What type of Calcium supplement is best?

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What type of Calcium supplement is best?

Postby Too Many Pills!! » Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:53 pm


I was just told by my GP to start taking an over-the-counter calcium supplement since my DEXA scan showed my bones are starting to lose density. I know the body can best make use of calcium it gets from foods that are naturally rich in it. I've also heard that in general, OTC calcium supplements aren't absorbed well.

Is there a specific type of calcium supplement that is absorbed better than most? I plan to improve my diet as much as possible and would like to take supplements if they really work. But I hate to take even more pills if they're not going to help!

Too Many Pills!!
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Postby dlcnurse » Fri Apr 13, 2007 12:46 am

The body allows for absorption of only about 20-30% of ingested calcium. Recommended dosages of 1300 mg/day for 9-18 years of age, 1000-1200 mg/day for persons 19-50 years of age, and 1500 mg for persons over 50. The standard dose recommendation is that of 1200 mg/day for most adults. (men and women).

Foods that contain a higher level of calcium such as broccoli, chinese cabbage, milk, yogurt, sardines, soy nuts, dried figs, greens (kale, mustard, & turnip), cheese, and fortified orange juice.

You would need to consume 3 cups of any dairy products a day to achieve the daily recommended dose of 1200 mg/day.

Foods that affect the absorption of calcium include caffeine, chocolates, spinach, liver, and raisins to name a few.

Calcium supplements should be taken in 500 mg or less a day with meals for better absorption. Calcium carbonate is usually the easiest to digest.
Calcium absorbs better with meals because their absorption is increased with an acidic environment.

Also, if already taking a mutivitamin that contains Vitamin D, it is best to purchase a calcium supplement that does not contain Vitamin D. Do increase dietary fiber and water intake to avoid the problems with constipation, one of the major side effects of calcium supplements.

Along with building bone density is exercise. Exercise is a great way to build stronger bones and density. Bones become more thick and stronger with exercise so help promote strength and the prevention of falls.

an excellent article that talks about calcium supplements is http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/548054

Since 2000 there have been several studies on the effects of calcium and bone density associated with osteoporosis. Many state that calcium supplementation is not effective in protecting from falls/fractures while several studies site the effects of calcium and its effects on protection.
The key to many of these studies is that what they have found is that people were inconsistent in taking calcium supplements faithfully day in and day out.

There are many many calcium supplements out there on the market in todays society. Read the labels to find the product that is best for you. Taking larger doses impairs the absorption so keep in mind that although you may take a supplement 3-4 times a day rather than once or twice, you will benefit from taking it more often than not since it is much easier to absorb with meals, and breaks down easier with the smaller doses.
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Other issues

Postby NoPocketCash » Fri Apr 13, 2007 12:08 pm

When I take a supplement I try to use the ones with the least potential problems. Even if I don
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Postby GeeWhiz » Fri Apr 13, 2007 4:46 pm

There are a VERY large number of dairy associations (just Google "dairy association") who have a primary purpose of MARKETING dairy. The big ones fund research and heaven help the researcher that provides the wrong results.

Researchers at the Children's Hospital Boston studied over 100 food studies published between Jan. 1, 1999, and Dec. 31, 2003. In general, the food industry paid for the them, surprising the nutrition researcher who presided over the study.

Marion Nestle, a nutrition professor at New York University, said about it "I'm really glad they're publishing this because food companies have only one purpose in funding research, and that's to use the results in marketing. If they can't use the results in marketing, then they're not going to fund it."

Another study looked at over 200 studies about products that made a health claim directly related to the drink being studied -- for example, bone fractures related to calcium and milk intake

Not one of the studies fully funded by industry that tested beverages with a control group found ANY fault with Any drink's health claims.

Do you really believe ALL the tested claims are true?

Most calcium rich foods are fat free. Milk products generally are not. They include cheeses, yogurt, ice cream, butter, etc. A VERY low percentage of people eat low fat (or no fat) versions of these products. Most milk sold (and consumed) is whole milk. Most cheeses and ice cream are very high in saturated fats. Butter IS fat. One 8 ounce glass of whole milk contains the same amount of fat as 2 teaspoons of butter. If someone tried getting all their calcium this way it would be 8 teaspoons (not grams) of added saturated fat per day strictly from the milk they drink.

