What Do You Know About Calcium?

5 minutes read

Benefits of Calcium:

Calcium is renowned for its multifaceted benefits:

- Prevent bones from breaking easily: Reduces bone loss and decreases the risk of fracturing the vertebrae. (the bones that surround the spinal cord).

- Help keep bones strong: Increases bone density and reduces the risk of fractures later in life.

- Help keep teeth healthy and strong: Prevent tooth decay and loss.

When Do You Need Calcium?

1. Growth Phase: Children and teenagers require ample calcium for optimal bone development.

2. Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: The demand for calcium increases during pregnancy to support fetal bone growth.

3. Postmenopausal Women and Elderly: As bone density naturally decreases with age, adequate calcium intake becomes crucial to prevent osteoporosis.

4. Individuals with Lactose Intolerance or Dairy Allergies: They may have to seek alternative sources of calcium.

5. Osteoporosis and fractures: A condition of brittle bones prone to fractures. It fortifies bone structure, reducing the risk of debilitating breaks.

How to Take Calcium:

Recommended Dosages:

- Adults: 1000 mg daily, with an additional 200 mg if over 50.

- Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women: 1000 mg per day.

- Teens: 1300 mg per day.

- Elders and postmenopausal women: 1200mg per day.

  1. You should not consume more than 2000 mg of calcium per day (total from diet plus supplements) due to the risk of side effects.
  2. If you take iron or zinc supplements, tetracycline antibiotics, or levothyroxine (used to treat hypothyroidism), take them 2~3hours before or after taking calcium to avoid potential negative interactions.
  3. Ensure you're also getting enough vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium. If you aren't getting enough from sunlight, your diet, or your multivitamin, you may need to choose a calcium supplement that contains vitamin D.
  4. Taking calcium with magnesium also plays a role, as it converts vitamin D into its active form so that it can help calcium absorption.

Before Buying Calcium Supplements:

Calcium supplements come in different forms and doses:

🔶Calcium carbonate

The most common and the least expensive form of calcium. Calcium carbonate supplements contain the highest amount of elemental calcium (about 40% by weight). Because calcium carbonate requires stomach acid for absorption, it's best to take it with a meal. Most people tolerate calcium carbonate well, but some people complain of mild constipation, burping, or feeling bloated. If you’re taking a proton pump inhibitor or H2 blocker, which blocks stomach acid, it may affect the absorption of calcium carbonate.

⚠️ Many natural calcium carbonate preparations contain some lead, such as oyster shells or bone meal. Children should not take these supplements. ⚠️

🔶 Calcium citrate

Calcium citrate supplements are absorbed more easily than calcium carbonate. They can be taken on an empty stomach and are more readily absorbed by people who take acid-reducing heartburn medications. However, because calcium citrate is only 21% calcium, you may need to take more tablets to meet your daily requirement.


Calcium is a cornerstone of overall well-being, particularly for bone health. But if you have osteoporosis, calcium supplements do not replace other osteoporosis treatments such as bisphosphonates (e.g., risedronate [Actonel], alendronate [Fosamax], and raloxifene [Evista].) Consulting a healthcare professional can provide personalized recommendations tailored to your specific needs. Embrace the power of calcium for a stronger, healthier you!

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