Calcium Supplements: Why You Should Think Twice

calciumI’ve made the argument before that some supplements may be necessary even within the context of a nutrient-dense, whole-foods diet. Some nutrients are challenging to get through food alone, especially if you’re not digesting food optimally or you’re struggling with a disease that increases your need for particular nutrients. I routinely recommend supplements to many of my patients, and have seen the benefits of proper supplementation in my own life as well.

That said, there are several supplements that are commonly recommended by conventional doctors and healthcare practitioners that are unnecessary at best, and potentially harmful at worst. Perhaps the best example of this is calcium.

Are you taking a common supplement that may increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and death? Tweet This

Calcium has become extremely popular to supplement with, especially amongst older women, in the hope that it will prevent osteoporosis. We’ve all seen the products on the market aimed at the “worried-well”, such as Viactiv and Caltrate, suggesting that supplementing with calcium can help maintain bone health and prevent osteoporosis, a serious condition affecting at least 10% of American women. (1) Yet the evidence that calcium supplementation strengthens the bones and teeth was never strong to begin with, and has grown weaker with new research published in the past few years. A 2012 analysis of NHANES data found that consuming a high intake of calcium beyond the recommended dietary allowance, typically from supplementation, provided no benefit for hip or lumbar vertebral bone mineral density in older adults. (2) And a 2007 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that calcium supplements don’t reduce fracture rates in older women, and may even increase the rate of hip fractures. (3)

Beyond being ineffective for bone health, calcium supplements are associated with some pretty serious health risks. Studies on the relationship between calcium and cardiovascular disease (CVD) suggest that dietary intake of calcium protects against heart disease, but supplemental calcium may increase the risk. A large study of 24,000 men and women aged 35–64 years published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in 2012 found that those who used calcium supplements had a 139% greater risk of heart attack during the 11-year study period, while intake of calcium from food did not increase the risk. (4) A meta-analysis of studies involving more than 12,000 participants also published in BMJ found that calcium supplementation increases the risk of heart attack by 31%, stroke by 20% and death from all causes by 9%. (5)

An analysis involving 12,000 men published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that intakes of over 1,000 mg of supplemental calcium per day (from multivitamins or individual supplements) were associated with a 20% increase in the risk of death from CVD. (6) Researchers suspect that the large burst of calcium in the blood that occurs after supplementation may facilitate the calcification of arteries, whereas calcium obtained from food is absorbed at slower rates and in smaller quantities than from supplements. (7) It is also suspected that extra calcium intake above one’s requirements is not absorbed by bones, but rather excreted in the urine, increasing the risk of calcium kidney stones, or circulated in the blood, where it might attach to atherosclerotic plaques in arteries or heart valves. (8)

The Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institutes of Health has compiled a comprehensive review of the health risks associated with excess calcium, particularly from supplementation. (9) For example, daily supplementation of calcium at 1000 milligrams is associated with increased prostate cancer risk and an increase in kidney stones. (10) Additionally, a recent Swedish study reported a 40% higher risk of death among women with high calcium intakes (1400 mg and above), and a 157% higher risk of death if those women were taking a 500 mg calcium supplement daily, compared to women with moderate daily calcium intakes (600-1000 mg). (11) A Consumer Lab analysis found that many of the calcium supplements they analyzed failed quality testing, including lead contamination and mislabeled contents. (12)

Even if you’re not popping a calcium supplement every morning, that doesn’t mean you’re not consuming supplemental calcium. Many commonly consumed foods in the United States are fortified with supplemental forms of calcium, including orange juice, breakfast cereals, non-dairy milks, breads, instant oatmeal, graham crackers, and other staples of the standard American diet. While these foods are typically eliminated on a whole foods or Paleo diet, it’s important to pay attention to whether some of your fridge staples, such as commercial almond, coconut, or other non-dairy milks, are fortified with calcium. You may be consuming more supplemental calcium than you realize. In addition, many multivitamins contain significant amounts of calcium—so be sure to check the label if you’re taking one. (This is one reason I advise against multivitamins in most cases: they contain too little of the right nutrients and too much of the wrong ones.)

If you’re concerned about maintaining healthy bones, you’re better off ensuring adequate calcium intake from foods like dairy products, sardines, salmon, dark leafy greens and bone broth. 600 milligrams per day from food (approximately two servings of dairy products or bone-in fish) is plenty to maintain adequate levels of calcium in the body. Healthy bone formation also depends on vitamin D and vitamin K2, both of which regulate calcium metabolism. There are also other minerals besides calcium involved in supporting bone health, such as silica and magnesium. If you have adequate levels of these nutrients, and regularly perform weight-bearing exercise, there is no need for calcium supplementation, which will likely do more harm than good.

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Comments Join the Conversation

  1. Marisa H says

    So how do I find a mineral supplement that doesn’t include calcium? I am taking mineral supplements prescribed by my functional nutritionist temporarily while I fix my gut problems, but I don’t want to have to buy 10 individual mineral supplements!

    • says

      I cannot find any mineral supplements that do not include calcium, either. Most likely because there is a demand for calcium in supplement form, so it is added to EVERY multivitamin and multi-mineral out there! Perhaps that will change at some point soon, but what to do now?

      I, personally, get my “mineral supplement” from bone broth because it is always recommended to get nutrients from food, and the minerals in bone broth are very bio available. I realize that you can’t always have bone broth, especially if you travel a lot, so supplementation is important. Lets hope that that demand changes.

      I’m also curious if supplementation of other minerals could pose a problem, like calcium, as well. Hair analysis mineral testing is available for a couple hundred, but you need to understand how to interpret the results or have a practitioner who is experienced enough to interpret it. Always better to test, not guess. Then you can supplement only the minerals that you need.

      By the way, do we know each other, Marisa?

    • Elvira says

      Mariza you are right regarding common calcium supplement, but it doesnt mean you should completely ignore the fact that calcium perhaps the most abundant in the body and most used by the body mineral. In your gut problems actually calcium deficiency play big problem-calcium needs for muscle for contraction, passing nutrients throught he cell membrane…..
      The question is ONE-where is that food grade real functional calcium that body recognises?
      I have been searching this for years and eventually succeeded. at kingofminerals co uk

    • Elvira says

      I stil wonder how one can think their body have enough calcium in store, how one cannot know that 90% calcium and 80% phosphorus are stored in bone reservior-means the body constantly uses them. I do believe public disappointed on common calcium supplements regardless of brands-all of them carbonate calcium chemically processed with chemical acids. Thus do plenty of harm but no any single benefit. But food doesnt provide you with sufficient level of calcium because dairy products fortified with synthetic version and pasteurizasion converts organic into inorganic calcium salts but remind yourself what calcium does in the body:

      The value of calcium in metabolic processes can not be overstated, because in absence of this nutrient would not function normally nervous and cardiovascular systems, blood clotting would be violated, the production of enzymes and hormones would be violated, protein synthesis, muscle contractile activity, and, of course, largely would suffer one’s sceleton system. According to some data, a deficiency of this element directly leads to degeneration of nearly 150 different chronic diseases!

      Go for real bioavailable as I have mentioned you once about site where it is on offer. activated liquid calcium
      good luck!

    • Hal says

      I think Nutrigold’s product called Women’s Multi Gold has magnesium and multiple vitamins but not calcium. I could be wrong.

      Nature Made has a product called Magnesium Bone Complex that has Magnesium, D3, and K2 only. I mail ordred this one recently for my wife. I doubt you can find these two products on shelves at grocery stores and pharmacies. I have looked for them at supplement specialty stores.

    • Matt says

      New Chapter and Megafood both provide excellent daily multivitamin’s that contain a very small amount of calcium, and even that is sourced from algae.

    • Lucian says

      it seems like the author is suggesting that it is better to get your nutrition through the right foods rather than taking tablets.

    • Pete P says

      You don’t have to worry about the little amount of calcium that multivitamins or non-calcium-specific supplements contain. this study is about people who take the daily recommended doses or more, meaning 800mg and up. Other vitamins/supplements often contain something like 15mg of calcium, which is insignificant.

  2. LauraSue says

    Very timely. My doctor asked me to take calcium supplements and I looked at him skeptically and asked if there was really any proof that they helped. He said yes, but he would. I’ll stop them now. One less pill to take.

  3. Sara says

    Where are you getting 600 mg a day? That’s just over half what I understand the RDI of calcium to be.

    • Elvira says

      in my search I found that indeed the body can accumulate no more than 150mg calcium per day
      http://www.sljol.info/index.php/JFA/article/download/1837/1530 During skeletal growth and maturation which is until the early twenties in humans, Ca accumulates in the skeleton at a rate of 150mg per day. But we are forced to take 1000-1500mg where is 60% of content is chemical additived Ha! we are nourishing body with what??? This is RDA, Fda, sCIENCE, Medical professions! Whatever they have said DO the opposit! Corruption, profits, we are just numbers, control-their agenda.

      • Lemurette says

        Interesting article on inulin and CA absorption; however the article has not been published (not yet at least) right? Would like to have Chris’ feedback on the hypothesis that inulin helps CA absorption.

        Elvira: In see two different issues that you’ve rightly stressed:
        1. taking CA supplements sucks because it’s artificial CA, one’s body cannot absorb it properly (whatever the dose)
        2. 1000-1500mg is an insanely high amount; even if it were natural CA, the body could not absorb that much.

        Do you agree?

      • David C. Evans, DC says

        Elvira, The article that you referenced discusses bone absorption of calcium. This is not the only function of calcium in the body. I have been a practicing Chiropractor for over 26 years and I have found that short term calcium doses of 1000 to 1200mg per day can, in some cases, dramatically improve musculoskeletal conditions. And, before you accuse my of being a part of the “corruption, etc”. I send my patients to the local vitamin store to buy it. Also, you might want to be careful in putting you faith in the FDA. Remember, every prescribed drug that has caused injury in humans was first passed by the FDA as safe.

        • Kelly says

          I totally agree David. Perhaps some people have been eating too many high calcium foods, or taking too much calcium in relation to other minerals or nutrients, but it’s so true that calcium is needed for so much more than just ‘the bones’.

          If people become too deficient, calcium will be pulled from the bones for these other uses. And if they become extremely deficient, they’ll develop strong muscle cramps as a result of tetany. I used to have strong cramps in my feet — would bolt out of bed in severe pain and spasm. Magnesium didn’t do a thing to help…it wasn’t until I increased my calcium that these extremely painful cramps went away.

          p.s. Elvira…no one’s “forcing” anyone to do anything. Sheesh.

