The Best Calcium Supplement:
Guidelines on Types, Dosage, and Vitamin D

What is the best calcium supplement?

Many people, especially women, do not get enough calcium to maintain strong bones. With the help of my children and the seemingly endless supply of milk in my home, I consider myself a world class consumer of dairy products.

I recently made a bet with my doctor that my calcium levels were just fine. After all, what could my intelligent, experienced physician know about my intimate relationship with all things dairy? Evidently, more than I do.

I lost the bet.

Yes, You Really Need a Calcium Supplement

Vitamin D3 and Calcium should be taken together.

As women age and move into their 40’s, their bodies lose the ability to absorb vitamin D from the sun through their skin. It’s the vitamin D3 that helps us absorb the calcium. D3 is the “good D” and is the type of vitamin D found in milk.

Your body must have vitamin D3 to absorb the calcium.

I may have increased my dairy product consumption, but I still needed a calcium supplement.

How Much Calcium Do You Need?

• 1000 milligrams(mg)per day if you are younger than 50

• 1200 milligrams(mg) per day if you are older than 50

What Are the Different Types of Calcium?

Calcium “Cheat Sheet” There are several different types of calcium. Check out the chart below from the Arthritis Foundation for the three most popular types, and to help determine the best calcium supplement for you.

• Other kinds, such as calcium gluconate and calcium lactate, have very low amounts of elemental calcium and are not recommended.

• Coral calcium and oyster-shell calcium products also are best avoided because they may contain lead.

Calcium Type 

Pros     

Cons

Calcium citrate
(Citrical, Solgar) 21% calcium

Most easily absorbed

Most expensive; doesn’t contain much elemental calcium

Calcium carbonate
(Tums, Caltrate, Rolaids) 40% calcium  

Least expensive; has more elemental calcium

Must be taken with meals or glass of acidic (orange) juice; may cause gas or constipation

Calcium phosphate (Posture) 39% calcium  

Does not cause gas or constipation; easily absorbed

More expensive than calcium carbonate

 

What Is the Best Calcium Supplement?

• In purchasing the best caclium supplement for your body, look for elemental calcium. Elemental calcium is what your body can absorb.

• Your body can only absorb 500 mg at a time, so you will need to take a supplement at least twice a day.

• Buy calcium that displays the USP symbol on the label.

How do you know how much elemental calcium is in your supplement?

A quick way to determine the amount of elemental calcium in a supplement is to look at the percentage of RDA of calcium in that supplement. For example, if a bottle says the calcium pill has 30% of the RDA of calcium, then it has 300 mg of elemental calcium.

Sadly, the very tasty and convenient Viactiv calcium supplements contain high fructose corn syrup. I chose to vote with my wallet and found a brand of calcium chew without high fructose corn syrup.

Calcium chews were great. For the first month. They had a little bit of sugar in them, which was no big deal. But I began to wonder if chewing them provided more calcium because I was actually mimicking a cow chewing its cud. Was there a placebo effect to the calcium chews and that’s why they worked?

I switched to a pill supplement that I took twice daily. I am not a good pill taker and have returned to the chews.

Find what calcium supplements works for you and stick with it. You’ll be happy you did when are standing tall at 80 years old, chasing those grandchildren or great grandchildren around the yard.

Here's few brands that we have tried and liked. They are reasonably priced and can be bought inexpensively through the internet. Click on the products below to purchase them at a 25% discount!

Calcium Soft Chews Fruit 75 Chews

Calcium Soft Chews Fruit 75 Chews

Calcium Soft ChewsA quick, easy and delicious way to get your daily Calcium. 500 mg of Calcium in each soft chew plus Vitamins D & K to aid in absorption and utilization. Great for women, men and children. Delicious fruit flavored chews are Vegetarian approved.


Calcium Soft Chews Chocolate 75 Chews

Super Calcium 1200 MG 60 Caps

Super Calcium 1200 MG 60 Caps

Super CalciumThis formula combines both calcium and vitamin D in order to promote bone and teeth health. Calcium is vital for building strong bones and teeth. Calcium is also needed for muscle function, nerve function, release of hormones and to help the function of many enzymes. Vitamin D regulates the absorption of calcium. Regular exercise and healthy diet with enough calcium helps lean and young adult women, who are at risk of osteoporosis later in life, maintain good bone health and may reduce their risk of osteoporosis (white and Asian women are particularly at risk for osteoporosis)..


What are the Best Foods with Calcium?

Food is usually the best way to get vitamins. Only a few foods — salmon, tuna, sardines, milk, and fortified cereals — can give you more than 100 IU of Vitamin D per serving.

Here’s a list of foods with calcium.

Source: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/calcium.asp

Food

Milligrams (mg) per serving

Percent DV*

Yogurt, plain, low fat, 8 ounces

415

42

Sardines, canned in oil, with bones, 3 ounces

324

32

Cheddar cheese, 1.5 ounces

306

31

Milk, nonfat, 8 ounces

302

30

Milk, reduced-fat (2% milk fat), 8 ounces

297

30

Milk, lactose-reduced, 8 ounces**

285-302

29-30

Milk, whole (3.25% milk fat), 8 ounces

291

29

Milk, buttermilk, 8 ounces

285

29

Mozzarella, part skim, 1.5 ounces

275

28

Yogurt, fruit, low fat, 8 ounces

245-384

25-38

Orange juice, calcium-fortified, 6 ounces

200-260

20-26

Tofu, firm, made with calcium sulfate, ½ cup***

204

20

Salmon, pink, canned, solids with bone, 3 ounces

181

18

Pudding, chocolate, instant, made with 2% milk, ½ cup

153

15

Cottage cheese, 1% milk fat, 1 cup unpacked

138

14

Tofu, soft, made with calcium sulfate, ½ cup***

138

14

Spinach, cooked, ½ cup

120

12

Ready-to-eat cereal, calcium-fortified, 1 cup

100-1,000

10-100

Instant breakfast drink, various flavors and brands, powder prepared with water, 8 ounces

105-250

10-25

Frozen yogurt, vanilla, soft serve, ½ cup

103

10

Turnip greens, boiled, ½ cup

99

10

Kale, cooked, 1 cup

94

9

Kale, raw, 1 cup

90

9

Ice cream, vanilla, ½ cup

85

8.5

Soy beverage, calcium-fortified, 8 ounces

80-500

8-50

Chinese cabbage, raw, 1 cup

74

7

Tortilla, corn, ready-to-bake/fry, 1 medium

42

4

Tortilla, flour, ready-to-bake/fry, one 6" diameter

37

4

Sour cream, reduced fat, cultured, 2 tablespoons

32

3

Bread, white, 1 ounce

31

3

Broccoli, raw, ½ cup

21

2

Bread, whole-wheat, 1 slice

20

2

Cheese, cream, regular, 1 tablespoon

12

1

 

 

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