how do you swallow a calcium pill?

stoneybaloneyJuly 21, 2009

Jiminy Crickets! These things are difficult to swallow. I don't understand it ... I even got the big bottle (of Calcium/Vitamin D) that says very plainly ... EASY TO SWALLOW. They are liars.

I'm supposed to take 1200 mg a day, which is two pills and I take one after breakfast and one after lunch. I was struggling so much with the full-size pill (which isn't all THAT big) so I cut them in half, thinking that would be easier. But it's not, it just makes me have trouble getting them down two times instead of once.

Anybody have any tips or tricks for swallowing a calcium pill? I've stuck 'em in the back of my throat, I've filled my mouth with liquid first and then the pill, I've tried to trick myself by eating a few bites first figuring that I'd be used to swallowing bigger items ... nothing works!

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break them in half

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 9:07AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

I use a drinking straw in the glass of water, and sort of put the end of the straw back a ways into my mouth. I find that helps me (I think) with those big vitamins and calcium pills.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 9:10AM
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I must have the same ones! LOL I take them with the evening meal and others at lunch time.
I remember posting here about it too. Someone said the name brand ones are smaller and easier to swallow. But I am too tight, I get mine at Walmart, The Spring Valley brand in the green and yellow bottle.

I read online put the pill in your mouth, take a big drink, turn your head too the side as you swallow them. It works for me.Well, when I remember to do that it seems easier anyway.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 9:16AM
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You don't. You buy the chewables. I would have long suffocated.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 9:36AM
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monica, I did cut them in half, but then both pieces get stuck. I don't think it's the size of the pill that's the problem, it's something else that makes them stick instead of going down.

chemocurl, I tried that ... I'm not fast enough and I GAG. Not good.

nodakgal, we're struggling with the same pills. I bought the Spring Valley twin pack. I'll try your tilt-the-head suggestion at lunch.

zeetera, I might be looking for those chewables before long! I just dread taking these things every day.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 9:51AM
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Crush them and mix in yogurt - strawberry is good.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 9:55AM
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Have you tried "coating" them with applesauce, or even dissolving them just a little, to soften the pill? I've done that, and it sure helps.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 10:05AM
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I have been taking Tums every night for at least 25 years. They are chewable, taste good and give me my needed calcium for much less than the cost of calcium pills.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 10:08AM
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Make sure that tablet is dissolving in your stomach. I had read that some pills we take just pass on through. So I put my (huge) calcium tablet, the vitamin c and vitamin d in some vinegar. The c and d dissolved but hours later that calcium tablet was still sitting in the vinegar. The pharmacist pointed me toward Citracal and said if it doesn't dissolve, bring it back. It dissolved. Now I feel the effort it takes to get that huge thing down is worth it.
Also, when I complained about the tablets to my dr. he said to chew some Tums. So I use a couple of Tums a day along with the foods that contain calcium and a couple of those tablets. I know what the label on the Tums says but I figure if the dr said to use them it will be ok.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 10:18AM
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I don't have trouble with calciium but I also take 3 fish oil a day and they seem to get stuck. I started taking them with a little milk and it helps- why I have no clue.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 10:22AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

it would take 6 Tums for me to get my recommended Calcium dosage, and then I'd have to also take a Vitamin D supplement in addition to that. The D is included in the Calcium I buy.

Per the link below...Vitamin D is necessary for absorption of calcium and the storage of calcium in bone. Antacids do not contain vitamin D.

While antacids may be all right for some, they aren't the economical and easy answer for everyone.

Here is a link that might be useful: Antacids and vitamin D

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 10:26AM
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Stoney, Just to make sure you understood. I don't tilt my head, I just turn my head/chin to the side. Like towards my shoulder when I swallow. I've gagged on so many of these pills it was worth a try to me. I hope it helps!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 10:32AM
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Two problems with Tums. You need a minimum of 1200 mg of calcium with vitamin D per day. How many Tums would you have to chew to get that? Do Tums have vitamin D? I don't see the point in taking something that doesn't work like it should. Your doctor is going to recommend citracal with D. I had a co-worker who chewed tums and still had to have a hip replacement. Please talk to you MD before making the decision to substitute Tums for calcium w/D.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 10:35AM
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Look for Citracal Petites. They are coated.