Cardiac disease is the number one killer of women. The FDA blames saturated fat, cholesterol, and trans fat... all of which can increase cholesterol in the blood.
Too much saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol in the diet increases the risk of unhealthy blood cholesterol levels, which may increase the risk of heart disease. "Consumers should lower all three, not just one or the other," says Schneeman. Saturated fat is found mainly in foods from animals. Major sources of saturated fats are cheese, beef, and milk. Trans fat results when manufacturers add hydrogen to vegetable oil to increase the food's shelf life and flavor. Trans fat can be found in vegetable shortenings, some margarines, crackers, cookies, and other snack foods. Cholesterol is a fat-like substance in foods from animal sources such as meat, poultry, egg yolks, milk, and milk products.

Most of your fats should come from polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, such as those that occur in fish, nuts, soybean, corn, canola, olive, and other vegetable oils. This type of fat does not raise the risk of heart disease and may be beneficial when consumed in moderation.

As dlcnurse said... it is much better to get your calcium from natural foods in your diet. Dairy is not a natural food for the majority of people in the world. Those countries who consume a lot of dairy are much more prone to heart attacks (Cardiac disease is our number one killer).

A cup of spinach has about the same amount of calcium as a cup of milk. It is full of vitamins and nutrients that milk lacks. It has no fat.

Take a look at: [url=http://www.slashdrugcosts.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=362&highlight=calcium#362]Non-dairy calcium rich foods list from the government
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Starting Calcium Supplements

Postby AntiPharm » Sat Apr 14, 2007 10:01 pm

Once you have worked out with your doctor what your calcium supplement dosage should be. Start with only half that dosage for a week. Then you can move up to a full dosage.
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Postby dlcnurse » Tue Apr 17, 2007 12:15 am

Few other facts on Calcium Supplements.
Regardless of what supplement your doctor recommends, when looking at the labels, look for the Elemental calcium content. This is the amount that is absorbable in the small intestine.

Also note that the amount absorbed is dependent on the acidity of the stomach, Vitamin D levels, estrogen levels, and the type of calcium supplement chosen.

It helps to know the difference of the supplements.
Calcium Citrate does not require stomach acid to absorb, so can be taken at any time with or without food. It does contain less elemental calcium per pill.

Calcium Carbonate such as Tums, Caltrate does require stomach acid for best absorbtion, and does require it to be taken with food. It contains more elemental calcium per pill.

It is best to avoid calcium supplements that contain dolmite, bone meal or oyster shell because of the risk of increased lead content.

Calcium Gluconate, Calcium Lactate also contains lower amounts of elemental calcium per pill.

Coral Calcium is no different than Calcium Carbonate so don't be fooled by the advertisements that say "it cures over 200 diseases".

For those persons who have difficulty in swallowing pills, calcium supplements does come in a chewable form or in a liquid form.

If you are unsure of how well your calcium supplement absorbs, there is a easy way to solve it by placing a pill in a small glass of warm water for 30 minutes and stir it occasionally. If after 30 minutes the pill is still not dissolved, chances are it also is not dissolving totally in your body either.

If the label does not tell you how much elemental calcium is in each tablet, it is easy to determine. Multipy the percent (%)of the DV x 1000 mg.
For every 0.10% x 1000mg = 100 mg. so if the label states that is has 60% of the Daily Recommended Value (DV), then the amount of elemental calcium is 600 mg per recommended dosage.

Also as NoPocketCash stated, only purchase calcium that has USP on the label. It has been verified to the purity of the supplement.

And before taking any calcium supplement, talk to your doctor about potential side effects, effects with other medications that you are taking, and what they recommend for a supplement that will compliment your health history, medications, and improve your overall health status and provide you with the best benefits of the calcium supplement you chose.
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So many different points of view

Postby You Amaze Me! » Tue Apr 17, 2007 11:02 am

You guys really amaze me!

This was a very simple question where any doctor or pharmacist would have given a 10 second answer.

You covered it with so many different points of view, from so many sources, and with such depth. It seems every aspect of getting the calcium you need has been explored, as well as finding the best option for your specific needs.

All this without anyone yelling "You're wrong, this is right!", that I am sure would happen in an organic grocery store that sells supplements. :lol:

If there was nothing else I knew about this website; this topic tells me that you do a great comprehensive job with balanced points of view.

Keep up the great work. The Internet needs needs more impartial sites like yours! 8)
You Amaze Me!

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