bioavailable, which means you will absorb more calcium from what you eat than you will from supplements.

Food Sources of Calcium

Good dietary sources of calcium include:

  • Dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese
  • Dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale

Keep in mind that you need vitamin D to help you absorb calcium. Vitamin D can be found in a few foods like egg yolks, but you can also get it from sun exposure.

Calcium Lactate Supplements

As a dietary supplement, calcium lactate is most commonly available in the form of tablets, capsules, or powders.

Because supplements aren’t closely regulated by the FDA, look for products that have been certified by a third party to ensure quality, such as the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP), NSF International, or Consumer Lab. This ensures that your supplement meets specific standards of quality and dosage.


Calcium lactate is a type of calcium supplement. It contains less elemental calcium than other kinds of calcium supplements and may be less bioavailable.

Calcium lactate, along with other kinds of calcium supplements, may help support heart and bone health. It may also help protect against tooth enamel loss. 

Taking calcium lactate supplements may help prevent calcium deficiency and osteoporosis, but other supplements like calcium carbonate and calcium citrate may provide more benefits at lower doses.

A Word from Verywell

In general, calcium lactate supplements are not recommended because they have very small amounts of calcium compared to other forms, such as calcium carbonate and calcium citrate.

Most people are able to meet their calcium needs through diet alone, which is preferred to supplementation. If possible. participating in regular physical activity can also help build and maintain strong bones. 

If you are concerned about osteoporosis or your calcium intake, talk to your healthcare provider about whether calcium supplementation is right for you.

9 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Andryskowski G, Chojnowska-Jezierska J, Broncel M, Barylski M, Banach M. Effect of calcium lactate supplementation on cholesterol concentration in patients with hyperlipidaemia and previous viral hepatitis: a preliminary reportCardiovasc J Afr. 2008;19(2):84-87.

  3. Turssi CP, Hara AT, Amaral FL, França FM, Basting RT. Calcium lactate pre-rinse increased fluoride protection against enamel erosion in a randomized controlled in situ trialJ Dent. 2014;42(5):534-539. doi:10.1016/j.jdent.2014.02.012

  4. Pessan JP, Sicca CM, de Souza TS, da Silva SM, Whitford GM, Buzalaf MA. Fluoride concentrations in dental plaque and saliva after the use of a fluoride dentifrice preceded by a calcium lactate rinseEur J Oral Sci. 2006;114(6):489-493. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0722.2006.00409.x

  5. Painelli Vde S, da Silva RP, de Oliveira OM Jr, et al. The effects of two different doses of calcium lactate on blood pH, bicarbonate, and repeated high-intensity exercise performanceInt J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2014;24(3):286-295. doi:10.1123/ijsnem.2013-0191

  6. Oliveira LF, de Salles Painelli V, Nemezio K, et al. Chronic lactate supplementation does not improve blood buffering capacity and repeated high-intensity exerciseScand J Med Sci Sports. 2017;27(11):1231-1239. doi:10.1111/sms.12792

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  9. NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center. Exercise for your bone health.

Additional Reading

By Brittany Poulson, MDA, RDN, CD, CDCES
Brittany Poulson, MDA, RDN, CDCES, is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes care and education specialist.