      • Rob says

        Because the calcium in supplements is not as bioavailable, meaning our body doesn’t absorb it too well, there must be larger quantities of it in the supplements so that we get any benefit out of it. Also it’s not about the mgs, it’s about the elemental calcium taken in which is what the calcium in our bodies is. This elemental calcium value is also typically tower than the mg dosges you are reading about. You can be skeptical about science and pharmaceuticals all you’d like but the fact of the matter is that people have been shifting to “organics” and worrying about the contents of such supplements only very recently and human health is worse than every today than it ever was in the past (the same past where people took all of these supplements). If people who wrote articles knew half of the things they were talking about or how to find a respectable and reliable study then doctors wouldn’t need to 4 years of med school plus anywhere up to 12 years after that of education to learn about what really happens in the body. Chosing not to listen to your doctor over “one pill a day” just because you read an article that has cited unreliable studies where the results (should you chose to read the study) are not even clear is stupidity. If you’re not getting enough calcium into your body and if your bones are getting weaker or your muscles are more fatigued then you should be taking a calcium supplement. It may not be an entire 2-3 pill dosage, you can always take one or two pills less, but you do need it. Don’t be stupid and ignore a doctor over a person who wrote some article. Journalism is equally corrupt and writers more likely to write about things that stir up a controversy than the pharmaceutical companies are likely to try to kill you slowly with drugs

  4. Nancy W. says

    How much vitamin D should I be taking, especially during the winter months? Recently my blood work indicated I was somewhat deficient?
    Thank you.

    • Elvira says

      stay away from artificial vitamin D if you want to preserve your health. Go for sun, organic eggs, cod liver oil, no chemicals animal fat-all should be of highest quality.

      • Kelly says

        Wrong. Get your levels checked first, then proceed according to your doctor’s suggestions, and/or you can find out more from the Vitamin D Council website. Studies have shown that healthy men use 3,000-4,000iu’s a day. Not everyone, especially this time of year can ‘go for sun’. CLO has more vitamin A than D in it…

    • Elvira says

      NO, not at all, unless supllement is made of food grade, biologically active, recognised by the body and most importantly calcium never would be absorbed if it come in isolated form and therefore only complimented with number of esential trace elements naturlly found in foods the calcium would benefit your body.

    • Rob says

      Go ahead and ignore a doctor because some article writer who cites unreliable studies said so. That makes perfect sense, everyone knows that the 4-16 years doctors go to school is just BS anyways right?

      • Sharon says

        Actually, yes, it is good to ignore the doctors sometimes. While they go to school for many years and learn about anatomy, drugs and surgery, they do not learn much significantly at all about nutrition and how the body works. My husband was told no less than 8 times by 18 doctors that he was within a few days of dying. I mobilized with non-AMA learned biochemists and nutritionists and put him on a regimen that built up his blood and restored life to his dying organs. The doctors have all been shocked and surprised and tell me to keep doing what I’m doing, but they do not want to know what it is I did… threw away the prescription drugs (poisons) and turned to skilled practitioners of the human body… some of whom have been jailed for practicing medicine. Why? Because the AMA is broken and corrupt. They are great for emergency procedures (some times) but terrible and restoring health. If you want to put your life in the doctor’s hands be my guest. They have killed several of my loved ones with drugs. No thank you. Be brave. Take charge of your own life and learn something. You will be shocked at how little your arrogant doctor actually knows.

  5. Erin says

    Weight bearing exercises won’t do ANY good if you are not properly aligned. Bones must be aligned vertically in order to receive the benefit of gravity’s force on them. So stop wearing heeled shoes! Read hereandhere andherefor more info.

      • Erin says

        No. Scoliosis normally only effects a portion of the spine. You can still work on properly aligning your spine to get the bone building benefits. Weight bearing exercises with proper alignment will still positively effect the rest of your joints that are susceptible to bone loss (hips, neck, etc.).

        I guess I need to clarify that weight bearing exercises for the express purpose of building bone will not work if you are not properly aligned. I thought that would be implied since the topic of the blog post is calcium supplementation for bone loss. Having scoliosis does not mean you will not benefit from exercise in general.

  6. says

    At my recent yearly checkup my doctor, too, gave me a script for calcium tablets. When I asked her some questions about nutrition, she referred me to the nurse-practitioner. This is why I rely on this site and others for the correct information.

  7. says

    Timely article, I’ve always believed that Calcium deficiency was more of a result of a poor digestion (due to food sensitivities/allergies, etc), vitamin D deficiency, and a lack of liberal quantities of dark leafy greens in the diet. We’ve been brainwashed to believe that we need a multivitamin, Cal-Mag supplement when women become older, or that we need to consume lots of milk and cheese – nice to see the other side being discussed.

    • Press says

      You are spot on Doc, but keep in mind that the type of calcium being supplemented is critical. Calcium citrate and calcium lactate are highly bioavailable, while the mosts commonly used and cheapest to produce, calcium carbonate takes 12 steps to be converted to calcium bicarbonate (the form the body can use). Hence a myriad of studies showing Ca supps are harmful are testing the WRONG calcium. Devils in the details. Impaired digestion is the first challenge (stomach too alkaline) then Vit D is needed to pull the (converted) calcium out of digestion into blood serum, then EFAs are needed to pull the calcium out of serum into the tissues where it is needed.

      • Gloria says

        From my research calcium carbonate and calcium citrate provide different functions. Citrate is more of a builder of bones, carbonate helps to keep bones from leaching out calcium, so I ascertained that a combination form of calcium is best That is why the natural red algae seems the most advantageous, as it is natural.

    • Helen says

      Sounds great unless you are lactose intolerant like I am. I also have IBS and osteoporosis so my doctor told me I have to take calcium. I tried New Chapter Bone Strength algae based supplement and stopped because of the terrible gas, bloating and cramping it gave me. Not sure if it was from the algae or from something else in the pill.

      • Maureen says

        Helen, I had osteoporosis as well. I very gradually started to build bones by walking around the house and then in my neighborhood with weighted vest. Be sure to do this gradually, very gradually (start with a few minutes or your knees will hurt). After two years I can walk for a mile or two with two twenty pound vests, carrying a twenty pound weight in one hand as I hold leashes for my two dogs with my other hand. Osteoporosis is gone completely. The bone specialist does not believe my progress is because of the weights. They think my initial measurements were incorrect–but I had them done twice a year apart. Be sure to buy a neoprene exercise belt to hoist the weighted vest and keep it close to your rib so that your shoulders are not weighed down. This also helped relieve my migraines and I lost 20 pounds without changing my diet. I was not even trying to lose the weight because I believed the weight was just a result of post menopausal natural slowing of metabolism. Win, win.

        • Lemurette says

          Thanks a lot Maureen for sharing your experience, vey interesting. So you did not change anything to your diet? The fact osteoporosis is completely gone is only due to the weights? Pretty amazing…

          • Maureen says

            Yes, I did not change my diet at all. Just wore the weighted vest and lost the weight. You can start with a few pounds in he vest and add more as you become accustomed to weight. My new discovery is sea weed, kelp, etc to increase iodine. Helped with bloating, constipation, stiffness at back of neck, energy, headache. I feel fantastic. My daughter mentioned I may be iodine deficient because my hair seemed to be thinner recently. Still too early to see if any improvement in hair, but I cannot recommend sea vegetables enough!

        • Sharon says

          Being too short for my weighted vest, I find the same problem of my shoulders really strained as I walk with the vest. I never thought to use an exercise belt to give it a lift–there are so many available, which one do you use?

          • Maureen says

            Gold’s gym brand. It works well. Neoprene belt is also Gold’s gym but I ‘m sure any brand would work as well, I think.

        • says

          There’s some interesting research on omega 3 FA (EPA) on reducing the incidence of osteoporosis. The FA reduces osteo clastic (bone degrading) activity while enhancing osteoblastic (bone building) activity. Overall goal should ultimately be reducing inflammation through diet.

        • marsha says

          I have osteoporosis and my knees starting to feel weak. My Dr. 2 years ago recomended to take calcium, but I didn’t. Now I am so confuse, reading all these comments about calcium. I am in the process to search to buy a good quality calcium to see if these will help me to keep sytrtong my knee bones, also I star to feel shoulders pains off and on. And I think that it can be related to the loss of calcium. I am a menopausal we woman and I need some help about calcium/magnesium and vit. D.
          Thank you.

          • Maureen says

            If your diet is pretty good and if you get about 600 mg calcium from diet you probably don’t need supplements. Try any brand weighted vest with only 4 of the 20 weights inserted. Then work up to the 20 weights. Don’t forget to use exercise neoprene belt to keep weights from hurting your shoulders. You can wear it around the house doing light housework, etc. or going for a walk. This weight bearing exercise and strengthen your bones. It’s been a life changer for me.

  8. says

    Calcium of course is also more a factor of your acid/alkaline balance as your body will tend to deplete itself of calcium if there is too much acid, and the modern diet is certainly acid heavy.

    In terms of nutrient supplementation my personal philosophy is that there are so many nutrients that we don’t know about yet. So many important ones have only really been discovered and I think this is the tip of the iceberg. I try to consume nutrient powerhouses so that I know I am getting all the known and unknown nutrients. i wrote a post where I came up with a micronutrient factor which is a number that identifies those foods with the most nutrients in them. It seems organ meats, and green vegetables (almost exclusively) can give you 99.9% of your nutrients and in huge quantities so my new goal is to aim for these predominantly.

  9. Vanessa says

    Hi Chris, what is your opinion about collagen supplements. My mother bought collagen drops that were being sold on a radio health program. When I looked at the label, I found a lot of added chemicals and an incomplete nutritional facts sheet. Does supplementing with collagen help the bones of older women? Do you recommend any collagen supplements or advise against them?

    • jake3_14 says

      Collagen helps maintain joints, hair, and nails, not bone. The best and cheapest way to get collagen is from bone broths that use the bones of pasture-raised animals, because they always include all the mineral co-factors required to integrate the collagen into joints. The next best and cheapest way to get collagen is with powdered, beef gelatin, bought online.

  10. mary goodpastor says

    What form of “calcium” were used in these studies? citrate? chelated? lactate? carbonate? oyster shell?
    gluconate? or some other form?

