CALCIUM 101 – Why is Calcium Important

Why is calcium important?

Most people are aware that calcium is an essential mineral our body needs to develop and maintain strong, healthy bones and teeth. About 99% of the calcium in our body is located in our bones and teeth. However, many are not aware that the remaining 1 % of calcium is crucial for muscular contraction, nerve conduction, supporting heart function, blood coagulation, glandular secretion, the production of energy and the maintenance of immune function.


1. Building and maintaining good bone health

2. Development of healthy teeth

3. Crucial for:

a. Muscle contraction

b. Nerve conduction

c. Supporting heart function

d. Blood coagulation

e. Glandular secretion

f. Production of energy

g. Maintenance of immune function

What if I’m not getting enough?

In a December 2001 news release Calcium Crisis Affects American Youth, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reported that only 13.5% of girls and 36.3% of boys in the United States get the recommended daily amount of calcium. Without adequate calcium intake, the body begins to “rob calcium from the bones” in order to provide the calcium needed for functions other than bone and teeth development. (NOTE: A total dietary intake of calcium in excess of 2000 mg per day has no known benefit to bone health.)

How can we get enough calcium?

Eating a sufficient variety of foods that contain calcium is a common way to get adequate calcium. However, this can be a significant problem for people who consume a restricted diet, particularly those who have an intolerance to dairy products. As the following chart indicates almost 3/4th of the average intake of calcium in a typical diet comes from dairy products.

74-5% Dairy Products

6.2% Vegetables

4.4% Grains

3.7% Legumes, Nuts, Soy

3.4% Meat, Poultry, Fish

2.5% Fruit

5.2% Other Foods

(Includes eggs, fats, oils, sugars and sweeteners, and miscellaneous foods) 

Grinding calcium to a smoother texture is an important step toward calcium supplement performance. Kirkman calcium sources are ground to a very fine particle size, which allows improved absorption via more surface area contact with stomach acids. A finer grind is also dissolved easier in liquids and foods, and produces a much less gritty mouth feel. This is especially important for children, as they often will reject coarse textures. The fine grinds also make the calcium “disappear” when used in baking.

Kirkman calcium supplements are in powdered, capsule and liquid forms. These forms don’t involve the compression of the calcium raw materials into tablets, as these can be very hard to dissolve in the body, and also tend to set-up over time leading to poor absorption.

Our capsules utilize the bisglycinate form of calcium, which is unsurpassed in absorption qualities, and our powders and liquids utilize the carbonate and citrate forms, which have been demonstrated in several studies to have similar absorption patterns to the calcium in milk.

Independent laboratory analysis of Kirkman calcium supplements demonstrates that Kirkman utilizes the purest, pharmaceutical grade, lowest lead calcium raw materials available. Kirkman calcium supplements far exceed the quality standards set by the State of California for acceptable lead levels in consumer products.

Larry Newman, Kirkman Laboratories, Lake Oswego, Oregon.

Lead in calcium?

An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association states “The risk of exposure to lead from over-the-counter calcium supplements has been well recognized for nearly two decades.” The article concludes that “Despite increasingly stringent limits of lead exposure, many calcium supplement formulations contain lead and thereby may pose an easily avoidable public health concern.”

 Another study of calcium products reported that “two-thirds … failed to meet the 1999 California criteria for acceptable lead levels in consumer products.”

 Melissa Schorr of ABC News reports that researchers at the University of Florida, Gainesville, are finding that even popular national brands of calcium products contained lead. Lead is a toxic metal that can lead to anemia, high blood pressure, brain and kidney damage in adults and developmental damage in children!

NOTE: All Kirkman calcium is independently laboratory tested to assure pharmaceutical grade quality that meets all federal and state standards for purity. 

How much calcium does each form contain?

FORM                                                ELEMENTAL CALCIUM

Calcium Carbonate                              36%

Calcium Citrate                                   21%

Calcium Phosphate                             23%

Calcium Bisglycinate Chelate 26% 

How well is calcium absorbed in the body?

Calcium from milk: 27%

Calcium Carbonate: 23%

Calcium Citrate: 25%

Calcium Phosphate: 17%

Calcium Bisglycinate Chelate: 44

Calcium products from Kirkman Laboratories


Flavored Powder

A great tasting calcium powder with vitamin D, which can be mixed in food or beverage for easy administration. This product can also be used in baking at moderate temperature. Each 1/4-teaspoon contains a total of 333mg of calcium carbonate and calcium citrate.

Available in both 8 oz. and 16 oz. sizes.


Hypoallergenic Unflavored Powder

An unflavored calcium powder with vitamin D which can be mixed in food or beverage for easy administration. This product can also be used in baking at moderate temperature. Each 1/2-teaspoon contains a total of 1000mg of calcium carbonate and calcium citrate.

Available in both 8 oz. and 16 oz. sizes.


BioMax™  Hypoallergenic Capsules

An unflavored calcium with vitamin D containing a clinically proven highly absorbable Bisglycinate chelate form of calcium. Because the taste of this form of calcium is rather unpleasant it is used only in a capsule form and not used in Kirkman calcium powders. One capsule contains 200mg of elemental calcium from calcium bisglycinate.

Available 120 Capsules per bottle.



A pleasant tasting flavored liquid calcium-magnesium combination that is not gritty and can be administered by teaspoon or mixed with beverages. Two teaspoons contain a total of 400mg of calcium carbonate.

Available in a 16 oz. size. 

Larry Newman

About Larry Newman

Larry Newman is Chief Operating Officer, Technical and Regulatory Affairs at Kirkman Group, Inc. He is one of the country's leading experts in the manufacturing of dietary supplements.
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