Health TipsWhat's the Link Between Calcium and Iron?

What’s the Link Between Calcium and Iron?  – You can get the nutrients you need from food, but calcium and iron can also be taken as supplements. The optimal time to take both is between three and six hours after a meal. In addition, calcium and iron tend to have a high affinity with each other, so they compete for receptor sites in the body. So, taking them together isn’t very effective. You should take the two separately, at least six hours apart, preferably after dinner.

High Dosage Calcium Can Interfere With Iron Absorption

Natural sources of calcium are dairy products, such as milk and cheese, and some vegetables. For iron, you should eat lean meat, such as poultry or pork. Fortified grain products can also be a good source of both minerals. Studies show that 43 percent of Americans take calcium supplements, and while these pills are generally safe, it’s important to know the proper dosage and possible interactions. High doses of calcium may interfere with the absorption of iron, so you may want to take them separately.

Although the relationship between calcium and iron is complex, there’s one clear link between the two: increased levels of ROS, which can trigger oxidative stress. These two nutrient pairs have been found to promote neurodegeneration. When taken together, calcium can prevent the development of Parkinson’s disease. This is a powerful argument, but there’s still a lot to learn. It’s time to start making the most of your calcium and iron supplementation! You may be surprised how many nutrients you need to keep your body healthy and balanced.

Studies on the relationship between calcium and iron absorption have revealed conflicting results. Some studies have found no association between Ca supplementation and increased absorption of Fe, while others have found a negative correlation between the two. In fact, some studies suggest that calcium supplements might increase absorption of iron in healthy adults while increasing calcium intake in children. A recent study of sixty rural women in Mexico found that calcium and zinc supplements significantly affected absorption of Fe.

The Best Way to Combat the Negative Effects of Iron and Calcium

In mice, increased ROS levels have been linked to ferroptosis. Increased ROS levels are associated with increased redox-active iron in neurons. This increases intracellular Ca2+, which can activate intracellular calcium channels. This causes oxidative stress. And the increased ROS levels also lead to an increase in intracellular calcium. This imbalance is dangerous for neuronal function and mitochondria. The best way to combat the negative effects of iron and calcium is to reduce the oxidative stress caused by calcium and iron.

While calcium does have a negative effect on iron absorption, it is not a long-term problem. Studies on children and women have not shown any significant changes in iron status due to calcium supplementation. However, the inhibitory effect of calcium may be temporary, and the interaction between Ca and Fe may occur during the lumenal processes. In such cases, calcium may prevent Fe from being absorbed, and iron absorption may be improved. When the two substances interact, it can increase the risk of cancer.

Moreover, calcium and iron interact in a complex way. Iron is essential for the proper functioning of mitochondria, and calcium helps maintain synaptic plasticity. Cellular iron promotes cellular calcium signaling and activates kinase cascades responsible for synaptic plasticity. Excessive iron, on the other hand, promotes oxidative stress and damages mitochondrial function. In both cases, excessive iron may lead to diseases that affect the brain.

One of the Main Differences between Subjects

This study involved sixteen infants. Fourteen completed the study. All subjects were recruited from the Houston area. They were not evaluated for their mineral status before enrollment. Informed written consent was obtained from the subjects’ parents. The study protocol was approved by the Institutional Review Board of Texas Children’s Hospital/Baylor College of Medicine. One of the main differences between subjects is the use of a multivitamin with or without Fe.

The amount of Fe absorption varies among quintiles and isotope ratios were measured. The highest quintile had significantly higher levels of phytate to zinc. From lowest to highest quintile, these ratios gradually increased. So, if you’re unsure whether your diet is rich in calcium and iron, it’s worth it to consult a nutritionist. It may even help you find a better balance between calcium and iron.

The earliest period to introduce a mineral supplement to a breastfed infant is before the onset of solid foods. The bioavailability of Fe from a calcium supplement is comparable to that of human milk. Besides, Fe in infant formulas may be more easily absorbed than calcium. But it is important to note that these minerals are better absorbed when they’re consumed as a whole rather than in a single meal.


Lönnerdal, Bo. “Calcium and iron absorption—mechanisms and public health relevance.” International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research 80.4 (2010): 293.

Gupta, Sheetal, Jyothi Lakshmi A, and Jamuna Prakash. “In vitro bioavailability of calcium and iron from selected green leafy vegetables.” Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 86.13 (2006): 2147-2152.


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