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Calcium Citrate Malate vs. Calcium Carbonate: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Aimie Carlson || Published on January 11, 2024
Calcium citrate malate is a water-soluble calcium supplement, better absorbed in low acid conditions, whereas calcium carbonate, less soluble, requires stomach acid for absorption.

Key Differences

Calcium citrate malate is a compound combining calcium, citric acid, and malic acid, known for its high bioavailability. Calcium carbonate is a basic calcium salt, found in chalk, limestone, and marble.
Calcium citrate malate is more easily absorbed in the body, especially in people with lower stomach acid. Calcium carbonate requires more stomach acid for absorption, making it less suitable for older adults or those on acid reducers.
Calcium citrate malate is often preferred in dietary supplements due to its higher bioavailability and gentler impact on the stomach. Calcium carbonate, while common in supplements, can cause digestive discomfort in some individuals.
Calcium citrate malate remains effective even in low-acid conditions, beneficial for individuals with reduced stomach acidity. Calcium carbonate is most effective when taken with food, as it relies on stomach acid for absorption.
Beyond supplements, calcium carbonate is widely used in industrial applications, including as a building material and antacid. Calcium citrate malate is primarily used in nutritional supplements due to its absorption properties.

Comparison Chart

Chemical Composition

Combination of calcium, citric acid, malic acid
Basic calcium salt, found in chalk, limestone

Absorption and Bioavailability

Better absorbed, effective in low acid conditions
Requires stomach acid for absorption

Common Use

Dietary supplements, preferred for higher bioavailability
Supplements, antacids, industrial uses

Suitability for Low Acid Conditions

Suitable, remains effective
Less suitable, needs acid for absorption

Other Applications

Limited to supplements and nutrition
Broad use in building materials, antacids, etc.

Calcium Citrate Malate and Calcium Carbonate Definitions

Calcium Citrate Malate

Effective in individuals with low stomach acid.
For those with acid reflux, calcium citrate malate is a suitable option.

Calcium Carbonate

Less suitable for people with reduced stomach acidity.
Individuals on acid reducers may need a different form than calcium carbonate.

Calcium Citrate Malate

A compound of calcium, citric acid, and malic acid.
Calcium citrate malate is often recommended for its high bioavailability.

Calcium Carbonate

Widely used in antacids and industrial applications.
Calcium carbonate is an active ingredient in many antacids.

Calcium Citrate Malate

Commonly used in dietary supplements.
Many calcium supplements now include calcium citrate malate for its benefits.

Calcium Carbonate

Requires stomach acid for proper absorption.
It's best to take calcium carbonate supplements with meals.

Calcium Citrate Malate

Preferred for its gentler impact on the digestive system.
She switched to calcium citrate malate to avoid stomach discomfort.

Calcium Carbonate

Common and economical in supplement forms.
Calcium carbonate is a cost-effective option for calcium supplementation.

Calcium Citrate Malate

Known for its superior absorption in the human body.
He chose calcium citrate malate supplements for better absorption.

Calcium Carbonate

A basic calcium salt, common in rocks like limestone.
Calcium carbonate is a primary component of chalk.


Does calcium carbonate need stomach acid?

Yes, for effective absorption.

What is calcium citrate malate?

A compound used in supplements for its high bioavailability.

How is calcium citrate malate absorbed?

Easily, even in low stomach acid conditions.

Can calcium citrate malate cause stomach issues?

It's usually gentler on the stomach.

What is calcium carbonate?

A basic calcium salt used in supplements and various industries.

Who commonly uses calcium carbonate?

Widely used, but may not suit those on acid reducers.

What are some industrial uses of calcium carbonate?

In building materials, antacids, and as a white pigment.

Is calcium carbonate suitable for all ages?

Suitable, but less so for older individuals or those with acid reduction.

Is calcium carbonate harsh on the digestive system?

It can cause discomfort in some people.

Who should take calcium citrate malate?

Especially beneficial for older adults or those with low stomach acid.

Can calcium carbonate be taken without food?

Best taken with food for optimal absorption.

Is calcium citrate malate vegan-friendly?

Yes, it's often suitable for vegans, but always check product labels.

Can calcium carbonate help with heartburn?

Yes, it's an active ingredient in many antacids.

Are there non-supplement uses for calcium citrate malate?

Its use is mainly limited to nutritional supplements.

Is calcium citrate malate more expensive?

Generally, it's pricier than calcium carbonate.

How does calcium citrate malate benefit bone health?

Its high absorption aids in bone strengthening and health.

Can I take calcium carbonate if I have acid reflux?

It might not be suitable; calcium citrate malate could be a better option.

Is calcium carbonate found naturally?

Yes, in rocks like limestone and as a component of animal shells.

Does calcium citrate malate interact with medications?

It can, so consult a healthcare provider.

How does the body process calcium citrate malate?

It's efficiently absorbed and utilized for bone health and other functions.
About Author
Written by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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