Are you getting sufficient calcium?

Are you getting sufficient calcium?

Calcium and calcium dietary supplements: Reaching the precise stability

Calcium is essential for bone well being. See how a lot you want and how you can get it.

By Mayo Clinic Employees

Calcium is essential for bone well being all through your life. Though weight loss program is one of the simplest ways to get calcium, calcium dietary supplements could also be an possibility in case your weight loss program falls quick.

Earlier than you take into account calcium dietary supplements, make sure you perceive how a lot calcium you want, the professionals and cons of calcium dietary supplements, and which kind of complement to decide on.

The advantages of calcium

Your physique wants calcium to construct and keep sturdy bones. Your coronary heart, muscle mass and nerves additionally want calcium to perform correctly.

Some research recommend that calcium, together with vitamin D, might have advantages past bone well being: maybe defending in opposition to most cancers, diabetes and hypertension. However proof about such well being advantages isn’t definitive.

The dangers of too little calcium

If you aren’t getting sufficient calcium, you would face well being issues associated to weak bones:

  • Kids might not attain their full potential grownup top.
  • Adults might have low bone mass, which is a danger issue for osteoporosis.

Many People do not get sufficient calcium of their diets. Kids and adolescents are in danger, however so are adults age 50 and older.

Calcium necessities

How a lot calcium you want is determined by your age and intercourse.

Calcium: Really helpful every day quantity

19-50 years 1,000 mg
51-70 years 1,000 mg
71 and older 1,200 mg
19-50 years 1,000 mg
51 and older 1,200 mg

The really useful higher restrict for calcium is 2,500 mg a day for adults 19 to 50. For these 51 and older, the restrict is 2,000 mg a day.

Calcium and weight loss program

Your physique does not produce calcium, so you will need to get it by different sources. Calcium could be present in a wide range of meals, together with:

  • Dairy merchandise, resembling cheese, milk and yogurt
  • Darkish inexperienced leafy greens, resembling broccoli and kale
  • Fish with edible gentle bones, resembling sardines and canned salmon
  • Calcium-fortified meals and drinks, resembling soy merchandise, cereal and fruit juices, and milk substitutes

To soak up calcium, your physique additionally wants vitamin D. A couple of meals naturally comprise small quantities of vitamin D, resembling canned salmon with bones and egg yolks. You can even get vitamin D from fortified meals and solar publicity. The RDA for vitamin D is 600 worldwide models (15 micrograms) a day for many adults.

Who ought to take into account calcium dietary supplements?

Even if you happen to eat a wholesome, balanced weight loss program, it’s possible you’ll discover it troublesome to get sufficient calcium if you happen to:

  • Comply with a vegan weight loss program
  • Have lactose intolerance and restrict dairy merchandise
  • Devour massive quantities of protein or sodium, which may trigger your physique to excrete extra calcium
  • Are receiving long-term remedy with corticosteroids
  • Have sure bowel or digestive illnesses that lower your capacity to soak up calcium, resembling inflammatory bowel illness or celiac illness

In these conditions, calcium dietary supplements might allow you to meet your calcium necessities. Discuss together with your physician or dietitian about whether or not calcium dietary supplements are best for you.

Do calcium dietary supplements have dangers?

Calcium dietary supplements aren’t for everybody. As an illustration, if in case you have a well being situation that causes extra calcium in your bloodstream (hypercalcemia), it’s best to keep away from calcium dietary supplements.

It is not definitive, however there could also be a hyperlink between high-dose calcium dietary supplements and coronary heart illness. The proof is blended and extra analysis is required earlier than docs know the impact calcium dietary supplements might have on coronary heart assault danger.

An analogous controversy surrounds calcium and prostate most cancers. Some research have proven that top calcium consumption from dairy merchandise and dietary supplements might enhance danger, whereas one other newer examine confirmed no elevated danger of prostate most cancers related to complete calcium, dietary calcium or supplemental calcium intakes.