    This is mindful of the report that came out that vitamin E was useless. Turns out the researcher used synthetic E, formulated in a lab, which is totally useless. The natural E has been saving lives for decades.

    There are so many different studies of calcium presented here. The reporting is an all inclusive indictment.
    It is too bad. The truth lies somewhere between the extremes you present.

    • says

      I think you make a great point Mary and that was my question too!

      I recently read the book Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox, which I think adds insight to this.

      I occasionally recommend calcium supplements to my clients, but very specifically, and not without the needed magnesium, vitamin D, and K2 in complement.

    • says

      I’m far from being an expert but I do think that you make a good point as well. There are forms that are probably more easily absorbed by the body than others and those should not be put into the same category. Of course getting vitamins and minerals from food sources is always best. The problem is that our fruits and vegetables where you would get a good portion of your vitamins and minerals are sorely depleted of what we need., unless of course you grow your own or can purchase organic. I’ve just started on this water supplement x2o that has highly active minerals in it and is helping my body to become more alkaline then acidic. I strongly believe I’m getting the minerals I need from the sachet I put in my water and am so glad for it, but again, not being a chemist or an expert I don’t know. I just know how it makes me feel.

  11. says

    Chris,
    Great article!
    Your readers need to know that Magnesium is Nature’s physiologic Calcium Channel Blocker. This has been widely studied and documented in numerous peer-reviewed articles that start in the 1960′s (Altura/Altura, Iseri, etc.) and proceed all the way to the present day with Bolland & Reid (2010, 2011, 2012). The gig is up on Calcium as a supplement. In fact, it’s the fastest way to calcify the human body.
    As you well know, there are at least 18+ nutrients needed to make healthy bone matrix. Calcium is but one of them, and the mineral that is ALWAYS overlooked is Magnesium! Why?… It does too much in the human body. There are 3,571 proteins that MUST have Mg to work, there are 350-500 enzymes that won’t work without Mg, in fact, ALL 150 Kinase Enzymes MUST have Mg to work — these are the enzymes that make all 100 trillion cells of our body work, btw, and finally, 98% of the ATP that runs our body & cellular functions MUST be attached to Mg. Why? It doesn’t work otherwise. Period.
    Now the key to Osteoporosis is fascinating… Osteoblasts ONLY build bone matrix in an alkaline environment. In order to ensure that the bone stays alkaline requires the use of a key enzyme called: Alkaline Phosphatase. Any one want to guess what divalent, non-oxidant, metabolic mineral is REQUIRED?!? Yup, you guessed it: Magnesium!
    It’s worth noting in your next blog on bone loss… It’s all about Magnesium…
    Cheers!

    • says

      I concur. Magnesium appears to be the poor cousin of calcium and to a less extent Vitamin D, mostly because of the media and industry advertising. And yet, it’s used in life-saving procedures in trauma, obstetrics and more. There are plenty of reasons for this. For one, Magnesium is a muscle mineral – affecting smooth muscles such as the heart. It’s found in the soft tissues and organs mostly, hence blood tests are not an accurate diagnosis of deficiency. Magnesium \ Calcium ratios are not balanced properly in many people. Soils are used and reused and contain less and magnesium – and magnesium is not always a common component in commercial fertiliser either.

      If anyone knows of Mark Hyman MD, one of his secret weapons for patients is magnesium. I’ve also been put on a course of Mg myself and it was potentially life changing!

      The dairy lobby and has a lot to answer for in my opinion.

    • Gloria says

      Yes, Morley! You sound like my chiropractor. All along they have said 1:1 – now, it’s even suggested 2:1 Mag/cal. However, there are genetics involved too – and hormones (progesterone) I have a great alkaline environment — but, at 66 years young I do have osteopenia – on the scale just below osteoporosis. My mother died from causes related to osteoporosis. All but one of my 6 sisters have osteopenia. We grew up in the country with lots of fresh veggies from our garden and hand-picked fruit. No computer to sit in front of but running, biking playing outside. I recently began using a rebounder instead of running for more osteoblasts. But I betcha magnesium is lacking in all our cases, and probably D3 and many other important bone-building minerals, along with progesterone..No one has mentioned boron, but that’s important too. Now, after all this new information, I’ll be getting out all my previous notes and tweaking them. God does not make junk — we make junk out of what began as a very beautiful, well-working system by all the crap we put into our bodies because of all the crap we’ve been given from the medical community and made to believe ‘they knew best’. People drink too much soda/pop – there’s another bone eater! I’m even beginning to wonder about bone scans! But magnesium is so very important — just stay away from magnesium oxide — it’s worthless (80% worthless)!

  12. Erin says

    Great information and I will certainly be forwarding on to certain family members…

    What are your thoughts on calcium citrate supplementation to limit oxalate absorption? I’m hoping that my over-absorption of oxalates is a temporary issue, due to leaky gut and fat malabsorption – but I’m trying to balance the risk/benefit of taking calcium citrate for a time to help lower it.

    • Debra says

      Erin, I have the exact same question. My urinary oxalate levels were more than 3 times above normal, and I’ve had 3 kidney stones. I’ve been using 100-200 mg calcium citrate with most meals to help bind the oxalates in my food. But, having had my gallbladder removed, I’m wondering if fat malabsorption might be a big factor for me, along with leaky gut. (I also have a major autoimmune disease.)

    • Carlos says

      I wanted to mention this too. I see an abundance of comments with a lot of varied questions that will be hard for Dr. Kresser to address them all, but my own direct concern is about oxalates.

      I’ve been keeping track of my nutrient intakes and always noticed that Calcium tended to be “low” when compared to the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance), precisely around 650mg in my case and always convinced myself it was Ok because I take in sufficient vits. D & K, other minerals qne sunshine, but was blindsided by the high intake of oxalates too, which the food-tracking software I use ignores completely. But I realized I took plenty of them, from Spinach and other dark-leafy greens, nuts and even dark chocolate.

      I have been studying the possibility of supplementing Ca, but for now trying bone-in canned sardines once weekly, Salmon and also have taken to occasionally drink milk, which I didn’t before, in order to increase Ca, but still remain under the RDA.

      Others I can’t seem to get in enough quantities (according to RDA) are Potassium, Vit E and often too Mg.

  13. Carrie says

    I’m curious what calcium supplements were used in these studies- were they limestone based or foodbased? I’m not arguing with the idea that people oversupplement on everything, including calcium, but am mainly curious of the forms of calcium supplementation. For example, there are some that are algae based, and include Vitamin K in the claim that it will direct the calcium to the bone and not the arteries. Thoughts?

    • Chris Kresser says

      Why not just get calcium from food, rather than food-based supplements? The studies covered a variety of forms of supplemental calcium, but they weren’t designed to detect differences between the forms.

      • says

        I agree with Chris that synthetic calcium supplements are questionable. That said, I could not argue with the results that people got through calcium supplements doing RBTI. From an RBTI standpoint, using calcium supplements without regard to body chemistry is a hit or miss game. For example, people using using calcium lactate with an acidic pH are doing more harm than good in that it will tend drive down the pH.

      • Christina says

        Hi Kris! Do you know if the algae based calcium is a good idea, couldn’t find it in the comments? I know you say from food, but when I eat dairy, my fibro/RA/Sjogren’s worsens a great deal (guess it’s the lectins or a sensitivity)? I’m borderline osteoporotic from the Prednisone they had me on for uveitis (that I stopped, why I did it I don’t know), and my hip density keeps decreasing, though I’m premenopausal (and according to dr’s, my ‘hormones’ will fix everything). I can do weight bearing exercise and sunshine (though MEGA UV rays exposed where I live, it’s always high)… I actually tried of these algae derived ones and it flared my uveitis, wish there was one I could take b/c I need extra supplementation to gain bone mass, I’m told.

  14. Vicki Brooks says

    I had two parathyroid adenomas removed a few months ago, and the Drs there recommend Citrical for life. I am more worried about the consequences of taking calcium supplements than I am about whatever risk there may be to me in not taking them, so am drinking raw milk, not taking calcium supplements. Otherwise following the PHD with recommended supplements. Hope this is an okay path for me to follow. I do get that low calcium tingling in my gums and mouth pretty frequently.

      • Nancy says

        I read your article and am a bit confused. My calcium is very low along with my magnesium and vitamin D3 (almost dangerously low). My doctor gave me a powder form of Calcium Citrate to take twice a day (1 scoop equals 500 mg). This is based on my blood work – I have a lower back issue (sciatic nerve is pinched between my vertebra). The supplements aren’t to be taken indefinitely only until my numbers increase to normal. I also have been eating more leafy greens, etc.

        Nancy

        • Sharon says

          Nancy, your doctor could well be misreading your blood tests. High calcium levels in the blood can mean your bones are leaching calcium and thus, the blood is carrying it away, possibly to the joints where it will cause problems. Low calcium levels can actually mean that your calcium is good – bones are not leaching. Be sure to get another opinion and preferably from a doctor who has been educated in this fact, which is not taught in most AMA medical schools.

        • Lynn says

          Nancy, if you mean your serum (blood) levels of calcium are high, it could be that you have hyperparathyroidism, which is caused by a benign tumor on one of the parathyroid glands. You might read up at http://www.parathyroid.com and talk to your doc of the possibility! Unaddressed, it can wreak havoc on your health and bones.

      • Sarah says

        I’ve stopped using all canned food because of fear of what might have leached out of the can and into my food.

        I now cook sardines, bone in, in the pressure cooker so the bones go soft to eat.

  15. Kim says

    Chris, what is your opinion on taking a calcium supplement temporarily in order to block cortisol levels (to lose weight)? This is regarding my husband who is working on tactics to get stress-levels under control, and the calcium supplement was recommended for him to try.
    Thanks!

  16. Andy T. says

    I did a paper on the risk of CVD in 65 yr + women talking Ca supplements in nursing school. I wish I had some of this info. It is validating to see we shared some studies! Thanks for this!

  17. Melissa says

    Thanks for the article! But what about when you are breastfeeding? I keep getting told that breastfeeding is sucking the calcium from my bones so I need extra at this time. I have had 2 children close in age and been breastfeeding the whole time. Does one need extra calcium in that situation? Thank you!

    • Chris Kresser says

      See my reply above. Eat salmon with the bones. Or bone broth. Or fermented, full-fat dairy. Or all of the above.

  18. Rowena says

    What about whole-food based calcium supplements, which contain algae etc rather than calcium carbonate/ citrate?

