Calcium lactate is a calcium salt resulting from the fermentation of lactic acid and calcium. It is a white crystalline power when solid and is highly soluble in cold liquids. This is commonly used as a calcium fortifier in various food products including beverages and supplements.
Calcium lactate is also used to regulate acidity levels, in cheese making, as baking soda, as a food thickener and as a preservative for fresh fruits. In molecular gastronomy, it is most commonly used for basic spherification and reverse spherification due to the lack of bitterness in finished products made from calcium lactate.
Like calcium chloride, calcium lactate is used alongside sodium alginate. In regular spherification, it used in the bath. On the other hand, it is used as a thickener in reverse spherification and sodium alginate is used in the bath.
Dosage for calcium lactate can range anywhere from less than 1 gram to 2 grams for every 100 ml. For spherification processes, as much as 20g per liter may be used, depending on the results that want to be achieved. Concentration of this ingredient may also depend on the specific ingredients being used in the process. It should be noted that solutions with a greater PH than 3, will gel quickly in calcium lactate.
Calcium lactate has several uses in human and veterinary medicine.
Calcium lactate is used in medicine as an antacid.
It is also used to treat hypocalcaemia (calcium deficiencies). It can be absorbed at various pHs, thus it does not need to be taken with food. However, in this use it has been found to be less convenient than calcium citrate.
In the early 20th century, oral administration of calcium lactate dissolved in water (but not in milk or tablets) was found to be effective in prevention of tetany in humans and dogs with parathyroid insufficiency or who underwent parathyroidectomy..
The compound is a food additive classified by the United States FDA as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS), for uses as a firming agent, a flavor enhancer or flavoring agent, a leavening agent, a nutritional supplement, and a stabilizer and thickener.
Calcium lactate is also known as cheese lactate because it coagulates milk, making the chhena used in the production of paneer cheese. Chhena is also used to make various sweets and other milk proteins.
Calcium lactate is an ingredient in some baking powders containing sodium acid pyrophosphate. It provides calcium in order to delay leavening.
Calcium lactate is added to sugar-free foods to prevent tooth decay. When added to chewing gum containing xylitol, it increases the remineralization of tooth enamel.
Calcium lactate may be added to animal rations as a source of calcium.
The compound was formerly an intermediate in the preparation of lactic acid for food and medical uses. The impure acid from various sources was converted to calcium lactate, purified by crystallization, and then converted back to acid by treatment with sulfuric acid, which precipitated the calcium as calcium sulfate. This method yielded a purer product than would be obtained by distillation of the original acid. Recently ammonium lactate has been used as an alternative to calcium in this process.