Dr. Robert Cook - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Robert Cook

Is Calcium Carbonate Bad For You?



Short answer

Calcium carbonate is generally safe, although it may cause stomach problems, interact with kidney conditions, or reduce the effectiveness of other medications.



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Long answer

Calcium carbonate comes in supplement tablets. They're to increase the amount of calcium in your diet - you need it for strong bones and strong teeth, amongst other things. Women need calcium to ward off osteoporosis; men need it too, although there may be a link between very high calcium doses and prostate cancer. Safe levels are somewhere between 700 and 1,200 mg a day.

Some side effects are associated with taking calcium carbonate. It can interfere with the absorption of other medications in the stomach. If you're taking calcium carbonate along with other pills, speak with your healthcare provider to make sure that one is not interfering with the efficacy of the other.

Calcium is very basic. Sometimes, your stomach can overcompensate when you take calcium carbonate supplements. It'll produce acid quickly to maintain the right pH. This condition is called acid rebound - it can be painful, especially if you have a history of stomach problems like ulcers.

Calcium carbonate also has an effect on your stool. It binds it, making your stool harder and counteracting diarrhea. If you're taking another medication that has a similar effect, there's a chance they could interact and cause constipation. Gas and bloating are also possible side effects. 

If you've got kidney problems, calcium carbonate might cause calcium buildup in your kidneys. This can lead to kidney stones, kidney blockage, or kidney failure. Talk to your doctor if you have chronic kidney disease or a family history of kidney problems before starting with calcium carbonate.

Another potential side effect of kidney problems and calcium intake is hypercalcemia. Too much calcium builds up in the blood, which can cause confusion, vomiting, and other symptoms. Although rare, hypercalcemia is serious - if you're taking calcium and experience these side effects, seek out a doctor immediately.

Possible short-term side effects

  • gas
  • constipation
  • bloating
  • acid compensation
  • hypercalcemia
  • interaction with various medications
  • aggravation of preexisting kidney problems


  • adds calcium to your diet
  • may help treat heartburn
  • may help treat sour stomach
  • may help treat acid indigestion
  • may help treat upset stomach

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View Sources | Written by Sean McNulty
Published on: 10-09-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

View Sources
Written by Sean McNulty
Published on: 10-09-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

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