Calcium - Which tablet to take?

Updated: Feb 4

Choosing a calcium supplement.



Buying a Calcium Supplement can be confusing


Your GP has requested you take a calcium supplement but when you go to your pharmacy there are so may options? Experts agree that the ideal way to get the nutrients you need to stay healthy is from food. But when it comes to taking calcium, some people may not find it practical or possible to meet the recommended daily intake (RDI) from diet alone. For adults, the RDI is 1,000 milligrams (mg) daily, which rises to 1,200 mg per day for women over age 50 and men over age 70. Best way to start is to read the label and note whether the calcium is a Calcium Carbonate or a Calcium Citrate. They are both excellent and have their advantages and disadvantages

Calcium carbonate:- Calcium carbonate supplements tends to be the best value, because they contain the highest amount of elemental calcium (about 40% by weight). Because calcium carbonate requires stomach acid for absorption, it's best to take this product with food. Most people tolerate calcium carbonate well, but some people complain of mild constipation or feeling bloated.


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 such as Nexium. But because calcium citrate is only 21% calcium, you may need to take more tablets to get your daily requirement. Calcium citrate products include Citracal and GNC Calcimate Plus 800.

While a product with a high amount of calcium may seem to be the best, it may not be suitable for YOU. Because your body has difficulty absorbing more than 500 mg of calcium at a time, more of the mineral may go to waste. So, while you may think that you've met your daily requirements by taking that 1,000-mg calcium pill, you may actually be only halfway to your target. Calculate the cost per serving based on how many tablets or chews the package contains, and consider whether you might find it inconvenient to take several tablets a day.

  • Avoid products made from unrefined oyster shell, bone meal, dolomite, or coral, as they may contain lead or other toxic metals.

  • Don't exceed the daily dose recommended by the manufacturer—doing so increases the risk for side effects.

  • If you take iron or zinc supplements, tetracycline antibiotics, or levothyroxine (used to treat hypothyroidism), take them several hours before or after taking calcium to avoid potential negative interactions.

  • Make sure 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 want to choose a calcium supplement that contains vitamin D.