  19. Lauren says

    I’ve been asking myself this very question. I KNOW that while on a strict Paleo diet my calcium intake is low and I do eat/drink bone broth, but not every day. So, how should a strict Paleo person get enough calcium without dairy if they don’t eat 2 servings of fish and bone broth every day?!

    What we women do if we are also pregnant and breastfeeding while on Paleo (no dairy)?

        • Karl says

          Yes, it’ll be oxidized, but I’m just wondering how much compared to just cooking salmon fillets? I wonder if routine consumption of canned salmon could eventually cause issues, but I’m just guessing balancing it out with anti-oxidants from other foods would be fine.

      • Jennifer says

        I think you’re missing the point; Lauren asked about pregnancy and Paleo. Most women are told to limit seafood consumption to two meals a week during pregnancy. What would you advise in this case?

  20. says

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks so much for your work.

    My kids (ages 5 and 8) are dairy-intolerant and get no dairy. Getting dietary sources of calcium into kids is hard, although I try! I give them chewable supplements of 500 mg twice per day (total 1000 mg) since they are in the process of growing bones. Should I stop giving it to them? Cut back?

    We eat mostly paleo plus rice. They are okay eaters, not great.

  21. Kat says

    I take magnesium glycinate but if I take a decent dose (anything above 300-400mg daily) for a while I start getting nocturnal calf muscle cramps and twitching. The only thing that stops this is Lifestream Natural Calcium powder. I don’t like taking calcium because of all the anti-calcium stuff I’ve read but when I put my paleo-ish diet into FitDay I see that I don’t get enough calcium. I’m hoping that the form I’m taking is food-like enough to be ok. It’s produced from a certified organic sea vegetable called Lithothamnium calcareum and “demonstrates advanced bioavailability. Lifestream Natural Calcium contains 32-34% elemental calcium and other important co-factor minerals including boron, magnesium, zinc, copper, iodine and sulphur.”

    • Eric says

      Had the same experience. Greater than 300mg/day of magnesium glycinate caused late night calf cramps. Taking about 200mg/day calcium bisglysinate resolved. Looking at the study Chris Kresser quoted wrt salmon bones showed rough 1/4 of the content absorbed from cod bones, salmon bones, and calcium oxide. Considering spinach’s oxalates only lets 5-6% of it’s calcium be absorbed, it could be that the magnesium glycinate’s good absorption unbalanced the extra/intra cellular Ca/Mg ratio. Some of the crucifers (e.g. broccoli) have about 50% of their calcium absorbed.

    • Kelly says

      Ray Peat notes that calcium deposits are due to a calcium deficiency, NOT excess. Makes sense too, when one considers if vitamin D and calcium intake are too low, then calcium will be pulled from the bones…causing bone spurs, calcifications, etc..

  22. Alison says

    This is so timely! I just had a Dr appt this morning and my blood Ca level was L…well…1.11 and the low-range cut-off is 1.12!! She didn’t even ask me about my diet and proceeded to write me a Rx for Ca-Mg. I just kept my mouth shut, thinking to myself “As if I’m taking this”.

    I don’t eat dairy and I don’t regularly consume bone broth, and umm..never sardines…but I eat lots of veggies and I just presumed I didn’t have to worry much about it. I’m 28, active…..just wondering if this “low calcium” is even something I need to worry about? Is blood Ca to be looked at differently than bone mineral density?

    My mom was diagnosed with osteoporosis, but she’s trying to heal that with diet & supplements (and not the Rx the same Dr gave her!)

    • Maureen says

      Check my comment above to Helen. It took about a year for me to build up to wearing all twenty pounds of my first weighted vest. I lost the twenty pounds I had gained since my early forties in the first year. Now I’m 61 and feel fantastic since I started to build my bones using the weighted vest. I can stand for hours whereas previously, even in my 30′s my legs and entire body would ache constantly. I think the bone building revved up my metabolism thereby improving my overall health/strength. Lately, within the past two months I’ve started eating pale type diet and feel even better. My skin is improving as well. I haven’t taken any calcium for the last 4 years or so. Sometimes I drink milk. Since starting pale 2 months ago I try to eat broth every few days or so. I would caution against eating a lot of fish if you are pregnant not matter what the science says. My child was definitely affected by my overeating canned tuna. Maybe eat it once a week, but science is always changing their conclusions and you may regret eating the fish. I know I do!!! Other than that I think Chris’ advice is great!

  23. Denise says

    At the age of 40 I was diagnosed post menopausal and severe osteoporosis. I refused traditional biphosinates and took Bone Power a calcium boron supplement. In 2 years significant improvement to osteopenia and 4 years later borderline normal bone density. I felt this calcium reversed my osteoporosis. Once normal bone test I plan to reduce my dose but faithfully have taken 1250- 1500 daily…..

  24. Ágnes says

    Dear Chris!
    My experience is, that only exercises can prevent osteoporosis, and not calcium intake. I am a 57 years old woman, and 10 years ago I had to face the problem, that I am loosing bone density, and I have osteopenia. Calcium intake didn’t help at all, just my joints become aching.
    Then I read, that as strong your muscles are, as strong are your bones too, and I did exercises or ran every day at least one hour. The consequence was that I gained 5% bones density within a year according the bones density test. So I never have taken calcium supplement since then.

  25. Megan says

    Chris,
    What are your thoughts on calcium (dietary or any type of calcium supplementation) during pregnancy? I heard from a midwife that a woman can increase her bone density during pregnancy only (after the age of 18)? Any weight to that?

    • Brenna says

      I’m also curious about calcium in pregnancy. I don’t do well with dairy. I eat leafy greens about 4 times per week, and sardines and canned salmon weekly. A midwife told me that the fetus will take calcium from the mother’s bones if there is not enough intake. How many mg should pregnant women get daily?

      • says

        Women require 5-7 times more mineral than men do in their childbearing years and 80% of that amount is calcium (Biological Ionization As Applied to Human Nutrition, p.80).

  26. Tom says

    What If You Have Had Two Kidney Transplants, And A Parathyroidectomy!!! My Little Sister Has The Same Disease As I Do… She To Has Had Two Kidney Transplants, But Has Here Parathyroid Glands… She Had 87% Bone Loss In Her Hip N 85% In The Lower Lumbar!!! I Take Over 2400mgs. Calcium Carbonate Trough Out The Day, And 1600mgs. Magnesium Split Up With The Calcium… I Take An Anti Rejection Drug, That Leaches The Mag. Out Of Your System (prograf)… I’m A Raw Paleo Person!!! I Noticed A Huge Increase In My Calcium Levels (complete blood tests once every month), As Soon As I Started Eating A Quart Of My Own Raw Milk Yogurt, And 3/4 Of A Quart Of Raw Milk Everyday… By The Way, The Dexa Scans Show NO Bone Lose For Me!!! Of Course I Am A Bodybuilder As Well… I Put So Much Stress On My Bone Structure, It Is Unbelievable… I Suppose It Is All This Torque On The Bones That Help Keep Em’ Strong!!! I Did Back Off The Calcium Carb. 600mgs… Maybe I Should Do More!!! I Walk A Fine Line My Friend… I Enjoy Your Facebook Comments…

    Thank You, Tom P.S. When I Had My Last Transplant, They Told Me I Had To Take Fosamax, Because Every Person That Had Been Transplanted For The Last Ten Years Got Osteoporosis… I Said, “Well, I Hate To Burst Your Bubble, But I Don’t Have It, And I Have No Parathyroids”… They Were Shocked… I Said, “You Can Hang On To You Fosamax” ;)

  27. Hana says

    My naturopath has recently suggested that I take a cal-mag powder at night. I’ve read a lot of information stating that both calcium and magnesium cannot be at the same level in the body, one must be higher than the other. So what is the point of taking the powder if the milligrams is the same for both? And is it doing more harm than good? I am new to eating Paleo, and so far have been really strict, so would it be more beneficial to me to start including a small amount of dairy back into my diet to ensure I get the nutrients I need from food instead of supplements? I haven’t been brave enough to try organ meats yet!

  28. Paula says

    Once you’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis, then what? I’m only in my early 50′s. After being diagnosed I declined all the scary treatments, weaned off acid-blocking meds that I suspect contributed to it (although the prescribing doctor denied it), and changed my diet to mostly Paleo. Will bio-identical estrogen (plus progesterone) help?

  29. Cynthia says

    Hi Chris. I just had extensive preventive blood work and hair testing done. I have a lot of heavy metal issues and the chiropractor suggested using a powdered Vitamin C with Ribose of 4,000mg twice a day while going through chelation to get rid of the metals in my body. What do think of the detoxing effects of Vitamin C and the recommended dosages? I have had fibromyalgia for 20 years and am hopeful that if I eat the right foods, detox my body, and take the right supplements I can reverse the condition. Any suggestions in that area?

  30. says

    I’m suprised that you would endorse dairy as an adequate dairy source. Especially from a paleo perspective. Cows milk is a wonderful source of calcium–for calves. Unfortunately, the calcium it contains doesn’t seem to be bioavailable to humans for a number of reasons. For more info on this check out http://saveourbones.com/osteoporosis-milk-myth/. I would also mention to your readers the herb horsetail which is full of silica and helpful for bone health.

    • Chris Kresser says

      There’s a lot of pseudoscience in that article. Full-fat dairy consumption is linked with several beneficial health outcomes, including a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome. (http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00394-012-0418-1)

      Rapid genetic selection over the past 10,000 years have increased lactase persistence, the genetic mutation that allows us to digest lactose, to the point where 1/3 of the global population has it. In some Northern European countries, the percentage of people with lactase persistence is approaching 100%.

      Even for those that are lactose intolerant, simply choosing full-fat dairy that is low in lactose (like butter, milk and hard cheese) or fermenting milk to make yogurt or kefir eliminates the lactose problem. Casein intolerance/allergy is rare.

      This paper (http://www.jacn.org/content/19/suppl_2/119S.long), among many others, shows that calcium in milk is well-absorbed. In fact, calcium from milk is much better absorbed than calcium from green vegetables, because they contain oxalate, phytate, or both—which inhibit calcium absorption.

      • says

        This is something also confirmed by RBTI practitioners as well as by Ron Schmid in his book The Untold Story of Milk. The dominant calcium compound of milk is calcium gluconate. It is the most easily digested calcium compound for those who have a weak digestion.

