What's the best calcium supplement
Calcium and Calcium Supplements: Getting the Balance Right
Calcium is essential for bone health. See how much you need and how to get it.
Calcium is essential for bone health throughout life. Although diet is the best way to get calcium, calcium supplements may be an option if your diet is insufficient.
Before considering calcium supplements, make sure you understand how much calcium you need, the pros and cons of calcium supplements, and what type of supplement to choose.
The benefits of calcium
The body needs calcium to build and maintain strong bones. The heart, muscles, and nerves also need calcium to function properly.
Some studies suggest that calcium and vitamin D may offer benefits beyond bone health: They may protect against cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure. However, the evidence for these health benefits is not definite.
The risks of not having enough calcium
If you don't get enough calcium, you could have health problems related to weak bones:
Children may not reach their full potential height as adults.
In addition, adults can have low bone mass, a risk factor for osteoporosis.
Many Americans do not get enough calcium in their diets. Children and adolescents are at risk, but so are adults aged 50 and older.
The recommended upper limit for calcium is 2,500 milligrams per day for adults ages 19 to 50. For people over 51, the limit is 2,000 mg per day.
Calcium and diet
The body does not make calcium, so you must get it from other sources. Calcium can be found in a variety of foods, including:
Dairy products, such as cheese, milk, and yogurt
Dark green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli and kale
Fish with edible soft bones, such as sardines and canned salmon
Calcium-fortified foods and beverages, such as soy products, cereals, fruit juices, and milk substitutes
To absorb calcium, the body also needs vitamin D. Some foods naturally contain small amounts of vitamin D, such as canned salmon with bones and egg yolks. You can also get vitamin D from fortified foods and sun exposure. Most adults have a recommended daily vitamin D intake of 600 international units (15 micrograms) per day.
Who Should Consider Taking Calcium Supplements?
Even if you eat a balanced and healthy diet, it may be difficult for you to get enough calcium if:
You follow a vegan diet.
You have lactose intolerance and reduce the consumption of dairy products
You consume large amounts of protein or sodium, which can cause your body to excrete more calcium
You are receiving long-term treatment with corticosteroids
You have certain digestive or intestinal diseases that decrease your ability to absorb calcium, such as inflammatory bowel disease or celiac disease
In these situations, calcium supplements can help you meet your recommended calcium intake. Ask your doctor or dietitian if calcium supplements are right for you.
Calcium supplements, do they present risks?
Calcium supplements are not for everyone. For example, if you have a health condition that causes too much calcium in your bloodstream (hypercalcemia), you should avoid calcium supplements.
It's not definitive, but there may be a link between high-dose calcium supplementation and heart disease. However, the evidence is mixed and more research is needed before doctors know what effect calcium supplements may have on heart attack risk.
There is a similar controversy surrounding calcium and prostate cancer. Some studies have shown that high calcium intake from dairy products and supplements may increase risk. In contrast, another more recent study did not show an increased risk of prostate cancer associated with total calcium, dietary calcium, or supplemental calcium intake.
Until more is known about these possible risks, avoiding excessive amounts of calcium is important. As with any health issue, you must talk to your doctor to determine what's right for you.
Types of Calcium Supplements
Several types of calcium compounds are used in calcium supplements. Each compound contains varying amounts of calcium, known as elemental calcium. Joint calcium supplements may have the following labels:
Calcium carbonate (40% elemental calcium)
Calcium citrate (21% elemental calcium)
Calcium Gluconate (9% Elemental Calcium)
Calcium lactate (13% elemental calcium)
The two primary forms of calcium supplements are carbonate and citrate. Calcium carbonate is the cheapest and therefore is often an excellent first choice. Other forms of calcium in supplements include gluconate and lactate.
In a pre-clinical trial, the Amorphical company showed that it not only stopped the deterioration of bone loss but also built bone and returned the animals from osteoporosis to osteopenia. In addition, in a clinical trial in menopausal women, the company showed that the absorption of the amorphous calcium carbonate was between 2 and 4.6 times more than normal calcium.
Some calcium supplements are combined with vitamins and minerals. For example, some calcium supplements may also contain vitamin D or magnesium. Check the ingredient list to see what form of calcium is in the calcium supplement and what nutrients may contain. This information is important if you have health problems or dietary concerns.
How to choose calcium supplements
When considering calcium supplements, consider the following factors:
Elemental calcium is important because it is the actual amount of calcium in the supplement. The facts label helps determine how much calcium is in a serving. For example, calcium carbonate is 40% elemental calcium, so 1,250 milligrams (mg) of calcium carbonate contains 500 mg of essential calcium. Be sure to note the serving size (number of tablets) to determine how much calcium is in a serving.