I also take a multi vitamin, which is bigger than Citracal Petites. I "throw" it as far back as I can on my tongue and quickly take a big drink of water and down it goes.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 10:36AM
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Mind over matter ... I just imagine I'm swallowing a chunk of steak because I'm certain I've managed food larger than my calcium pills without incident. I don't like breaking them apart thought because then you have to deal with sharp edges.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 10:55AM
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The straw trick really works for me,,,put it way back in your mouth and take a good suck through the straw...and it helps if you take it with a beverage you enjoy...

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 11:06AM
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FlamingO in AR

I take the same ones and compared to the glucosamine pill I used to take, the calcium pill seemed small. Now I've switched to a smaller gluc. pill that I found at Walgreens and all 3 of them are going down really nicely.

I use a big water bottle with the pull top and I squeeze water into my mouth as I'm taking the pill, it helps to force it down. I also have found that just raising one arm over my head helps, too.

I only take my pills when Woody is nearby, I've nearly choked a few times on them and it's scared me. I call it "I'm going to take my death pills now" so he pays attention for a minute. Usually. lol

I used to bite the gluc pill in half and it would still get stuck going down, it felt like it was ripping my throat out every time.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 11:17AM
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I couldn't swallow them either, not even the Citracal Petites, so I switched to liquid calcium - love it!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 11:25AM
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I have the chewables. Works for me. They are the Meijer brand.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 11:34AM
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Well, I'm obviously not the only one having problems!

So at lunchtime I'll try turning my head a bit and see if that works ... and then tomorrow I might talk myself into the straw trick.

I found an online nutrition health source that says:

A regular Tums contains about 200 milligrams of calcium and so is best for those needing only to get a small increase in their calcium intake. Tums have the effect of lowering the acidity of the stomach by reducing the amount of hydrochloric acid that is secreted. Taking several Tums every day, day in and day out, may have detrimental effects on digestion.

So I'm thinking that is not the way to go for me.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 11:39AM
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All vitamins seem so big now. I liked the old "1-a-Day" vitamin size. I would be happy to take more than one if they just weren't so big. The chocolate and caramel chewables are a more fun way to go. (I just can't remember to take them)

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 11:51AM
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I have a lot of trouble swallowing at times and I try not to take pills when I'm alone.

I have found that it is easier to get them down with a spoonful of applesauce, yogurt, or pudding. Be sure the yogurt is smooth. One time I took it (calcium) with blueberry yogurt and there was one huge blueberry in that spoon and I had both stuck!

I like the chewable Caltrate, but my budget likes the big calcium from Sam's. I break them in half and use a spoonful of smooth stuff, but I always keep a glass of water ready, just in case I need some help.

That straw idea sounds interesting. I'm going to give that a try too.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 12:10PM
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let me clue sure don't want to have to take script d! i had to for a while and it was about $3 a pill for the amount i needed...and the zemplar script? $100 co-pay...

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 12:11PM
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Don't forget to use a calcium pill that includes BOTH D and magnesium! D and Mg are needed for absorption.
Don't buy the cheap stuff- it usually does not include different kinds of Ca- people absorb different forms of Ca at different rates. It needs to be organic form.
Anyway- when I worked, I would occasionly get floated to the rehab floor. With patients who had some trouble swallowing large pills, they would coat the pill a little with olive oil- it made the pill VERY slippery! It was slippery to handle also, so if your hands don't work well this might not be an option for you.
If we could figure out a way to manufacture the pill to have the correct weight in a tiny pill we would be rich!!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 12:24PM
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Amazes my GS that I can swallow one calcium, two fish oil capsules and one multi vitamin all at once!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 12:39PM
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OMG I thought I was the only one that had trouble with calcium pills.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 1:19PM
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hey, ilmbg ... my bottle says, in 'other ingredients,' ... magnesium trisilicate and magnesium stearate. Are either of these what you're talking about?