      • Cheryl says

        Hello Chris. You say that “casein intolerance/allergy is rare.” What has led you to think this? I know many people who have intense reactions to dairy, even if it’s raw, fermented dairy from healthy, grass-fed cows.

  31. Kirk says

    Gastric Bypass Relevancy?

    Because I had a gastric bypass three years ago, this info on calcium has me concerned.

    I’m supposed to take calcium citrate supplements because my rearranged plumbing makes it difficult to absorb dietary calcium (especially the non-citrate variety).

    Does anyone have updated calcium intake information pertaining to people in my situation?

    Thanks,

    –Kirk in MN

  32. AnGela Reinhard says

    Hi Chris,
    What about Calcium D Glucarate to help combat high beta glucuronidase activity? Would it be better to just supplement with probiotics? What could be the cause of high beta glucuronidase activity found in the stool?

  33. David says

    I eat a 99% compliant autoimmune variant of the paleo diet. Ran a few days worth of my dietary intake through nutritiondata.self.com. I was getting only 25% of the RDI of calcium. I also had symptoms of calcium insufficiency such as annoying cramps in my feet at night. After years of fearing calcium supplements because of bad press in the paleo community I decided to give 500 mg a day a go. The problem resolved within days.

  34. Bill says

    Dr. Kresser,
    I’ve been caring for my wife for 7 years now. She is on full time oxygen now. She has COPD, chronic emphysema. For 10 years she was taking “calcichew” which is 1000 iu of vitamin D3 + calcium per tablet. She has been taking 2 tablets a day. I had her vitamin D levels checked and they were deemed “insufficient” at 20 ng/ml. I believe that because she is house bound and takes regular courses of steroids this is why she had such low levels. I upped her intake of vitamin D and raised her levels to 65 ng/ml. She is very underweight at 85 pounds. That’s an increase of 4 pounds from 3 months ago. She drinks around 3 pints of milk a day through milky coffees or chocolate. My logic is that I’ve raised her vitamin D levels and she gets her calcium from her milk consumption, which is more effective than the calcichew tablets. She has no appetite and other than the milk, she eats very little. However she is getting very forgetful and her short term memory is suffering. I just wondered whether the excessive milk consumption could be a factor?

    • Craig says

      How is her sugar intake? I first heard the term from Dr. Mercola and Rosedale: Type 3 Diabetes. That’s what Alzheimers and other such dementia may largely be. As time has gone by, more and more a link between chronic high blood sugar and memory loss is being recognized. And I do believe it’s a causal link. So perhaps go a bit easy on the sugar? Also, coconut oil supplementation, perhaps 2 tablespoonfuls a day, have been purported by the Weston A. Price Foundation to be miraculously helpful for memory loss, even in late stages. Here is the article, I think that you will find the personal story in there to be of great interest:
      http://www.westonaprice.org/know-your-fats/land-of-oz-attack-on-coconut-oil

      Good luck to your wife, and God bless you for caring for her so passionately for all these years.

      • Bill says

        Craig, thank you for your suggestions and kind thoughts.
        I think the short term memory loss is due to her poor oxygen levels more than anything else. Yes she does have too much sugar and eats so little that I can’t get her to eat healthily. Sadly that seems to be the case with this disease. She’s deteriorated to the point that eating is just too much effort. At least her milk consumption keeps her having some nutrition, and she has gained some weight.
        Ironically I eat a grain free, minimal sugar anti inflammatory diet that I have developed to suit me since she became ill.
        I follow the WAPF website and take in what they say.
        I’ve tried to get her to eat coconut oil, as I do, but she won’t.

        I think that I’ll just have to accept that milk is better than no milk in her case. If there is a detrimental effect to her brain, then so be it. I just hoped Chris Kresser had a view on this.

        In the past when she has been on courses of steroids, she has had tweaks of pain in her spine. Bone loss is a known side effect. This hasn’t happened since she’s been on so much milk, probably 8 weeks of steroids in the past 26 weeks, so it may help in that way.

        I posted this here because of the article being a bout calcium supplements, and her previous long term use of calcichew tablets.

        • Lisa says

          If she’s willing to drink milk, would she be willing to drink milk or yogurt based smoothies? You could maybe get more nutrients for her that way. Although probably not coconut oil, unless you’re careful. It tends to make really nasty clumps in cold liquids.

          Just a thought I had reading your post.

  35. Annette says

    Dr. Kresser,
    Your knowledge and willingness to share is a blessing. I know you cannot respond to every comment, but my children are dairy/gluten intolerant and I just found out thru homeopathic testing she is allergic to other biggies in our diet as well–salmon and almond (our calcium sources.) Can you please help with any suggestions. I am stressed and frustrated at the thought of giving them adequate nutrition. Thank you so much.

  36. Jeanne says

    Thank you for this info. I will check my multi vitamin . My mother has always taken calcium and at 70 + years she had open heart to replace two heart valves, one being calcified (having calcium deposits on it??) I’ll be in touch.

  37. Tonya T says

    I have seen good results using MRM’s Bone Maximizer III with calcium from MCHC , K2 (MK7), vitamin D, and other minerals.

  38. says

    Calcium supplements are dangerous when the calcium is free floating in the blood stream (due to acidity and lack of K2) which then unites with small dense LDL’s (caused by eating vegetable oils). It then lines the arteries (arteriosclerosis) which causes cardiovascular havoc.
    When on an alkaline paleo diet, calcium is not pulled from the bones to neutralize the acidity (from high carb foods and sugar) and ingested calcium is put into the bones where it should go, providing there is plenty of K2 from grass fed meats.
    When eating a normal diet (ie, high carb, grain fed meats, vegetable oils) don’t take calcium. But then don’t eat a normal diet if you want good health.

  39. says

    I forgot to add when doing a study of water throughout the world the people with the best cardiovascular health were those the water highest in calcium.

  40. jennifer says

    Hi Chris, great article but how do you feel about Standard Process supplements? They are mostly grown on a farm, started by Dr. Royal Lee in 1929, friend of Dr. Weston A. Price.

  41. Ziggy says

    Clearly you are not well educated on nutrition if you are advocating dairy products for calcium and bone broth. With the exception of an organic animal, bone broth from any other will be very toxic. You also advocate the Paleo diet which is very acidic and not good for bone health or calcium levels. Eating a diet high in legumes and whole grains and vegetables is BEST for bone health and calcium. NOT an animal based diet. You are not educating people well.

  42. says

    Chris,

    Excellent work on this topic. I have been reading and researching the role of calcium supplementation and vascular disease and greatly appreciate you tackling this issue. Perhaps another piece to the puzzle that increases vascular calcification is having high vitamin D supplementation as well. Often those who take high calcium supplementation are also taking high levels of vitamin D, and as you have alluded to in the past, excessive vitamin D is troublesome as well. I wrote a piece on this that I would love your thoughts on if you are interested is contemplating the additive effects of calcium and vitamin D supplementation on vascular pathology. Thanks again for all your work!

    link to piece: http://evolutionaryhealthperspective.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/vitamin-d-and-calcium-supplements-can-be-hard-on-your-heart/

    • Chris Kresser says

      I agree: I’ve warned against excess vitamin D supplementation and suggest maintaining levels between 35 and 55 or so, while ensuring adequate K2 & A intakes.

  43. Carla says

    Hi Chris, I understand that these are recommendations for maintaining bone health. For those who are already diagnosed with osteoporosis, are the recommendations the same?

  44. Eleanor says

    What if you are on medications like prednisone? I have been told it is very bad for my bones and I NEED 1200 mg of calcium per day. I take K2 and 4000 mg of E.

  45. Melissa says

    I’m lactose intolerant… Not a big soy or almond milk drinker either. I take one calcium pill a day to help with the lack of calcium I get from my diet. Is this not necessary or…

  46. Becca King says

    So glad I found this site. Great information is hard to get these days. Diet and exercise. Seems it always goes back to the basics, doesn’t it? So many want to take all the short cuts and it shows in the long run.

  47. Vicki says

    Chris, do these studies take into account the needed co-factors (magnesium, K2, D3, boron, silica, etc) needed to metabolize calcium and actually get it into the bone? Because otherwise, it seems any study that only addresses the use of the lone mineral ‘calcium’ would be a bit flawed. Calcium alone would do tons of damage, according to what you’re saying and I’m reading elsewhere. It should never be taken alone. I have one doctor telling me to supplement with calcium/mag, and another doctor saying don’t do it. Thanks for your informative article! I enjoy your site.

  48. Estelle says

    Hi Melissa, have you tried fermenting milk into yogurt or kefir ? The bugs will eat the lactose and save you the trouble. I shunned diary for many years because I thought it didn’t agree with me. Now I find I can take raw dairy with no problems, even if it’s not fermented. I believe soy milk is not a good source of calcium because it’s fortified with the cheapest form of Calcium, which is not well absorbed. Why would the manufacturers pay for the most expensive forms, like Calcium Citrate ? I’d rather get my calcium as it occurs naturally in dairy which has the co-factors that aid absorption.

  49. Estelle says

    Hi Bill, if you’re still following. So sorry to hear of your wife’s troubles. Vit B12 can sometimes be helpful with memory loss/brain fog. A couple of informative websites are b12awareness.org and b12d.org.

  50. says

    Hi Bill,
    I think that everyone is giving great advice, but I know how hard it can be to get someone to do something. I had a brain injury in May 2011 and was diagnosed with a severe DAI. 90% of patients with this injury never wake from a coma, and of those who do, most are in a vegetative state. I have been researching brain building nutrition, and the use of fish oils and other saturated fats is very important to heal the brain. In fact, they have had amazing results with fish oil in order to bring patients to consciousnesses after a brain injury.
    http://t.co/KKyGR4HA

    As Chris has said, 60% of the dry matter of the brain is lipid, and DHA and AA are the most abundant fatty acids of brain. AA and DHA are both found in fish oils and the brain needs them to repair itself. I’d recommend Mary Enig’s book: “Know Your Fats” or “Brain Building Nutrition” by Michael A. Schmidt.

    I know that your wife did not have a brain injury, but she is having cognitive problems that seem to overlap. I write a blog about my story at http://www.CavinBounce.com. Some of my more recent posts may be helpful reads as far as understanding her thoughts. Good luck, and god bless you!

  51. debra says

    But if I get off the calcium pills my nails shred and my jaw bone is disappearing. I am trying egg shells. I eat about 15 fruits and veggies a day (salad and smoothies). I can only handle a little dairy. I am in a quandary.

