The absorption of calcium involves a saturable (active) and a nonsaturable (passive) component. The work of several investigators indicates that an inverse relationship exists between calcium intake and absorption efficiency. Human calcium absorption data from the literature were analyzed using a model which included both an active and a passive absorption component. Simulations were provided to illustrate the suitability of this model, and another previously reported model, to fit the data and to estimate the absorption efficiency of calcium when using different dosing regimens. Comparisons of the values predicted in this study with some literature values are provided and some assumptions and potential limitations associated with the use of this method are discussed. The division of the daily dose into equal increments taken at equally spaced intervals over the course of the day is recommended as a useful procedure for increasing the absorption efficiency and efficacy of calcium.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
R. R. Recker. Does calcium nutrition affect bone health?Bone 3:10–11 (1986).
B. J. Culliton. Osteoporosis reexamined: Complexity of bone biology is a challenge.Science 235:833–834 (1987).
E. Somer. The calcium wars: Smoke but no fire.Nutr. Rep. Int. 35:651–653 (1987).
R. P. Heaney, P. D. Saville, and R. R. Recker. Calcium absorption as a function of calcium intake.J. Lab. Clin. Med. 85:881–890 (1975).
M. Tellez, J. Reeve, J. P. Royston, N. Veall, and R. Wootton. The reproducibility of double-isotope deconvolution measurements of intestinal calcium absorption.Clin. Sci. 59:169–172 (1980).
C. L. Brine and F. A. Johnston. Endogenous calcium in the feces of adult man and the amount of calcium absorbed from food.Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 3:418–420 (1955).
J. Samachson, J. Scheck, and H. Spencer. Radiocalcium absorption at different times of day.Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 18:449–451 (1966).
Anon. Calcium: How much is too much?Nutr. Rev. 43:345–346 (1986).
R. P. Heaney and R. R. Recker. Distribution of calcium absorption in middle-aged women.Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 43:299–305 (1986).
T. C. Campbell, R. G. Allison, and C. J. Carr. Feasibility of identifying adverse health effects of vitamins and essential minerals in man. Report to FDA, Life Sciences Research Office, FASEB, Bethesda, MD, 1980, p. 28.
J. E. Bishop. America's new hunger for calcium presents a nutritional dilemma.Wall Street J. (Jan. 20, 1986), p. 19.
W. R. Bruce. Recent hypotheses for the origin of colon cancer.Cancer Res. 47:4237–4242 (1987).
T. A. Brasitus. Calcium, cellular proliferation, and colon cancer.Gastroenterology 93:654–655 (1987).
L. M. Resnick. Dietary calcium and hypertension.J. Nutr. 117:1806–1808 (1987).
L. L. Rusoff. Calcium-osteoporosis and blood pressure.J. Dairy Sci. 70:407–413 (1987).
H. F. DeLuca. Vitamin D. In R. B. Alfin-Slater and D. Kritchevsky (eds.),Nutrition and the Adult-Micronutrients. Human Nutrition, Vol. 3B, Plenum Press, New York, 1980, pp. 205–244.
R. Brommage and H. F. DeLuca. Evidence that 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 is the physiologically active metabolite of vitamin D3.Endocrine Rev. 6:491–511 (1985).
M. S. Sheikh, A. Ramirez, M. Emmett, C. Santa Ana, L. R. Schiller, and J. S. Fordtran. Role of vitamin D-dependent and vitamin D-independent mechanisms in absorption of food calcium.J. Clin Invest. 81:126–132 (1988).
L. H. Allen. Calcium bioavailability and absorption: A review.Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 35:783–808 (1982).
R. M. Francis and M. Peacock. Local action of oral 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol on calcium absorption in osteoporosis.Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 46:315–318 (1987).
H. Spencer, I. Lewin, J. Fowler, and J. Samachson. Influence of dietary calcium intake on Ca47 absorption in man.Am. J. Med. 46:197–205 (1969).
J. M. Leichsenring, L. M. Norris, S. A. Lamison, E. D. Wilson, and M. B. Patton. The effect of level of intake on calcium and phosphorus metabolism in college women.J. Nutr. 45:407–419 (1951).
M. R. Wills, E. Zisman, J. Wortsman, R. G. Evens, C. Y. C. Pak, and F. C. Bartter. The measurement of intestinal calcium absorption by external radioisotope counting: application to study of nephrolithiasis.Clin. Sci. 39:95–106 (1970).
A. N. Kales and J. M. Phang. Effect of divided calcium intake on calcium metabolism.J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 32:83–87 (1971).
S. F. Bauwens, P. J. Drinka and L. E. Boh. Pathogenesis and management of primary osteoporosis.Clin. Pharm. 5:639–659 (1986).
