Calcium lactate is a food additive that’s typically added to a wide variety of foods to enhance their texture and flavor or help extend their shelf life.
This compound can also be used as an ingredient in medications or certain types of calcium supplements.
This article reviews everything you need to know about calcium lactate, its potential benefits, side effects, and the foods most likely to contain it.
What is calcium lactate?
The calcium lactate is a white or cream, almost odorless food additive derived from lactic acid, a compound that cells naturally create when trying to produce energy in low oxygen conditions.
It’s produced commercially by neutralizing lactic acid with calcium carbonate or calcium hydroxide and most often used to stabilize, thicken, flavor, firm, or leaven foods. The calcium lactate is either referred to by its name or E number — E327.
Calcium lactate can also be added to calcium supplements or medications used to treat acid reflux, bone loss, a poorly functioning parathyroid gland, or certain muscle diseases.
It may also be added to animal feed or used to treat water to make it suitable for human consumption. Despite its similar name, calcium lactate does not contain lactose. As such, it’s safe for people with lactose intolerance.
The calcium lactate is a commercially produced food additive used to stabilize, thicken, flavor, firm, or leaven foods. It’s also used in water treatment facilities or added to animal feed, calcium supplements, or pharmaceutical drugs.
What foods contain calcium lactate?
Calcium lactate is commonly used as a food additive in packaged foods, such as:
- Jams, Jellies, and Marmalades
- Butter, Margarine, and Other Types of Fats Used for Cooking or Frying
- Canned Fruits and Vegetables
It’s sometimes also added to fresh foods, such as mozzarella cheese, fresh pasta, or precut fruit to help them maintain their firmness or extend their shelf life.
You can tell whether a food contains calcium lactate by looking for it on the ingredient label. Calcium lactate may also be labeled as E327.
Calcium lactate can be found in a variety of packaged foods, including jams, beer, and cooking fats, as well as canned fruits and vegetables. It can also be added to certain cheeses, fresh pastas, or precut fruits.
Possible health benefits
Very few studies have specifically researched the health benefits of calcium lactate. That said, it can be used as the main source of calcium in calcium supplements, and some studies link calcium-rich diets to stronger and healthier bones, though research is inconsistent.
Though sourcing your calcium directly from foods remains the best way to ingest this mineral, supplements can be a helpful tool for those who are unable to get enough calcium through their diet alone.
When consumed as a supplement, calcium lactate may provide benefits similar to those associated with other calcium supplements, including:
- Stronger bones. When taken together with vitamin D, calcium supplements are thought to contribute to the development and maintenance of strong, healthy bones.
- Reduced blood pressure. Calcium-rich diets may help slightly lower systolic blood pressure (the top number) in those with elevated blood pressure. However, there seems to be little benefit among people with normal blood pressure levels.
- Protection against preeclampsia. High calcium intakes during pregnancy may lower the risk of preeclampsia, a serious complication that affects up to 14% of pregnancies worldwide.
- Protection against colon cancer. Studies suggest that a high calcium intake from foods or supplements may reduce colon cancer risk. Still, more research is needed to confirm these findings.
Older studies further suggest that chewing gums containing calcium lactate together with the artificial sweetener xylitol may help protect against cavities. Yet, more research is needed to confirm these results.
Gram per gram, calcium lactate tends to provide smaller amounts of calcium than more popular forms of calcium, such as calcium carbonate and calcium citrate.
Therefore, to contain equivalent amounts of calcium, calcium lactate supplements may be larger than other types of calcium supplements, potentially making them harder to swallow. You may also need to take more pills.
The calcium lactate is likely less constipating than calcium carbonate, but it doesn’t provide any additional benefits beyond those associated with calcium citrate. This explains why it’s seldom used as the main ingredient in calcium supplements.
The calcium lactate is sometimes added to calcium supplements, which may help improve bone strength, oral health, and blood pressure, as well as perhaps even lower the risk of colon cancer in people unable to get enough of this mineral through their diet alone.
Safety and precautions
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), calcium lactate is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) and may be added to all foods except infant foods and formulas.
The calcium lactate is considered a safe source of calcium in calcium supplements. In addition, given that it contains less calcium than other forms, it’s less likely to cause constipation or upset stomach commonly associated with supplements containing calcium carbonate.
That said, it’s important to note that excess intakes of calcium lactate may result in hypercalcemia, a condition characterized by dangerously high blood levels of calcium, which may cause heart or kidney problems.
It’s best to not exceed the safe daily upper intake levels (UL) of 2,500 mg per day for adults under 50 years old and pregnant or breastfeeding people, 2,000 mg per day for those 51 years or older, and 3,000 mg per day for pregnant or breastfeeding people younger than 19.
Calcium lactate supplements may also interact with some medications, including diuretics, antibiotics, and anti-seizure drugs. Therefore, it’s best to seek guidance from your healthcare provider before taking such supplements.
The calcium lactate is generally considered a safe food preservative. As a supplement, calcium lactate may interact with some medications. Excess intakes of calcium lactate supplements may cause hypercalcemia.
The calcium lactate is a commercially produced food additive that’s used to stabilize, thicken, flavor, firm, or leaven foods. It’s mostly found in packaged foods, such as jams and canned goods, but it can also be added to fresh cheeses, pasta, or fruit.
Calcium lactate may also be found in some medications or used as the main source of calcium in certain types of calcium supplements. It’s generally considered safe, regardless of the form its ingested in.
That said, an excess calcium intake from supplements can be dangerous. For this reason, it’s best to seek guidance from a health professional regarding how to safely take one.
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