    • Kelly says

      You’re not in a quandry. If the calcium is helping you (as it clearly is) then you need it, and perhaps by adding other bone components (boron, zinc, other trace minerals, phosphorus, silicon, biotin), and even supplementing with organic (powdered) gelatin, your bone loss can be reversed.

      Don’t buy into all the calcium-phobia. Some people indeed need more than others.

  52. Lynne says

    Hi Chris, Thanks for the article. As we are all being advised to ensure adequate vit D3 and K2 levels, I just wondered what happens to our calcium absorption if we supplement with D3 as many of us do as we don’t get enough sun? I believed that if our bodies were getting too much calcium that our parathyroid gland downregulated the making of vit D3 so that unneeded calcium was not then absorbed and hopefully excreted.
    I am not mentioning this to excuse calcium supplementation, but rather worrying that when supplementing with D3 that the body can no longer use this fail safe method as the parathyroid gland will no longer be able to control the making of D3 and hence calcium absorption. The inevitable result being an excess of calcium swilling about in the bloodstream and being deposited where it is harmful. I would really appreciate your understanding of this Chris. Thanks so much.
    As an add on, here in the UK, I was prescribed calc/vit D supplement following a bone density scan – I threw the prescription in the bin knowing that the best method to improve bone density if the scans were of concern (which too may be in question) was to supplement magnesium for the first 6months minimum, to see if any problem resolved. And in addition ensure optimum vit D levels.

  53. Oscar says

    I was prescribe Calcium 500mg D200unit tab by my Doctor along with other medication for my prostrate cancer treatment and my PSI are being monitored.
    Are you telling me this stuff is no good? And can kill me. So much for modern medicine.

  54. Erin Elizabeth says

    Chris,

    I recently started taking calcium supplements. I take two a day and here is the cocktail:
    Calcium: 250mg
    Magnesium: 125mg
    Phosphorus: 62.5mg
    Zinc: 1.25mg
    Vitamin C: 15 mg

    I have been taking this for approximately 3 months consistently (5 days a week, I take the weekend off) and I have noticed an improvement in my hair, nails and skin. My hair is generally quite frizzy, I have brittle nails, and am prone to mild acne. I honestly attribute this to calcium supplementation and doubt a placebo has taken place. The recommendation is actually 4 of these a day but I only take two being that I think I get some from my diet. How much I am uncertain…

    Do you really think calcium is unneccessary in all cases? I am highly active, 5-7 days a week, sometimes 2 hours a day from moderate to vigourous activity. I also have GAD. I understand supplementation isn’t always necessary but considering my mental health issues and my physical activity I believe it aids in my health. I do consume fish at least once a week and consume dark leafy greens daily. I feel mixed up on what I should be consuming considering my circumstances are not that of an average person. A follow-up would be greatly appreciated.

  55. sam says

    Hello,
    is natural calcium also dangerous? I am asking because I have Lithothamnium algae pills at home which contain calcium. Now I don’t know if taking them would be okay. Should calcium at all costs be avoided?

  56. Maureen says

    I take no calcium supplements since I first read about calcium supplement problems 3 or 4 years ago. I was diagnosed with osteopenia 10 years ago and doctor wanted to put me on meds but I refused saying I was going to build bones with strength training. Doctor said I probably would not be able to but I could try it for a while. I settled on wearing a 20 pound weighted vest. (Be sure to build up gradually or your knees will ache. Start with a few minutes a day walking around the house, etc.) By the end of the first year I had worked up to walking around the house for up to four hours a day. I lost about 20 pounds without changing my diet. My doctor retired so I ended up being tested by a different doctor who could not believe the improvement in my bone density. She said I did not need meds. I’m know 61 and never felt better.

  57. says

    I am 65 years old quite fit and I try to have a varied diet. I take a supplement daily calcium and magnesium and a multi vitamins also daily. I never thought that taking calcium supplements could cause any problems. But maybe it can but I know many foods contain calcium so perhaps it is best to get the mineral from foods instead. Like Maureen in the previous comment I walk a lot each day and I have lost some weight which does help joint pain especially the knees and back. But to much weight loss can also cause bone problems..Like anything a happy medium is the answer I think.

  58. terry says

    Calcium is one of the biggest killers of humans. Spinach removes calcium from the body its doing us a favor. Humans need very little calcium all these recommendations are ignorance,

  59. murph says

    My doctor just recommended taking both calcium and vitamin d supplements because she believes I am at great risk for osteoporosis. I am 46 years old and because of food allergies and microscopic colitis I can’t eat dark leafy vegetables, wheat gluten, soy or dairy. I do exercise and eat organic eggs and almond milk. Do you still believe I shouldn’t take supplements in moderation? I certainly don’t want to but I also don’t want osteo… so frustrating!

    • says

      Well, I can’t advise on whether you should take calcium or not, but just be sure that if you start supplementing with calcium and vitamin D, you take vitamin K2 as well! Here’s Chris’ article on K2: http://chriskresser.com/vitamin-k2-the-missing-nutrient

      The vitamin D will increase your absorption of calcium, but if you don’t have enough K2 to ensure that the calcium goes to your bones and not your soft tissue, you could be creating more problems for yourself. And since you can’t eat dairy, chances are you aren’t getting a ton of K2 in your diet.

      Also, don’t forget about bone broth as a source of calcium. The good thing about broth is it also contains other bone-building materials (like magnesium and collagen) that you wouldn’t get in a calcium supplement. Eating canned fish (like salmon and sardines) that still contain bones is also a good way to get calcium.

      And just a final thought – if it were me, I don’t think I’d take calcium supplements just based on being ‘at risk’ for osteoporosis. Like Chris said at the end of this article, 600mg per day is really all you need, and ensuring adequate intake of other important co-factors for calcium absorption and utilization is more important, as is getting enough exercise. If I were you, I’d get my vitamin D levels tested, and then supplement with both vitamin D and K2 (or just take fermented cod liver oil) to get my blood levels up to around 35.

  60. liz says

    Hi, I was diagnosed with hemochromatosis and have read that calcium supplements help to interfere with iron absorbtion. I started taking calcium a couple of months ago to see if it would help (along with avoiding eating much red meat or pork) to keep my ferratin levels down. My first blood test after my latest venous section showed my levels to be considerably low (the lowest since I was diagnosed 2 years ago) I want to keep taking the supplements to see if my next blood test will show my levels are still low as I would like to reduce the number of times I have to have a venous section annually. I realize the venous section is necessary but reducing the amount of times to have it done seems worth taking the calcium, IF it is in fact helping. I guess time will tell! Thanks for your time

  61. Vicki says

    My nutrition test results came back that I am deficient in calcium. The lab is recommending 1000 mg of calcium citrate, malate, ascorbate or glycinate a day. Do I do it?

  62. Monica says

    Hi there, how many mg is recommended for a menopausal woman like myself who has had a total thyroidectomy and also had all but one parathyroid removed? Any suggestions?

  63. Kara says

    I highly respect this article. Pill popping seems to be replacing healthy eating for too many Americans. And it only causes more problems. Do you feel the same about low doses of coral calcium Dr? Thanks

  64. says

    Chris, I was researching ways to increase bone density today (b/c I am concerned that my restricted diet could lead to osteoporosis), and came across a supplement called AlgaeCal. Have you heard of this and would you recommend it? It is a plant-based form of calcium that comes from a marine algae (Algas Calcareas). It sounds ingenious, but I don’t want to get duped. :) Thank you, Chris, you’ve been such a helpful resource for me in my struggle with fructose malabsorption.

    Link to the supplement: http://www.algaecal.com/

  65. Debra Grossman says

    Thank you for this information. I’ve been taking Raw Calcium, a plant based source from Garden of Life. Does this warning also apply to plant based calcium from algae? I’ve been taking this product for about a year, along with Boron and honestly, it helped my low back aches together with stiffness. I’m not a 100% but significantly better. Now with this warning, I’m wondering if I should back off the calcium and just focus on getting my calcium from foods. What’s your recommendation for me? Much appreciated. Thank you!

  66. Sunnie Scarlett says

    “A meta-analysis of studies involving more than 12,000 participants also published in BMJ found that calcium supplementation increases the risk of heart attack by 31%, stroke by 20% and death from all causes by 9%. (5)”

    Is the difference between correlation and causation made clear in this met-analysis anywhere?

  67. Midge says

    I had parathyroid hyperplasia that necessitated the removal of 3 of my 4 parathyroid glands. I was advised to take supplemental calcium for the rest of my life to help maintain proper calcium levels in my blood. Do you have any comments about this? Thanks

  68. PHILIPP says

    why is it that many people get weak in their bones,
    it is they natural way, bones are to give so that muscles can be built
    is there a way to keep the bones from decrease themselve,
    its written into our dna that bones give until time breaks them,
    dementia is because the bones, in high age, give less support
    i mean the support for muscular building
    so as natural as possible but technical assistet if possible
    much to learn
    do i want to live forever? the main question

  69. Matt B says

    Chris,
    Great job on the articles.

    As a practicing orthopedic and spinal surgeon, I agree with much of what you said. I am curious to know your thoughts on the patient with an active fracture. From a basic science perspective we have learned that 1,500 mg of Calcium per day is ideal to support fracture repair. I recommend starting with this and then check Vitamin D levels (which are usually unbelievably low – often in the teens).

    I wonder what you recommend in your practice for patients who are concomitantly being treated for active fractures?

    Thanks for your hard work.

    Matt

  70. Kay Beers says

    You may want to actually look at the studies…here is a biochemist who has taught medical students and ran a Cancer Research center …lots of credentials. He reviews studies and gave us this information…the meta-analysis reported in the British Study excluded many valid studies…AND excluded supplements that also contained vitamin D…which we know has a lot to do with calcium utilization. You have to really examine the studies to see the flaws.

  71. Josh says

    I know this article is a bit old – but i’m very curious on what your opinions are on supplementing small amounts of calcium, say 100 mg, with a meal or two to help get up to the 600 mg minimum. Of course getting calcium from diet is better, but if that’s difficult for someone, would the small-dose supplementation be beneficial or harmful?

  72. susan says

    I know this conversation is more about calcium but does anyone know why magnesium would cause muscle cramping? I used magnesium oil as a lotion according to directions, don’t remember now how much, that resulted in leg cramps. On other occasions through out the years taking magnesium supplements would result in my heart skipping beats.
    Although, if I soak in bath water with epsom salts I feel very relaxed and no muscle cramping.

