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What is Calcium Gluconate?

By Tracey Parece
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Calcium gluconate is calcium combined with glucose, or blood sugar. It is a mineral supplement that is used to treat various conditions including rickets, lead colic, overdose of magnesium sulfate, and hypocalcemic tetany. Also, it may be used in the treatment of insect bites or stings, particularly black widow spider bites. Calcium occurs naturally in foods like yogurt, milk, and cheese, and it is most readily absorbed when taken in conjunction with vitamin D.

There are several different ways that calcium gluconate can be administered. It is available in pill form, as an intravenous (IV) injection, and as an ingredient in a topical gel. Also, it may be taken orally for the treatment of osteoporosis. Calcium gluconate may be prescribed as a hypocalcemia treatment. Hypocalcemia, or low levels of calcium in the blood, can be caused by pregnancy, rapid growth, or hypoparathyrodism.

Although calcium gluconate may be administered intravenously, it cannot be given as an intramuscular or subcutaneous injection because it can cause abscesses and necrosis of the skin or other tissues. As a component of a topical gel, it is used for hydrofluoric acid burns for its ability to neutralize the acid. This drug is also available in chewable form, effervescent tablets, and suspended in a liquid.

As with any drug, there are certain side effects associated with calcium gluconate. Common side effects associated with its use are diarrhea and upset stomach. Patients are advised to contact a physician if any of the following side effects are observed: tiredness, weakness, extreme thirst, increased urination, or headaches. Other potential side effects include changes in mood, muscle or bone pain, unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, and nausea. There are other potential side effects and allergic reactions are possible, although rare.

Only a physician can determine whether the side effects experienced while taking calcium gluconate are cause for discontinuing treatment. Also, it can be important for a person to follow any instructions provided by a doctor or pharmacist when taking this drug. It should not be taken with certain other medications or medical conditions, particularly high calcium levels — also known as hypercalcemia. A doctor should also be consulted before taking calcium gluconate while pregnant or breast-feeding.

Calcium lactate gluconate, commonly called calcium gluconolactate, is calcium gluconate mixed with calcium lactate. The combination of these two calcium salts is high in calcium. Calcium lactate gluconate is commonly used as a food additive in foods that are enriched with calcium.

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Discussion Comments

By amysamp — On Jul 25, 2011

@saraq90 - My doctor suggested I take vitamin D supplements as well and I found one very important piece to taking the vitamin D -

You still have to go outside! Going outside promotes your body and the all so important vitamin D. I had my vitamin D tested and it was still low after taking the supplement for months. That's when I received the going outside for vitamin D tip.

I see many calcium & vitamin d combinations, and now I get why from the article - it helps promote calcium absorption. I, like you, have the take the chewables of calcium; but I have also heard calcium gluconate liquid might be the way to go.

But I can honestly say, I don't remember where I heard that - if it was an advertisement or a health article somewhere. So I would do some more research before diving in, because it can be a bit more expensive than the calcium and vitamin D combo chewable supplements.

By Saraq90 — On Jul 24, 2011

I try to get my calcium from natural substances as I have heard getting calcium from these substances is the best way of ensuring your body uses and absorbs the calcium.

However, my cup of yogurt and cheese intake is not always easy to get in on a busy schedule! So I take a calcium supplement on some days.

I take a chewable supplement that tastes like chocolate - even better! The last time my bone density was tested (which is a test I had done at a local health fair) my calcium levels were fantastic.

So I can safely say my dairy intake plus occasional chewable calcium is working!

Now my orthopedist suggested I add calcium with vitamin D. Has anyone else tried this combination? Is it worth the money?

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