Essential Supplements: Top 5 Recommended Calcium Supplements

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and is vital for bone health and strong teeth. Nutritionists recommend diet as the best way of getting calcium, but you can opt for calcium supplements when a diet doesn’t meet your daily calcium needs. However, before taking calcium supplements, you need to know the amount of calcium you need, the type of supplements you should take, and the benefits and drawbacks associated with supplements.

The purpose of this article is to highlight what calcium supplements are, why you need them, and some of the recommended calcium supplements on the market.

Best Calcium Essential Supplements 
Comparison Table


What Are Calcium Supplements

Calcium supplements are elemental forms of calcium. Elemental calcium is essential for human health but should be taken to supplement calcium that is obtained from dietary sources. The supplements may also be taken to address calcium deficiency. Most of the supplements usually contain two forms of calcium – calcium citrate and calcium carbonate. The supplements may also contain Vitamin D, which is required for the body to absorb calcium.


Types of Calcium Supplements

Supplements have different kinds of calcium compounds. Each of these compounds has different amounts of elemental calcium. Common supplements are typically labeled as:

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

Benefits of Calcium

Calcium is important for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth. About 99% of the calcium in your body is stored in your teeth and bones. Your muscles, heart, and nerves need calcium to function properly. The mineral helps regulate the heart’s rhythm and controls blood pressure. It also helps in blood clotting and wound healing. Calcium also helps in maintaining the connective tissue in the entire body and helps prevent gum diseases. It is also involved in cellular processes such as gene regulation.

In the bloodstream, calcium is needed to release hormones like insulin, send nerve signals, and regulate how blood vessels dilate and contract. Studies have established that the benefits derived from taking foods rich in calcium and Vitamin D go beyond bone health; they also help protect against certain diseases and medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer. However, the evidence of these health benefits is not conclusive.


Health Risks and Symptoms of Taking Too Little Calcium

If a person doesn’t get enough calcium, a variety of health problems develop that are related to weak bones, including:

  • Low bone mass among adults – a risk factor for osteoporosis
  • Stunted growth among children as they may not reach their full potential adult height

Calcium deficiency is also known as hypocalcemia. It is caused by low Vitamin D and calcium intake, but conditions such as surgical removal of the stomach, kidney failure, and the use of diuretics (drugs used in the treatment of high blood pressure) can also lead to hypocalcemia. Low levels of calcium may not produce any symptoms. However, when the symptoms manifest, they may include:

  • Muscle Cramps
  • Numbness and tingling in fingers
  • Fatigue
  • Convulsions
  • Poor appetite
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Mental confusion

Calcium Requirements

The amount of calcium you need depends on your gender and age. For men aged between 19 and 50, the daily Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is 1,000 mg, and the daily upper limit is 2,500 mg. For men aged between 51 and 70 years, the daily RDA is 1,000 mg, and the upper limit is 2,000 mg. For those aged 71 or older, the daily RDA is 1,200 mg with an upper limit of 2,000 mg. For women aged between 19 and 50 years, the daily RDA is 1,000 mg and the upper limit is 2,500 mg. For those aged 51 or older, the daily RDA is 1,200 mg, and the upper limit is 2,000 mg.


Calcium and Diet

Since your body doesn’t produce calcium, it gets it through other sources. Foods rich in calcium include:

  • Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt
  • Dark green leafy vegetables (for example, kale and broccoli)
  • Fish with edible soft bones including canned salmon and broccoli
  • Foods and beverages that are fortified with calcium (for example, cereal and fruit juices, soy products, and milk substitutes)

For the body to absorb calcium, it needs Vitamin D. Therefore, you should also take enough foods that contain the vitamin including egg yolks, canned salmon with bones, and fortified foods. You can also get Vitamin D from sun exposure. Vitamin D RDA is 15 mg per day for adults.


Risks of Calcium Supplements

The supplements are not meant for everyone. If you have a condition that contributes to hypercalcemia, you should avoid taking the supplements. Even though there is a lack of definitive evidence, there may be a link between heart disease and calcium supplements. More research is needed to establish whether they can lead to a heart attack.