    Any insights would be appreciated, I would like to supplement with magnesium.

  73. kATE says

    This article never distinguishes between calcium carbonate and calcium citrate with magnesium, and so the information is misleading and a disservice to readers. I take calcium citrate to prevent nocturnal leg cramps. It works! And calcium citrate is bioavailable, insurance for those whose calcium from food intake is haphazard.

  74. Mary Ellen says

    Chriss,
    Thank you for the article. There is an e-book called “Hair Like a Fox” that promotes Paleo friendly solutions to hair loss. In addition to bone broth, it recommends making calcium powder from egg shells. My integrative body doctor (Paleo) recommended I do this (she has already been taking homemade egg shell calcium herself). I am a post-menopausal woman with a lot of hair loss since my early 30′s. I am 52. I really want to take the eggshell calcium, but I’m afraid of potential problem with my arteries. I had a grandfather who died at my age from a heart attack and a grandmother who died at the same age of a stroke. I had one doctor tell me it doesn’t matter if it’s a grandparent, only if it’s a parent. I don’t necessarily believe that… I was raised with this fear.

    Since I’m still overweight (I’ve lost 40 of the 110 lbs. I need to lose, so I’m still 70 lbs. overweight), I have a real fear of heart disease and don’t want to do something stupid. On the other hand, I’ve been told I have “soft bones”… so I may need the calcium. What do you think of homemade calcium powder from boiled/dried/ground eggshells? (They are pasture raised and certified organic.) Please respond! Thank you!

  75. emily says

    So, about calcium toxicity. What blood markers most likely indicate it. For example would eGFR kidney filtration show up as high ?

    Low 25d (d2) does not always mean osteoporosis. How many medics will check 1,25d levels to see if inflammation is present ?

  76. Susan says

    I have been taking 1,200 mgs of calcium citrate and 600 mgs of magnesium citrate on the recommendation from my dr for over five years now.

    I have a hard calcium deposit on the top of my right foot at the base of my big toe. Is this caused by the high amount of calcium?

    I was wondering if it can be dissolved without surgery?

    Thanks for any and all replies to my problem.

    • Tom G[ossard] says

      Dee, if you would, please, reply and inform: who is Dr. Tent? Google search doesn’t appear to avail in this.

      Incidentally, one of my most favorite dishes is a risotto w. a broth made from oven-baked beef, or oxtail, bones, and white wine for added flavor. A recipe I use is from a coffee-table type Italian food cookbook, authored &/or edited at least in part by Lorenza de Medici (yes, that *is* the historically magnificent and notorious Medici family), but there are other, probably many, similar recipes of Italian cooks to be found.

      On a related note, very old societies and cultures have prominent recipes and dishes which, over much time, have developed so to provide hidden nutritional benefits. Hence, I believe one reason for the highly regarded Mediterranean diet, among many other societies/cultures indigenous diets. Not only do they provide essential vitamins and minerals, often they also integrate many vitamin/mineral fats etc. synergies, both from the ingredients themselves but additionally due to techniques and methods of preparation. Tradition, tradition, tradition, in particular where foods and diet is concerned!

  77. beaker says

    I have 2 cups of Kefir a day and a slice or two of cheddar. I also have a lot of veges etc, so hopefully am in the ballpark without needing to supplement…

  78. emily says

    I don’t see much convincing evidence that Chris is well informed on this issue and many of the questions here are important. Very few of us actually get a reply. I recommend we find a reliable source rather than wasting our time here. Being too busy isn’t a good enough plea.
    Wishing everyone good health.

  79. Beth Morgan says

    My big question relates to Calcium but bare with me…

    I have had lots of different problems since a amoebic gut infection 8 years ago and possible other infection but unknown. I became lactose and gluten intolerant and my dietician thinks I may actually be celiacs because my son is having similar problems. I can’t be tested because I’ve been gluten free for 10 months and I don’t want to go backwards. I have had ongoing underactive thryroid with thryroid antibodies since my trip to india but wonder if it’s always been a problem as my mum has also had a thryoid goiter which was removed and is now on medication. I have also had ongoing skin, nasal problems and urinary issues which affect my kidneys which I can map with changes in eostrogen and progesterone and possible infection at times where the eostrogen levels are increasing and the immune system is low. I know infection is still an issue and I am still working on biofilm in urinary tract and sinuses. Generally I am a lot better when I go hard on detoxing and antimicrobrials.

    I have been self-treating because dr’s haven’t helped and take supplements that help keep toxins down. I am strict with my diet, have for 8 months been eating meat having been brought up vegetarian with some fish. I am almost Paleo but still have some grains in the week, millet or rice. Meat has helped tremendously and I notice a big change in my energy levels.

    I also take vitamin D, selenium and now zinc. Zinc has greatly improved my eye problems. However, I realised I wasn’t getting enough calcium due to my intolerence and despite your advice tried calcium supplementation with magesium. It immediately calms my skin and my numbness and tingling in my hands is vastly improved. These things also improved whilst I was in South Africa for 2 months.

    I know sun is often the common dinominator. Do some people only absorb Vitamin D from the sun and struggle through the supplemtation form and can this have the knock on effect of affecting my calcium levels? What would my alternatives be to calcium supplementation. I am eating tonnes of greens and sardines with bones, but I can’t seem to get my levels up.

    Hope you can give some direction. Many thanks, Beth

  80. Vicki says

    Hi Beth,

    I hope Chris responds to you as well. I have had similar health issues and would like to comment on two things I picked up on reading your post. Please consider iodine supplementation and reconsider millet. I am not able to tell you all the reasons for iodine supplementation, but I believe it will help with your gut and thyroid issues, and good to take selenium with it, so you’ve got that covered. Millet is goitragenic and there is no way to prepare it which makes it safe for the thyroid, according to research I read from WAPF. D is tricky, and must be impacted by gut health or something. Hope we learn more about how D works.

    You may want to also check out borax conspiracy and borax cures on the net, dmso and baking soda. Do your own research, and make up your own mind, but they have helped me in moderation.

    Best, Vicki

    • emily says

      Vitamin D3, cholecalciferol (active form) is a steroid hormone. All inflammatory diseases will send its metabolism out of kilter and it isn’t easy to reverse it. If d2 and d3 are not transcribing normally, sunbathing will drive it higher and inflammation will increase.

      I hope vitamin D3 will soon be renamed steroid hormone D.
      Don’t believe what I write here, do the research on Vitamin D3

  81. Susan says

    I thought vitamin D3 was good for us?? I’m getting tired of all of the conflicting info that’s out there!

    I take 5,000 iu during the cold and flu season and I never catch a cold or the flu and I drop down to 2,000 iu in the spring thru the fall season.

  82. emily says

    Susan.
    Sunlight is vital for life so of course we need it.
    If we supplement with any mineral or vitamin for long enough, we risk toxicity and possible calcification of organ systems if we overdo for example, calcium. Thats why a regular blood panel is a great idea.

    Long term stress and grief can disturb our immune system. Thats why it’s so important to make sure we surround ourselves with people who are good hearted and trustworthy. As we age, our body slows down, so everything we have done to it over the decades, decides whether we will handle illness successfully and feel well again.

    So yes steroid hormone D3 and D2 work together to keep us ‘on top of things’ for health, but when they are challenged by inflammatory issues, the body needs to rebalance and not expose to excessive sunlight or sources of active D3 which is the same as sunlight. An experienced endocrinologist or rheumatologist can explain it.

    Very few of us want to take steroids unless we are seriously ill. Vitamin D3 is a steroid hormone, destructive when it rises to toxic levels.

    If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it!

    Not getting a cold does not mean your body is free from disease.

    • Susan says

      I am going in for labs next month. Thanks Emily,
      What would I look for on my lab report to show that I needed to stop taking calcium supplements?

      I would prefer to get my nutrition thru food but our soils are so depleted of the good stuff so supplementating sure makes it easier but not certain of long term effects.

  83. emily says

    If your doctor recommended you take calcium supplements hopefully there was a medical reason rather than just a ‘general recommendation’. Usually those supplements combine with steroid vitamin D3 which is where problems creep in. If you were deficient, a review should be in place rather than to continue supplements indefinately. Metabolic bloods inc thyroid, full blood count, iron level, your doc will know if calcium toxicity is present. The whole blood study is relevant and your history will direct concerns as well as any concerns you may have.

    Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol) are not fully understood by the medical world in regard to ‘mechanism of action’. This is why there is such a plethora of confusion about this in the medical world.

    Testing only for vitamin D2 markers creates a ‘blindside’ to the cause of many metabolic disturbances caused by inflammation. Vitamin D3 if raised, will indicate that the patient is suffering from more than, for example, osteoporosis or osteopenia. Many peer reviews on the subject always caution against Vit D supplementing in metabolic disorders, which often begin as undetected inflammatory illnesses. They usually end by saying..’but more research is needed’.

    Sufficiency in mineral levels and electrolytes is where to aim, avoiding supplementation where no medical reason indicates. Overdoing things in the gym can be a step backward. Know your skeletal issues, good posture and have a qualified medical physiotherapist look at any instabilities in your gait. Avoid shoes with heels that invite opportunity for a nasty fall especially if you suffer from backache issues. Go for surface security rather than fashion passion! Treat yourself to the luxury of a good sole !

  84. says

    Hi Chris,

    Very informative article. I wanted to share something here as well. At the end of the day, its all about consuming a mostly plant based diet. The more greens you consume, the better off you are going to be in so many ways. One of my dear friends, Jacob is touching 41 and he looks like he is in his early 30s. I highly encourage people to use the same kind of mindset when looking for supplements. Our product http://www.boneblast.com is actually a plant based (Icelandic Algae Derived) calcium source (Love to send it to you to try it out). Infused with Vitamin D3, Magnesium and more for proper absorption. If you live in a cold environment or where sunshine is low anyways, you must supplement. Just being realistic here. At the end of the day, just try to add more plants and more vegetables to your diet. The sooner the better.

    • emily says

      I encourage everyone to request the personalisation of medicine rather than one size fits all. This would eventually root out sales people who try to promote supplementing without any real knowledge of how the individual health picture /metabolism works.

      If you are tempted to buy a supplement, write and ask the company for a written assurance that your health will not be damaged by taking their supplement. I promise you none will provide it.

