Calcium is an essential component for longevity, healthy bones, and teeth. While you may be able to obtain enough calcium from your diet, some people require additional support by taking a calcium supplement.
Many people do not get enough calcium from their diet, which can lead to a deficiency and increased risk of bone-related disorders such as osteoporosis.
Calcium supplements are a convenient way to ensure adequate calcium intake, but with so many options available, it can be challenging to choose the right one. In this article, we will review and compare some of the best calcium supplements available, examining their pros and cons based on scientific evidence and expert recommendations.
What is Calcium?
Calcium is a chemical element with the symbol Ca and atomic number 20. It is an essential mineral required for numerous physiological functions in the body, including the formation and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth, nerve function, muscle contraction, and blood clotting.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body, with approximately 99% of it found in bones and teeth, and the remaining 1% in blood and other tissues. The body obtains calcium through the diet or by mobilizing it from bone tissue when needed.
7 Best Calcium Supplement Brands in 2023 Reviews
NOW Supplements Calcium & Magnesium – Best Overall
This budget-conscious dietary supplement provides each serving with 1,000 mg of calcium that is sourced from a mix of calcium carbonate, citrate, and ascorbate.
Animal studies have demonstrated that this special compound consisting of both vitamin C and calcium may be taken in by the body just like other forms of calcium. Additionally, it contains magnesium which plays an integral role in keeping bones strong and dense.
- Manufactured in reliable, audited facilities recognized by independent organizations.
- Plant-based friendly
- A high dose of medication may not be suitable for everyone.
- The oversized tablet size may be hard to ingest.
- Not certified by an independent third party to verify its potency and quality.
Not only is NOW Supplements one of the most cost-effective products out there, but it’s also vegan, kosher and soy-free. What’s more, they are made in facilities that have been certified by UL Solutions (previously Underwriters Laboratories) so you can be sure your supplements always meet stringent safety and quality standards.
Thorne Oscap – Best Calcium Supplements for Women
Thorne Research, a prestigious supplement manufacturer certified by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), offers Oscap—the ideal choice for women wanting to bolster bone health and their calcium intake with vitamins D, magnesium, and several B-vitamins.
- Packed with essential nutrients necessary for strong, healthy bones, this product is sure to maximize your skeletal health.
- Third-party certified manufacturer providing superior quality products.
- Unsuitable for those who choose a vegan lifestyle.
- comparatively costly
- may be difficult to accept
- Due to the lack of third-party testing, you won’t be able to trust that this product is safe and effective.
With its top-notch quality assurance standard backed by TGA certification, you can trust that your nutrition is in good hands!
Standard Process Calcifood – Best for Osteopenia
If you are suffering from osteopenia or bone loss, their wafers offer a convenient means to increase your calcium intake, with 200 mg per serving.
- Potently inspected and approved internally to ensure superior quality.
- Crafted with fresh, all-natural ingredients harvested from a certified organic farm
- Contains vitamin D to promote absorption
- This product is not a suitable option for those following vegan or vegetarian diets.
- not third-party tested, expensive
Standard Process is an extraordinary manufacturer that grows the majority of its supplements’ plants on its certified organic farm and utilizes rigorous in-house testing methods endorsed by third-party organizations such as USP and the Association of Analytical Communities to assure premium quality products.
Nature Made with Vitamin D3 – Best for Seniors
What is the best calcium supplement for seniors? Dr. Passerrello strongly recommends taking no more than Nature Made 500 milligrams of calcium at a time, as elemental calcium amounts that are too high can make absorption difficult for the body.
- Consuming adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D is a surefire way to ensure strong bones in all people, but especially those over 65 years old who may be more vulnerable to bone loss or fractures. Taking the necessary steps now can help protect against crippling osteoporosis later.
- Calcium and vitamin D may combine to stabilize bone health, maximizing absorption and making better use of calcium within the body.
- Nature Made is a trusted brand that has been verified to ensure the potency, purity, and safety of its goods through quality tests. Further, they adhere strictly to good manufacturing practices.
- This supplement is a breeze to take, making it an ideal choice for individuals who have difficulty obtaining enough calcium and vitamin D from their food alone.
- The supplement may not be suitable for individuals who have allergies or sensitivities to certain ingredients, such as soy or gluten, which are present in the product.
- Nature Made Calcium with Vitamin D3 may be pricier than other calcium dietary supplements containing comparable ingredients, which could not fit into the budget of certain people.
Nature Made offers USP-certified calcium carbonate in an ideal dose along with vitamin D3 which boosts absorption even further!
