Tricalcium phosphate is a supplement form of calcium phosphate and is used to treat or prevent calcium deficiency. Calcium is essential for strong teeth and bones. Dairy products, nuts, seeds, and greens high in chlorophyll are all good sources of calcium.
Tricalcium phosphate is used as an anti-caking agent in powdered foods as well as a dietary supplement. Some processed foods use it as an additive to increase the amount of calcium they contain.
Although tricalcium phosphate has a long history of safe use in the food and supplement industries, there are some people for whom it should not be used, as well as possible interactions and side effects.
Many people also refer to it as:
Phosphate, calcium, and magnesium tribasic
Lime-based phosphate of bone
Phosphate of calcium
A dose of pills is poured into a hand.
Photographs by Getty Images
What Is the Function of Tricalcium Phosphate?
Bones and teeth are the primary receptacles for calcium in the body. Bone growth and development rely on adequate calcium intake, making this mineral especially crucial for children and adolescents. Calcium is essential for both adult and child bone and tooth health.
Foods that are already rich in calcium are the most efficient means of ingesting the mineral. Calcium supplements may be necessary for people who are lactose intolerant or who follow a vegan diet.
Calcium deficiency symptoms may include:
Spasms and cramps in the muscles
Sensation of tingling in the limbs
To have trouble remembering
Fragile fingernails and skeleton
Adequate calcium intake is especially important in preventing osteoporosis in postmenopausal women because bone is broken down faster than new bone is generated after menopause.
Contingencies That Might Occur
Tricalcium phosphate supplements are relatively risk-free, but there are a few things you should know before taking them. Tricalcium phosphate can occasionally result in undesirable effects, including but not limited to:
An upset stomach or feeling sick
Saline intake enhancement
An increase in the frequency with which one must go to the bathroom
Absence of hunger2
Before taking tricalcium phosphate, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, as well as people who have kidney stones or a disorder of the parathyroid gland, should consult with their doctors.
Tricalcium phosphate may decrease the effectiveness of some medications by decreasing their absorption in the body. If you are currently taking any medications, it is important to discuss the possible interactions that may occur between these drugs and tricalcium phosphate.
The following medications, among others, may not be taken together:
Heart failure medication
Supplemental Vitamin D
Drugs like some antibiotics2
Precautions and Directions
Dairy products and dark green vegetables are two of the most common food sources of calcium. Eating a healthy, well-rounded diet is usually enough to ensure adequate calcium intake.
Examples of naturally calcium-rich foods are:
Milk, cheese, cottage cheese, cream cheese, yoghurt, and other dairy products
Juice made from oranges that has been fortified with calcium
Tofu and other soy-based foods
Fatty fish like salmon and sardines
Foods that are predominantly green in colour, such as broccoli, kale, spinach, and turnip greens3
Calcium milligrammes (mg) per day is the RDA set by the Institute of Medicine. Age and postmenopausal status play a role:
Babies aged 0 to 6 months require 200 mg daily.
260 mg per day is recommended for infants between 7 and 12 months of age.
To keep their brains and bodies healthy, children aged 1-3 years old require 700 mg daily.
Daily doses of 1,000 mg are recommended for kids aged 4 to 8.
Nine- to eighteen-year-olds require 1,300 mg daily.
Teenagers (those aged 13-18) require 500 mg daily
In order to prevent bone loss, postmenopausal adults (ages 51-70) require 1,200 mg daily.
Over-the-hill adults require 1,200 mg daily3.
Keep in mind that you can get calcium from the food you eat without taking tricalcium phosphate as a supplement. If you need help deciding on the right dose, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Details to Keep an Eye Out for
Good manufacturing practise indicates that calcium phosphate is safe for human consumption.
Food and a full glass of water are recommended when taking tricalcium phosphate. Keep this supplement in a dry place that is cool and dry.
Different calcium supplements are available to suit different needs. Tricalcium phosphate is just one of the ingredients here.
Solely composed of calcium carbonate
Chemical formula: calcium gluconate
Lactic acid calcium
Vitamins and minerals are often included in calcium supplements. Vitamin D and magnesium are popular additives. If you’re thinking about taking a supplement, read the label to make sure it doesn’t contain any nutrients you’re allergic to.
Unless it’s made from dolomite, oyster shell, or bone meal, tricalcium phosphate is vegan-friendly. Vegans should avoid taking these supplements because they are likely to be loaded with lead and other metals. 5
If you have allergies or sensitivities, it is essential that you read the label to ascertain the origin of the ingredients and whether or not the supplement you are considering contains allergens.
Supplements that claim to do things they can’t should be avoided at all costs. No health supplement should ever claim to treat, cure, or prevent disease. 6
For some, tricalcium phosphate supplements are a must. Don’t forget that foods like dairy products, green vegetables, soy, and fish are great sources of calcium. Food-based calcium intake is superior to supplementation.
Is there any evidence that tricalcium phosphate is harmful to humans?
You can find tricalcium phosphate in a variety of foods and it’s also taken as a supplement. It has been determined to be fit for human consumption.
Before starting treatment with tricalcium phosphate, patients should consult with their doctor. It’s not recommended for people with these health issues. Tricalcium phosphate may not be safe for those who have had kidney stones, have kidney disease, or have a disorder affecting the parathyroid gland.
Tricalcium phosphate may interact negatively with some pharmaceuticals and nutritional aids. Vitamin D supplements, antacids, some antibiotics, and some heart medications are not recommended.
I was wondering how tricalcium phosphate stacks up against other forms of calcium.
The amount of calcium that is absorbed after it has been digested is called its “elemental” form. The elemental calcium content of calcium phosphate and calcium carbonate is the highest at 40%. Next in line is calcium lactate at 13%, followed by calcium gluconate at 9%, and finally calcium citrate at 21%. 7
In consultation with your doctor, you can figure out the best calcium supplement for your needs. Before deciding whether or not tricalcium phosphate is right for you, it’s important to talk about your diet, any preexisting conditions you have, and any medications you’re currently taking. Foods rich in calcium are the best source of this essential mineral.
In Verywell’s Own Words
Nutritional supplements like tricalcium phosphate are increasingly being used as an ingredient in processed foods. Calcium is best absorbed when consumed through food, but people who do not get enough calcium from food sources may decide to take a calcium supplement like tricalcium phosphate. Talk to your doctor about the supplements you’re considering and how they might fit into your treatment plan.