Skip to main content


Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 31, 2023.

Excipient (pharmacologically inactive substance)

What is it?

Calcium, a soft grey earth metal, is an abundant chemical element with period table symbol Ca and atomic number 20. It is freely found in the earth's crust. Calcium in it's various salt forms is one of the most common additives in the medicne, food and cosmetic industry. As an inactive ingredient, it can be used as a diluent and colorant. Diluents are added to pharmaceutical tablets or capsules to make the product large enough for swallowing and handling, and more stable. Examples of common salts used in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry include calcium carbonate, calcium phosphate, calcium stearate, and calcium gluconate. Calcium is also needed by the body for healthy bones, muscles, nervous system, and heart and is found in over-the-counter, oral supplements.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.