TheraCal D2000 – Best For Bone Health and For Teeth
TheraCal D2000 has been selected as the top supplement for bone health by VeryWellHealth. It contains 1000 mg of calcium citrate, 55 mcg of vitamin D3, 100 mcg of vitamin K2, 200 mg of magnesium, and 3 mg of boron, which are essential nutrients for good bone health and calcium absorption.
The formulation takes a multi-nutrient approach to promote bone strength and overall bone health. Calcium citrate, a highly absorbable form of calcium, is included in the supplement, along with vitamin D, which aids in the absorption of calcium.
TheraCal D2000 has been independently verified for content accuracy, purity, and freedom of contaminants through NSF International. It is also free from dyes and certified gluten-free. TheraCal D2000 is physician formulated and backed by Theralogix’s Medical Advisory Board.
- TheraCal D2000 is a top-rated supplement for bone health, according to VeryWellHealth, and provides a comprehensive approach to promoting strong, healthy bones.
- The supplement contains 1000 mg of calcium citrate, which has been shown to have excellent bioavailability, as well as vitamin D and K2, which aid in the absorption of calcium.
- TheraCal D2000 is independently verified for content accuracy, purity, and freedom of contaminants through NSF International and is physician-formulated and backed by Theralogix’s Medical Advisory Board.
- For those with optimal calcium intake and an adequate diet, supplementation could be unnecessary and may even pose risks; hence it is vital to ensure that additional calcium comes from safe sources.
Plus, this particular formula also supplies additional bone health benefits with vitamins K & D included in each serving.
Garden of Life – Best for Osteoporosis and Absorption
If you’re wanting to strengthen your bones with an organic and plant-based calcium supplement, Garden of Life Calcium is a worthy alternative.
- The product contains raw, plant-based, and certified organic calcium sourced from AlgaeCal Raw, which may be more bioavailable and easily absorbed by the body compared to traditional forms of calcium, such as calcium carbonate or citrate.
- The supplement contains a range of essential minerals, such as magnesium, which is necessary for bone and joint health, as well as for normal muscle and nerve function and a healthy immune system.
- The product contains vitamins K, D, and C, which are important for bone health and immune function. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, while vitamin K2 is important for directing calcium into bones rather than soft tissues.
- The product also includes live probiotics and digestive enzymes, which may support healthy digestion and absorption of the nutrients in the supplement.
- The product is Non-GMO Project Verified and certified gluten-free, which may be important for individuals with dietary restrictions or preferences.
- The supplement may be more expensive than other calcium supplements, which may not be cost-effective for some individuals.
- The supplement may not be suitable for individuals who have allergies or sensitivities to certain ingredients, such as soy, which is present in the product.
- The product may not be appropriate for individuals who have a history of kidney stones or who have underlying kidney problems, as high doses of calcium and magnesium may increase the risk of kidney stone formation.
- The product may cause gastrointestinal side effects, such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea, especially if taken in excessive amounts or without sufficient water intake.
Nonetheless, it’s important to weigh the potential advantages and drawbacks before taking any dietary supplements or medicines – so make sure that you consult with your healthcare provider first.
ChildLife Essentials Liquid Calcium Magnesium Supplement – Best for Toddlers
ChildLife Essentials’ Liquid Calcium Magnesium Supplement offers a natural, comprehensive source of essential nutrients for supporting your child’s bone well-being and development.
- All-natural ingredients: Maintain the health and well-being of your children with ChildLife Essentials Liquid Calcium Magnesium Supplement, made from natural, nutritious ingredients.
- High-quality nutrients: The supplement contains high-quality calcium, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin D3, which are all essential for healthy bone growth and development in children.
- Great taste: The delicious orange flavor of this supplement renders it more delectable for kids, thereby boosting the chances that they will take it on a regular basis.
- Dosage can be tricky: The suggested dosage varies depending on the child’s age, and administering the right amount can be challenging for some parents.
- While the supplement contains natural ingredients, it may not be appropriate for children with unique dietary restrictions or allergies. To ensure safety and promote optimal health, parents should speak to a healthcare provider before allowing their child to take this supplement.
It has no gluten or GMOs—a desirable characteristic that many parents look for in products like this. Parents can trust the quality ingredients used to make this supplement since it is undoubtedly beneficial for their children.
Potential Benefits of Calcium Supplements
Calcium is a mineral that is essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth. It is also important for many other bodily functions, including nerve and muscle function, blood clotting, and the release of hormones.