And it worked! I tilted rather than turned, my head and that baby went right down. Yippee!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 1:20PM
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I've heard coating it with a little butter makes the pill go right bown.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 1:28PM
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Wow, so many suggestions here! Have you tried taking them with a liquid other than water? Like milk or juice? Just a thought.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 3:18PM
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I'm not supposed to take them with milk, my oncologist said to take them at a time when I'm not getting a significant amount of calcium already since the body will just expel what it considers 'extra.' I've taken them with water, and with diet pepsi and hot cocoa, I thought maybe the hot drink would be the key but nope. Didn't help.

But the head tilt thingie worked for me, the lunchtime pill went right down, slicker than ... than ... well, than anything. So I'll keep doing it! And then keep the straw idea on hand just in case this one fails me sometime!

Thanks for all the great ideas, and good luck to everyone else struggling with these darned things. I hope you find a solution here too.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 4:05PM
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I have trouble with Silver Centrum. I am supposed to take calcium pills but thought they would interfere with my digestive tract. Does anyone have that problem? I take 2000 units vitamin D and also a magnesium pill.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 4:36PM
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2000 iu's of vitamin D? Is that good? You need D to absorb the calcium but according to my doctor, 15 minutes of sunshine gives you sufficient D daily. D is absorbed by the body through the eyes when out in the sun. I take a supplement because I've never been exposed to the sun on a regular daily basis. Now your calcium supplement has it included and I believe it's no more than 400 to 600 iu's per capsule. (too lazy to get up and go look) Some supplements are not good if taken in large quantities. Not sure about D. I know any oil based vitamin needs to be monitored as the body doesn't eliminate what it doesn't use.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 6:32PM
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I've never had a problem with any pill. With a large one I do take a swallow of water first to moisten my mouth.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 7:08PM
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I have to take a bunch of pills in the morning. In addition to the prescriptions, I take a vitamin, 3 glusomine tablets, and 1 or 2 fish oil capsules. The glusomine and fish caps are tough to swallow. I wash the whole mess down with a glass of V8 tomato juice.

(I can buy 2 jugs of V8 at Sam's Club for about $6.)

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 1:06AM
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I'm glad the sideways thing worked for you. I'll have to give that a try. I used to be able to take any kind of pills and any amount without drinking anything. I was young then I guess. Smiles. Now they all get stuck so I always take my pills with food. I just take a decent sized bite of food, chew it a few times, shove the pill or pills in and swallow. The pills go right down with the food since you are really used to swallowing something bigger than the pill. I do follow with eating a few more bites since I'm usually in the middle of eating anyway. Been using that method for quite a few years and it's been good so far.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 1:17AM
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I actually LIKE the taste of the Viactiv Soft Chews...both their caramel flavor and the chocolate flavor. It also includes Vitamin D and K.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 2:09AM
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I have trouble swallowing them too along with my Vitamin B which is even bigger than the calcium.

My sister used to take calcium when she was pregnant that looked like an Alka Seltzer. You put it in water and it fizzed and disolved.

I need to get some of the chewables too.


    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 3:33AM
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Popeye could offer a good suggestion ...

... put 'em down while swimming with Olive Oyl!

ole joyful

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 4:50AM
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stoney- yes- the ca/mg ratio is supposed to be 2:1
I haven't looked, but I bet you might find some info on the Mayo Clinic site. And yes, we can only absorb so much ca at one time, so taking it with milk would just be a waste. Unless you like milk....ugh! Whatever works!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 2:01AM
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I take 12 pills a day, including one calcium plus Vit. D. Try to take with meals-food and lots of liquid. I've had 3 cups of coffee today so far.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 10:23AM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

a thread from 2009?? and last posted to in 2011.

My guess is there was someone spamming on it and that got removed and left it as it is now??

It has been happening a lot

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 3:44PM
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Well, I did not notice the dates at first, but I think I will post anyway, lol. I cannot swallow large pills. I now buy Calcium in gummy form and they taste delish! They also have daily vitamins and others. I would certainly keep these way out of the reach of children though as they do taste just like candy!

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 7:39AM
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Sorry the pic is so large!

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 7:40AM
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