Answer: It depends. You should check your calcium supplements for other ingredients like Vitamin D, which is non-vegan. Only go for those sources which assure the vegan nature of your products.
If you are a vegan, you must pay a little more attention to the dietary supplements you consume. It has its presumptive obvious natural source in limestone and rocky mountains. However, this is not as straightforward as it seems.
We cannot say that rock sources are vegan and animal sources are non-vegan. It relies upon the source it is coming from. Thus, we must be aware of its origin and confirm its non-vegan source before consuming it.
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Is Calcium Carbonate Vegan?
Calcium carbonate is one of the necessary supplemental forms of dietary calcium. It is preferred mainly for its economical cost and better absorption than other calcium supplements.
Most of the calcium carbonate has its origin in rocks and mountains. But is it safe to assume that the calcium carbonate supplement we are consuming is vegan?
Unfortunately, I do not have a definite answer to this. Assuming that it is economically cheaper for companies to extract it from mountainous sources, we can expect it to be vegan most of the time.
To be on the safe side, make sure to contact the manufacturer before using it.
Vegan and Non-vegan Sources of Calcium Carbonate
Vegan sources include various dark green vegetables. Broccoli, kale, white beans, okra, and seaweed are rich vegan sources of calcium.
Non-dairy milk, like soy and almond milk, is fortified with calcium carbonate.
Due to mining, industries mostly depend upon vegan sources extracted from different mountains and rocks, including marble, chalk, and limestone.
Non-vegan sources include dietary supplements made from oyster shells, a few specific milk products, and eggs. Other sources include the carbon skeleton of sea animals and fossils formed throughout millions of years.
Various other sources of calcium carbonate are eggshells, seashells, snail shells, etc. Sadly they are being used abundantly by various industries without even mentioning their origins.
Why Is Calcium Essential for Our Body?
Bones and Teeth
Calcium is vital for the strength and health of our bones and teeth. It is essential for the overall well-being of our body functions. It is ranked five on the list of all the vital elements that make up most of our body. Ninety-nine percent of the calcium in our body is present in bones.
Calcium helps in regulating efficient muscle contractions. It also has its role in supporting the release of neurotransmitters at the synaptic level of neurons.
Heart and Blood
Calcium plays a role in blood clotting and effective cardiac contractions. Calcium helps lower high blood pressure during pregnancy and in the young population.
Daily Average Requirement of Calcium
Calcium is essential to maintain an adequate bone mineral density which is quite difficult and challenging for people consuming a vegan diet.
An average daily calcium requirement is 1000-1200mg for an adult. Therefore, it is necessary to supplement your diet with additional calcium if it lacks dairy or other rich calcium sources.
Demand for calcium intake is increased in conditions like pre and postmenopausal women, pregnant women, new moms, and people in the age group of under 25 and over 70 years.
A vegan diet providing less than 525mg of calcium should consider the intake of calcium supplements.
Is Calcium Carbonate an Efficient and Healthy Supplement Choice?
Various calcium compounds can be used as calcium supplements. These include calcium carbonate, citrate, gluconate, lactate, etc.
Their efficiency depends upon the bioavailability of the elemental calcium present. Calcium carbonate has almost 40% elemental calcium compared to only 21% in calcium citrate.
Calcium carbonate has an advantage in terms of cost and absorption as well. So it is an ideal choice as a calcium supplement.
Non-vegan sources of calcium include abundant dairy foods, but vegans have to supplement their daily calcium requirements with some vegan sources. Calcium carbonate is one of the cheap and most readily available supplements having the benefit of effective absorption.
However, vegans must contact the manufacturer and read the product description when taking calcium supplements to ensure their vegan source.
Supplemental Demand and Health Benefits for Vegans
One good thing is that vegans do not necessarily require large quantities of calcium compared to non-vegans. Their protein consumption in the form of meat is not there. Proteins neutralize calcium in our bodies. With the greater consumption of proteins, your demand for calcium will also increase.
Risks Associated With the Excessive Intake of Calcium Carbonate
As mentioned above, not everyone is a candidate for calcium supplementation on a vegan diet. There are associated health risks with an increased intake of calcium carbonate. It has proven health hazards for your heart and joints.
It leads to the calcification of blood vessels and the formation of kidney and gallbladder stones. It also causes muscle twitching when taken in access to the required range.
It also leads to disturbances in blood pH and messes up your gut at an advanced age. Some people also complain of severe constipation with calcium supplementation.
It would help if you started using dietary supplements only after consultation with a health professional.
What to Expect When Consuming Natural Sources of Calcium Carbonate
Leafy green vegetables are rich natural sources of calcium carbonate. They are vegan-friendly and provide the benefit over synthetic sources.
Spinach is found to be rich in calcium but has a higher amount of oxalate in it. Oxalate hinders the adequate absorption of calcium. So, we should not rely solely upon it for our calcium requirements. We should balance it with other options like broccoli, kale, etc.
To clear the misconception among vegans, do not consider spinach in the list of calcium-rich foods.
Misconceptions Among Vegans Regarding Calcium Carbonate
Calcium carbonate in rocks is not derived solely from the carbon skeleton of sea animals. It can also be derived from the rocks’ chemical reactions between rainwater, carbon dioxide, and calcium.
Similarly, it’s not always true that calcium carbonate from mountains and rocks is practically vegan. It might contain some remains of shelled animals as well.
It depends upon vegans’ personal preferences about the sources they consider acceptable. However, it is essential to know and confirm the source before consuming it.
Vegan-Friendly Calcium Supplements
There are a lot of vegan-friendly calcium supplements available on the market. One has to avoid ambiguity and prefer the ones that mention its vegan source in the product’s description.
Algae-based supplements are in demand nowadays. AlgaeCal Plus is an excellent choice for vegans. It is also free of potential side effects observed with rock-based calcium sources.
Other vegan-friendly calcium supplements are DeVa Vegan Cal-Mag Plus, Unived CalDveg, and Life Infusing Vitamins Super Bones Gummy.
However, it is not always a wise choice to start calcium supplementation without consultation. One has to maintain a balance of adequate Vitamin D that helps in the effective absorption of calcium in the body.
Non-Vegan Sources Of Calcium Carbonate
Rocks and mines are cheaper sources of calcium carbonate than shelled animals. Why would a sane person kill oysters just for shells?
With an increased demand for canned seafood, a relatively large number of seashells and oysters are killed. Industries use their shells as a rich source of calcium carbonate.
It is, therefore, necessary to confirm the vegan origin of your supplements before consumption.
Zipping It Up
So now we should get to the genuine inquiry. Is calcium carbonate vegan? It is if its source is confirmed vegan.
You should check your calcium supplements for other ingredients like Vitamin D, which is non-vegan. Only go for those sources which assure the vegan nature of your products. Please keep it safe and straightforward and contact the company or manufacturer before using the supplement.