While it is best to obtain calcium from a balanced diet, some individuals may not consume enough calcium through their diet alone. In these cases, calcium supplements may be beneficial. Here are some potential benefits:
- Improved Bone Health: It is a key component of bone tissue, and supplementing with calcium has been shown to improve bone density and reduce the risk of fractures in older adults, especially women. In addition, calcium may also help prevent osteoporosis, a condition in which bones become brittle and weak.
- Lowered Blood Pressure: It has been found to lower blood pressure, especially in individuals with hypertension (high blood pressure). This effect may be due to the ability of calcium to relax blood vessels.
- Reduced Risk of Colon Cancer: Several studies have suggested that calcium supplementation may reduce the risk of colon cancer. The exact mechanism behind this benefit is not fully understood, but it may be related to calcium’s ability to bind to bile acids and fatty acids in the colon, reducing their harmful effects on the intestinal lining.
- Reduced Risk of Kidney Stones: It has been found to reduce the risk of kidney stones, especially in individuals with a history of kidney stones. This benefit may be due to calcium’s ability to bind to oxalate, a compound that can form stones in the kidneys.
- Improved Dental Health: It is an essential component of teeth, and supplementing with calcium may help prevent tooth decay and gum disease. It may also promote the remineralization of tooth enamel, which can help reverse the early stages of tooth decay.
It is important to note that excessive calcium intake can have negative health effects, including the risk of kidney stones and cardiovascular disease.
Therefore, it is important to follow the recommended daily intake of calcium, which varies depending on age and gender. In addition, calcium supplements should be taken under the guidance of a healthcare professional to ensure safe and effective use.
Potential Risks and Side Effects
|Potential Risk/Side Effect||Description|
|Hypercalcemia||Elevated calcium levels in the blood, may lead to nausea, vomiting, confusion, muscle weakness, and other symptoms.|
|Kidney Stones||Excessive calcium intake may increase the risk of kidney stone formation, especially in individuals with a history of kidney stones.|
|Constipation||Calcium supplements may cause constipation, particularly when taken in high doses or with inadequate water intake.|
|Interference with Iron Absorption||High levels of calcium may interfere with the absorption of iron from the diet, potentially leading to anemia in susceptible individuals.|
|Drug Interactions||Calcium supplements may interact with certain medications, such as antibiotics, blood pressure drugs, and thyroid hormones, reducing their efficacy or increasing the risk of side effects.|
It is important to note that the risks and side effects of calcium supplementation are generally dose-dependent and that most individuals can safely obtain adequate calcium intake from a balanced diet without the need for supplements.
Therefore, it is recommended that individuals consult with a healthcare provider before taking calcium supplements, especially if they have a history of medical conditions or are taking medications.
How to Take Calcium Supplements for Best Absorption?
|Dose||It is recommended to divide the total daily dose of calcium into smaller doses, no more than 500-600 mg per dose, to optimize absorption.|
|Timing||Calcium supplements should be taken with meals, preferably spread throughout the day, to enhance absorption and minimize gastrointestinal side effects.|
|Form||Different forms of calcium supplements, such as calcium citrate and calcium carbonate, have varying bioavailability and may be better absorbed under different conditions. Calcium citrate, for example, is more easily absorbed and can be taken with or without food, while calcium carbonate requires adequate stomach acid for optimal absorption and should be taken with meals.|
|Co-factors||Adequate intake of vitamin D, magnesium, and phosphorus is essential for optimal calcium absorption and utilization in the body. Therefore, it is recommended to ensure adequate intake of these nutrients through diet or supplements, particularly in individuals with low intake or absorption.|
|Interference||Certain foods, medications, and supplements may interfere with calcium absorption or utilization in the body. For example, a high intake of fiber, oxalates, or phytates may bind to calcium and inhibit its absorption, while certain medications, such as corticosteroids or antacids, may decrease calcium absorption. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid or minimize the intake of these interfering factors when taking calcium supplements.|
It is important to note that the optimal intake and absorption of calcium supplements may vary depending on individual factors, such as age, gender, health status, and lifestyle.
Therefore, it is recommended that individuals consult with a healthcare provider before taking calcium supplements to ensure appropriate dosing and absorption optimization.