B. S. Levine, M. W. Walling, and J. W. Coburn. Intestinal absorption of calcium: Its assessment, normal physiology, and alterations in various disease states. In F. Bronner and J. W. Coburn (eds.),Disorders of Mineral Metabolism. Vol II, Calcium Physiology, Academic Press, New York, 1982, pp. 103–108.
F. Bronner, D. Pansu, and W. D. Stein. An analysis of intestinal calcium transport across the rat intestine.Am. J. Physiol. 250:G561-G569 (1986).
F. Bronner. Calcium absorption. In L. R. Johnson, (ed.),Physiology of the Gastrointestinal Tract, 2nd ed., Raven Press, New York, 1987, Vol. 2, pp. 1419–1435.
J. Reeve, R. Hesp, and N. Veall. Effects of therapy on rate of absorption of calcium from gut in disorders of calcium homeostasis.Br. Med. J. iii:310–314 (1974).
P. Roth and E. Werner. Interrelations of radiocalcium absorption tests and their clinical relevance.Mineral Electrolyte Metab. 11:351–357 (1985).
Cl. de Labriolle-Vaylet, D. Bouvet, P. Brezillon, G. Milhaud, and J. F. Staub. The kinetics of intestinal calcium absorption in the rat: An analytical and model building study.Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med. 181:602–610 (1986).
P. Ireland and J. S. Fordtran. Effect of dietary calcium and age on jejunal calcium absorption in humans studied by intestinal perfusion.J Clin. Invest. 52:2672–2681 (1973).
R. P. Heaney and T. G. Skillman. Secretion and excretion of calcium by the human gastrointestinal tract.J. Lab. Clin. Med. 64:29–41 (1964).
G. M. Metzler and D. L. Weiner. PCNONLIN and NONLIN 84, Statistical Consultants, Inc., software for the statistical analysis of nonlinear models.Am. Stat. 40:52 (1986).
J. C. Gallagher. The absorption of calcium in health and disease. In L. J. Anghileri and A. M. Tuffet-Anghileri (eds.),The Role of Calcium in Biological Systems, Vol. II, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, 1982, pp. 147–169.
J. A. DeGrazia, P. Ivanovich, H. Fellows, and C. Rich. A double isotope method for measurement of intestinal absorption of calcium in man.J. Lab. Clin. Med. 66:822–829 (1965).
O. J. Malm. Calcium requirement and adaptation in adult man.Scand. J. Clin. Lab. Invest. 10 (Suppl. 36):108–199 (1958).
B. Dawson-Hughes, D. T. Stern, C. C. Shipp, and H. M. Rasmussen. Effect of lowering dietary calcium intake on fractional whole body calcium retention.J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 67:62–68 (1988).
B. E. C. Nordin, K. J. Polley, A. G. Need, H. A. Morris, and D. Marshall. The problem of calcium requirement.Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 45:1295–1304 (1987).
M. Jagerstad. Calcium in nutrition. In L. J. Anghileri and A. M. Tuffet-Anghileri (eds.),The Role of Calcium in Biological Systems, Vol. III, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, 1982, p. 48.
H. Spencer, L. Kramer, M. Lesniak, M. DeBartolo, C. Norris, and D. Osis. Calcium requirements in humans. Report of original data and a review.Clin. Orthop. 184:270–280 (1984).
J.-F. Dymling. Studies of calcium absorption and metabolism. In E. H. Belcher and H. Vetter (eds.),Radioisotopes in Medical Diagnosis, Butterworth, London, 1971, pp. 298–318.
R. P. Heaney, R. R. Recker, and S. M. Hinders. Variability of calcium absorption.Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 47:262–264 (1988).
C. J. Carr and R. F. Shangraw. Nutritional and pharmaceutical aspects of calcium supplementation.Am. Pharm. NS27:149–157 (1987).
J. Blanchard. Calcium and osteoporosis—some caveats and pleas.Calcif. Tiss. Int. 44:67–68 (1989).
R. H. Wasserman and A. N. Taylor. Some aspects of the intestinal absorption of calcium, with special reference to vitamin D. In C. L. Comer and F. Bronner (eds.),Mineral Metabolism—an Advanced Treatise. Vol. III. Calcium Physiology, Academic Press, New York, 1969, p. 341.
J. S. Fordtran and T. W. Locklear. Ionic constituents and osmolality of gastric and small-intesinal fluids after eating.Am. J. Dig. Dis. 11:503–521 (1966).
The receipt of a Gustavus A. Pfeiffer Memorial Fellowship is gratefully acknowledged.
About this article
Cite this article
Blanchard, J., Aeschlimann, J. Calcium absorption in man: Some dosing recommendations. Journal of Pharmacokinetics and Biopharmaceutics 17, 631–644 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01062122