Define Calcium Gluconate

Overview

The human body requires the mineral calcium, which occurs naturally in food, for normal cardiac, muscle and nerve functioning, as well as to produce and maintain strong bones. Formed from oxidation of the sugar glucose, calcium gluconate is a salt compound and dietary electrolyte supplement that consists of calcium and glucose.

Significance

Health care providers recommend calcium gluconate to treat and prevent abnormally low levels of calcium in the blood and conditions that result from such calcium deficiencies, including bone loss and hypocalcemic tetany. Children often take the dietary supplement to facilitate normal growth and better overall health. Other uses of calcium gluconate include reducing high levels of phosphate in the body and treating cramped muscles due to the bites of black widow spiders.

Function

When taken orally as a dietary supplement, calcium gluconate helps the body maintain a proper balance of calcium, which strengthens bones and protects them from deteriorating. Calcium gluconate also helps the body absorb smaller amounts of certain minerals, such as phosphate, by attaching to the minerals, which helps them leave the body.

Features

Calcium gluconate is available in three forms: powder and tablet versions taken orally and an injectable version. Individuals should take the oral varieties with food to help their body absorb more calcium. If a meal is high in bran or fiber, take the supplement at least two hours after or one hour before eating. Calcium gluconate shots must enter a large vein directly and slowly through a small needle to prevent complications, such as dying tissue, also called necrosis, due to a dangerously fast increase in calcium levels.

Considerations

Possible mild side effects of taking calcium gluconate orally include constipation, dry mouth, increased thirst or urination, nausea, reduced appetite and vomiting. The primary potential side effect of calcium gluconate shots is irritation near the injection site. Consult a health care professional immediately if using calcium gluconate leads to extreme constipation, illogical or unclear thinking, rash, swelling in the facial area, wheezing, severe nausea or vomiting, or any other unusual symptoms, especially in children.

Warning

Individuals, particularly children, who are allergic to calcium or who have kidney stones, high levels of calcium or low levels of phosphate should not take calcium gluconate. Individuals who have suffered from kidney stones previously or who currently have parathyroid gland disease should consult with a doctor before taking calcium gluconate, as should people who take other calcium supplements, antacids or a tetracycline type of antibiotic.

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