How To Choose
|Quality||To ensure the highest levels of quality, potency, and safety, pick a reliable brand that has been tested thoroughly and meets all good manufacturing practices. Make sure to check if the product is verified by an independent third-party organization such as USP or ConsumerLab for additional assurance.|
|Type of Calcium||Depending on their form, supplementation has varying degrees of bioavailability and absorption. Those with low stomach acid or taking medications that reduce it may find that calcium citrate is the most absorbable option; however, cost-effectiveness could point to choosing calcium carbonate for those with sufficient stomach acidity. Additional forms like gluconate, lactate, and phosphate are less popular but still viable options—though scientific evidence is limited in these cases.|
|Dosage||Everyone’s calcium supplement needs are unique and depend on age, gender, health status, and dietary intake. To ensure that you get enough of the mineral in your diet daily it is recommended to meet the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) – which is 1,000 mg for most adults or 1,200 mg if you’re over 50 as a female or 70 as a male. Nevertheless higher doses may be necessary based on individual conditions or other specific requirements. Despite how beneficial calcium can be don’t exceed an upper tolerable limit of 2-3 g per day since higher intakes could lead to undesirable effects.|
|Additional Ingredients||Some calcium supplements may contain additional ingredients, such as vitamin D, magnesium, or other minerals or vitamins, which may enhance the absorption and utilization of calcium in the body. However, it is important to ensure that these ingredients are present in appropriate doses and forms and do not interfere with other medications or conditions.|
|Vetting||It is recommended to consult with a healthcare provider, such as a doctor, dietitian, or pharmacist, before choosing a calcium supplement, especially if you have a history of medical conditions or are taking medications. They can provide guidance on the appropriate type, dosage, and duration of calcium supplementation and evaluate potential risks and benefits based on your individual needs.|
Ultimately, selecting a calcium supplement requires studying many aspects such as its quality, the form of calcium it contains, dose amount, and any extra ingredients it has, and talking to a medical professional for further advice. By adhering to these rules, people can make well-informed decisions about the appropriate supplementation that meets their specific needs.
Dosage. How Much Calcium Do I Need Per Day?
The recommended daily intake of calcium depends on age, gender, and certain health conditions. The recommended daily intake for most adults is 1,000 milligrams per day, while women over 50 and men over 70 are recommended to consume 1,200 milligrams per day.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women may also require higher amounts of calcium. Adequate intake of calcium is important for bone health, muscle function, nerve transmission, and other physiological processes in the body.
However, it is important not to exceed the upper tolerable limit of calcium, which is 2,500-3,000 milligrams per day, as higher doses may increase the risk of adverse effects, such as kidney stones, constipation, and interference with the absorption of other nutrients. Individuals who are unable to meet their calcium needs through diet alone may consider taking calcium supplements, under the guidance of a healthcare provider.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Calcium Supplement is Absorbed the Best?
Calcium citrate is the most easily digested form of calcium, as it doesn’t require stomach acid for absorption. Unfortunately, this type of supplement can be quite expensive and does not provide a high enough dose of elemental calcium to meet women’s daily needs.
For that reason, it is important for women to consume adequate amounts from both dietary sources and supplements in order to reach their recommended intake levels.
Which Calcium is Best for Bone Strength?
- Utilizing calcium carbonate, an affordable and reliable source of calcium found in OTC antacids, is a simple yet effective remedy for digestive issues.
- While calcium citrate may cost a bit more, it is far better absorbed by the body, especially in elderly individuals.
What is the Best Calcium Supplement for Bone Loss?
Calcium citrate is particularly beneficial for those with low stomach acid or taking medications to reduce their acid levels since it can be absorbed more easily. Alternatively, calcium carbonate may be the better option if cost-effectiveness is a priority and one’s stomach acid levels are sufficient.
Is Vitamin D the Same as Calcium?
Calcium and Vitamin D, while different from one another, have a shared purpose: the preservation of bone health. Calcium is required for building robust bones, yet vitamin D serves to monitor calcium absorption by the body. In other words, both play an integral role in developing strong skeletons.
NOW Supplements offers a cost-effective solution that contains 1,000 mg of calcium from a combination of carbonate, citrate, and ascorbate.
The supplement also has magnesium for solid bones; however, this large dosage may not be suitable for everyone or easy to take due to the oversized tablet size.
Furthermore, without independent verification of potency and quality, it could diminish the efficiency of this product.
Thorne Research, recognized by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration, has designed Oscap specifically for women to provide them with vitamins D and magnesium as well as multiple B vitamins in addition to calcium. Though this supplement is of high quality, it may be considered expensive without third-party testing that can ensure its safety and effectiveness.
For individuals with osteopenia or bone loss, Standard Process Calcifood is a great option. Each serving contains 200 mg of calcium and vitamin D to ensure maximum absorption.
All ingredients are sourced from an organic farm and undergo in-house testing for quality control; however, this supplement may not be ideal for those following a vegan or vegetarian diet as well as lack third-party verification which could compromise its effectiveness.