Till extra is thought about these doable dangers, it is essential to watch out to keep away from extreme quantities of calcium. As with every well being situation, it is essential to speak to your physician to find out what’s best for you.

Kinds of calcium dietary supplements

A number of completely different sorts of calcium compounds are utilized in calcium dietary supplements. Every compound incorporates various quantities of calcium — known as elemental calcium. Widespread calcium dietary supplements could also be labeled as:

  • Calcium carbonate (40% elemental calcium)
  • Calcium citrate (21% elemental calcium)
  • Calcium gluconate (9% elemental calcium)
  • Calcium lactate (13% elemental calcium)

The 2 predominant types of calcium dietary supplements are carbonate and citrate. Calcium carbonate is least expensive and subsequently usually a very good first selection. Different types of calcium in dietary supplements embody gluconate and lactate.

As well as, some calcium dietary supplements are mixed with nutritional vitamins and different minerals. As an illustration, some calcium dietary supplements may additionally comprise vitamin D or magnesium. Examine the ingredient record to see which type of calcium your calcium complement is and what different vitamins it might comprise. This info is essential if in case you have any well being or dietary considerations.

Selecting calcium dietary supplements

When calcium dietary supplements, take into account these elements:

Quantity of calcium

Elemental calcium is essential as a result of it is the precise quantity of calcium within the complement. It is what your physique absorbs for bone progress and different well being advantages. The Complement Info label on calcium dietary supplements is useful in figuring out how a lot calcium is in a single serving. For example, calcium carbonate is 40% elemental calcium, so 1,250 milligrams (mg) of calcium carbonate incorporates 500 mg of elemental calcium. Make sure to be aware the serving dimension (variety of tablets) when figuring out how a lot calcium is in a single serving.


Calcium dietary supplements trigger few, if any, negative effects. However negative effects can generally happen, together with fuel, constipation and bloating. Normally, calcium carbonate is probably the most constipating. You could must strive a couple of completely different manufacturers or forms of calcium dietary supplements to search out one that you simply tolerate the very best.

What prescriptions you’re taking

Calcium dietary supplements can work together with many alternative prescription drugs, together with blood stress drugs, artificial thyroid hormones, bisphosphonates, antibiotics and calcium channel blockers. Relying in your drugs, it’s possible you’ll must take the complement together with your meals or between meals. Ask your physician or pharmacist about doable interactions and which kind of calcium complement would give you the results you want.

High quality and price

Producers are chargeable for guaranteeing that dietary supplements are secure and claims are truthful. Some corporations have their merchandise independently examined by U.S. Pharmacopeial Conference (USP), (CL) or NSF Worldwide. Dietary supplements that bear the USP, CL or NSF abbreviation meet voluntary business requirements for high quality, purity, efficiency, and pill disintegration or dissolution. Several types of calcium dietary supplements have completely different prices. Comparability store if price is an element for you.

Complement type

Calcium dietary supplements can be found in a wide range of varieties, together with tablets, capsules, chews, liquids and powders. In case you have hassle swallowing capsules, you might have considered trying a chewable or liquid calcium complement.


Your physique should have the ability to take up the calcium for it to be efficient. All styles of calcium dietary supplements are higher absorbed when taken in small doses (500 mg or much less) at mealtimes. Calcium citrate is absorbed equally effectively when taken with or with out meals and is a type really useful for people with low abdomen acid (extra frequent in individuals over 50 or taking acid blockers), inflammatory bowel illness or absorption problems.

Extra is not all the time higher: An excessive amount of calcium has dangers

Dietary calcium is usually secure, however extra is not essentially higher, and extreme calcium does not present additional bone safety.

When you take calcium dietary supplements and eat calcium-fortified meals, it’s possible you’ll be getting extra calcium than you notice. Examine meals and complement labels to observe how a lot complete calcium you are getting a day and whether or not you are reaching the RDA however not exceeding the really useful higher restrict. Make sure to inform your physician if you happen to’re taking calcium dietary supplements.


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Nov. 01, 2022

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