There is also a controversy that calcium may cause prostate cancer. Some studies show that increased calcium intake can contribute to prostate cancer. However, more recent research has shown no risk of prostate cancer from dietary or supplemental calcium intake. Therefore, until more is known about the risks, it is vital that you avoid excessive amounts of calcium.


Choosing Calcium Supplements

You should consider the following factors when choosing calcium supplements:

  • The amount of elemental calcium since it is what the body absorbs for bone growth
  • Tolerability of the side effects, such as bloating, constipation, and gas
  • Prescriptions you are taking since calcium interacts with synthetic thyroid hormones, blood pressure medications, bisphosphonates, and antibiotics among other medications
  • Quality and cost
  • Supplement forms, including powders, capsules, tablets, liquids, and chews
  • Absorbability


Why You May Need Calcium Supplement

Although you may eat a healthy balanced diet, it may be difficult to get enough calcium if you:

  • Have osteoporosis
  • Follow a vegan diet
  • Limit dairy products or have a lactose intolerance
  • You are taking corticosteroids for an extended time period
  • Have digestive diseases that decrease the ability to absorb calcium, for example celiac disease
  • Take large amounts of sodium or protein, which contributes to more calcium excretion

Taking calcium supplements may be beneficial in these situations to meet your daily calcium requirements. However, you need to talk to your doctor to determine the amount of calcium you need.

When your calcium intake is inadequate, your body will remove calcium from your bones, which makes them brittle and weak and may cause osteoporosis. Prevention of calcium depletion from the bones is an important measure to prevent osteoporosis. It is recommended that you take foods rich in calcium, but if the depletion doesn’t stop, taking calcium supplements is vital.


Top 5 Recommended Calcium Supplements

We recommend the following calcium supplements:


Solgar Calcium Magnesium with Vitamin D3

This supplement offers a combination of Vitamin D3, magnesium, and calcium, which work together to provide you with health improvement benefits. The supplement provides 1,000 mg of calcium, 500 mg of magnesium, and 400 IU of Vitamin D3. The advantages include ease of use, improvement of overall health, and it has additional vitamins and minerals. However, it is not perfect for users who prefer taking pure calcium supplements.

New Chapter Bone Strength

This supplement is unique since its calcium is derived from algae. It boasts additional supplements such as Vitamin K and Vitamin D that are beneficial for heart and bone health. Users report an increase in bone density after using for a year. One tablet provides 256 mg of Calcium. Three tablets per day provide 77% of the recommended daily calcium intake. The advantage of the supplement is that it is sustainably sourced and has no synthetic fillers or binders.

Citracal

The supplement is great for those looking for a lot of calcium in one convenient and slow release tablet. Each tablet has 600 mg of calcium from calcium citrate, 500 IU Vitamin D, 5 mg sodium, and 50 mg magnesium. The advantages are that the supplement is convenient, facilitates high absorption, and is a good source of magnesium and Vitamin D. However, the disadvantage is that it has traces of titanium dioxide.

Rainbow

It is derived from calcium citrate. The supplement is also a good source of Vitamin D but also has Horsetail extract, spirulina, iron, and boron, which may be beneficial for runners. Spirulina is a good source of dietary protein. Each tablet has 200 mg of calcium and 200 IU of Vitamin D. For convenience, you only have to take 2 tablets twice a day. The 4 tablets equal 80% of the daily recommended calcium intake.

Swanson

It is perfect for people looking for Vitamin D and calcium. A tablet has 315 mg of calcium and 200 IU of Vitamin D but also has vegetable based stabilizers and binders. A tablet twice a day serves 63% of the daily recommended calcium intake.


Conclusion

Calcium is needed in the body to build and maintain strong bones and teeth. Calcium also facilitates proper functioning of your muscles, heart, and nerves. You can obtain calcium from a diet, but you may need calcium supplements to meet the daily calcium requirements. Dietary calcium generally is safe, but supplements could expose you to health risks, such as a heart attack.

If you take calcium-fortified foods and calcium supplements, you may be getting more calcium than needed. We recommend that you check the food labels and consult with your doctor to determine the amount of calcium you need. We hope that this article has adequately addressed what calcium supplements are, why you need them, and some of the recommended supplements on the market.