      Countries with lower levels of sunlight do not report all of the populace to be unfit to go about their daily routine, only a small percentage. Why is that ? Research the issue before you begin supplementing with vitamin D3 or any other mineral.

  85. Nusrath says

    Chris

    Thanks for your informative article, i have a concern regarding dairy product to my daughter , 18 yr old Hashi, who lives in dormitory. it is highly difficult for her to eat healthy which she was managing OK with the help, that I was sending her home made Raw milk Kefir and yoghurt and Dr Mercola’s whey powder, every week, but last wk i read your article that dairy is not good for Hashis we are so confused, except for little bone broth, what more I can give her for calcium and protein. please advice whether a cup of kefer or yoghrt/day will be ok or she needs to go cold turkey for dairy.

  86. Philipp Landsteiner says

    Wow, i’m just amazed how much new comments have been created since Februar, I just wanna tell you guys, that it is worth do go this hard healty way. In the end you feel creater.
    Don’t overdue it feel yourself, takes patient and time.
    See the whole thing there are so many factors.
    A little step a day, and the middel way for your styl of wonderful life. Dont forget Love its the most important thing overall.

    • Philipp Landsteiner says

      the middle way i mean its like going on the peak path of the montain right you are falling down left too

  87. says

    Hey Chris,

    I’m not a friend of mail subscriptions, but I must say I like your mail updates. They’re always short, to the point, helpful and interesting. So big THANKS to you and for what you’re doing. Keep it up!

    Bets Regards,
    Seb

  88. says

    I’ve never liked taking calcium supplements for some reason, so really appreciated this article. I’m not a big milk drinker, but starting making/drinking milk kefir this summer because of some GI problems I was having. I make it from local raw milk, which I think has vitamin K along with a long list of beneficial bacterias, vitamins and minerals. I’m 58 and have no signs of osteoporosis despite not taking calcium supplements and having been on a drug a few years ago (Fermara) that is known to cause it. Doctors keep insisting I take calcium supplements, now I have some information to arm myself with!

  89. Don says

    Are calcium carbonate (and calcium citrate) powders neutralized/broken down promptly in the stomach by its hydrochloric acid content into calcium ions and carbon dioxide (and citrate ions)?

  90. says

    I’m really surprised that your research has not discovered that calcium supplements are NOT real calcium, but calcium carbonate. The important point is that carbon as a food additive is extremely harmful to the human body. It creates an acidic environment which requires even more calcium to correct this, which causes osteoporosis and plaques in the brain, Alzheimer’s disease among a host of other problems .
    Calcium carbonate is the “limescale” that you get in hard water supplies and is best avoided. The reason that calcium from food doesn’t cause health problems is because the calcium is bonded in a natural state. NOT because its in small amounts. The body only needs small amounts in its natural form. Here is a comprehensive explanation about dietary calcium. http://www.uswellnessmeats.com/Calcium_Myth_and_Facts.pdf

  91. Tom G[ossard] says

    On a purely practical lifestyle note, I’m always happy to discover ways to eliminate costs of things which are of little or no use to me, as I am one among the millions of older Americans who’s sole monthly/annual income is well below adequate to provide what most people might consider a minimum level lifestyle. I’m not complaining about it, just need to be practical and watch expenses closely. This especially applies where vitamin and mineral supplements are concerned: if I might be better off not supplementing than supplementing it’s very important to look for sources of information such as this website. I’m smart and educated enough to benefit from most of the discussion here, for which I am most most grateful! Thank y’all for your contributions. Taken altogether I have a great learning tool here, which is fantastic in a day of so much not-information and disinformation, both intended and not intended to be non- or dis- informational. Without expert guidance and common sense, I regard surfing the internet a severe form of mental and behavioral disorder in our present day consumeristic society here in the USA.

  92. Tom G[ossard] says

    Chris, you say in general you discourage the taking of common multivitamin/mineral supplements. Except for your recommendations of supplementation for specific issues, I plan to stop taking all vitamin and mineral supplements, but for the sake of avoiding worry I will continue to take my relatively low dose multi (Kirkland Mature Multi – very inexpensive and highest rated by Consumer Reports Magazine). I may end up discarding it too, except I live with two other people dear to me and they don’t like a number of the healthy foods, and do like some of the less healthy ones, some in substantial numbers of servings, e.g. high carbohydrate foods such as breads, cereals, baked goods, potatoes, rice, etc., whereas I don’t consume, especially added sugars save for an rare occasional drib of organic honey because I love it so much and I figure the amount I have would be considered negligible by any standard.

  93. Tom G[ossard] says

    Before I forget, one question, an important one for me. I have had a lifelong below normal blood sodium level for whatever reason(s). Could that be easily remedied in your opinion, without consuming salt in moderate amounts in my diet. The problem I have with the low sodium level is faintness/dizziness from loss of needed electrolyte levels. I try to balance drinking adequate amounts fluids with drinking too little fluids when for example I have a cold or flu. Thanks.

  94. Philipp Landsteiner says

    In times like these, lot information, I find your Website nice.
    Among the growing Peta bytes on information in the internet, your website defintly serve a better future.

    Im from Austria that is in Middle Europe, and I am 21 years old, and English (next on is Japanese) is like a second nature-language to me.

    I find it very important to accelerate the process of understanding the difference between help and poker-play,

  95. Australian Lady says

    I DISAGREE by recent personal experience. I am 67. I loved and consumed lots of dairy foods but greatly reduced them 20 years ago when I was diagnosed with lactose intolerance. I am regularly outside gardening and walking and have always done heavy work in the garden and bushwalking long distances while on holiday. I have suffered for 20 years from muscle spasms and restless legs syndrome at night, and lately it got so bad waking me up at night, that I went to the doctor. It was then I was stunned to be diagnosed with osteoporosis and very little Vitamin D in my system, despite plenty of sunlight. I am wheat intolerant, so it is my belief that I have not been absorbing the calcium and Vitamin D through my gut. I immediately bought a good calcium and mineral supplement, but the night one upset my stomach. So then I fixed that by crushing up the tablet into calcium enriched rice milk. I do that morning and night. I am having the rice milk other times during the day – about a litre per day. This, is believe, is ensuring that there is readily available calcium in liquid form circulating in my body. I am taking extra Vitamin D as well. I am also taking a very good probiotic. The RESULTS were immediate. I am no longer awakened at night by my legs twitching and refusing to be still; I no longer have to go for a walk several times in the middle of the night to bring up gas, after which the muscle spasms would settle down. This improvement showed immediately. I believe it is because I am crushing the calcium and having it in the rice milk that is the key. My ribs were sore, as was T7 and my sternum. Most of the soreness has gone – still a little in my right hip. The improvement was immediate, and now after only 1 month, I am healthy again. I believe my system just got too low in Calcium and because it couldn’t take it out of my bones any more, it was taking it out of my muscles as well – hence the cramps at night. The fibromyalgia has settled down; my digestion has settled down; I no longer have to go to bed early because my legs are twitching; I can stay up later and sleep through the night. The difference is extremely marked.
    Older people need calcium and Vitamin D, but we do have to find a way to absorb it properly.

  96. C Lyons says

    I take a liquid angstrom calcium mineral @ night. The recommendation came after a hair-analysis. The Calcium is 146ppm in 1 TBSP. The other ingredients are Chloride, Magnesium, Zinc, Potassium, Boron, Gold, Manganese, and Cobalt.
    Do you have any experience with this type of product?

  97. says

    Being lactose intolerant, my GP insisted that I take calcium supplements (“any kind”) which I reluctantly did — for years — only to end up needing a triple bypass. As I have eaten very healthy since I was quite young, this came as a major shock. Now I wouldn’t touch calcium supplements with a ten foot pole! I do take magnesium though as I think we are all deficient.

  98. Julie says

    Hi Chris!
    What I find interesting is my mom has osteoporoses and when I was in my early forties I asked my then ob/Gyn if I was at risk b/c of my mom. At the time she seemed to think I was fine and probably got enough calcium from my diet without even knowing what I ate. At the time excoriated 4 to 5 times a week doing weights.
    My sister told me a few year after that she was told women start losing bone density in there forties. I need to mention I was and still am taking bio identical hormones. Long story short I convinced my dr to give me a bone scan and the results shocked me. I have osteopenia in my left hip. I have since starting taking 4000 iu of vit D3, mag and 600 mg cal x 2. Changes my workout to crossfit and my bone density has gone up. I also eat low carbs and try to eat paleo tho I’m not a 100% . I’m not saying there isn’t anything to this study however I am a strong believer that no two people are a like. I come from a family of longevity. The women live well into their nineties. My grandmother live to be 97. She took vitamins her whole life. She use to pour them in my mouth when I was a kid. She chewed bone mill pills and died with all of her teeth. I just think more needs to be look at b/f we can come to he conclusion that calcium is bad for you.

  99. David Zwicker says

    Dr. Kesser is brilliant I would say. But, Dairy products? Really? Do you mean milk products? Homogenized, pasteurized, highly processed cow milk products? This is such a problem food for so many people. and the bioavailability of calcium from processed milk, even organic milk, is questionable at best I think. Raw milk maybe, – for some people who are not sensitive to/have problems digesting the casein or lactose, but raw milk is very hard to come by, and most people have what I believe is an unjustified fear of it. I get what you are saying about supplements, but I tend to disagree with milk being a good source of calcium.

  100. David Boothman says

    According to many doctors, calcium deficiency measured in bones is more often a result of a failure to absorb calcium properly as a result of other deficiencies. Calcium is one of the most abundant elements on earth so it is difficult to avoid ingesting a sufficient quantity through diet. But just because its in the food doesn’t necessarily mean it will go to the places where it is needed. Human metabolism is extremely complex and not always obvious in the way it works and so treating a bone deficiency with calcium supplementation can have the opposite effect upon mortality. If you cannot absorb calcium properly and you taker a supplement then as Chris indicated you could end up with the calcium deposited in your arteries or on the outside of bones creating bone spurs. Magnesium and vitamin D3 are essential for calcium absorption and it turns out many people are deficient due to food content deficiency due to crop production methods and lack of sunshine. Medical advice following an indication of osteopenia should be to first take a calcium-potassium supplement plus vitamin D3 and then determine if osteopenia diminishes. If you wish to learn more about this aspect of human metabolism take a look at chapter 9 of the excellent book by the Drs. Eades: “The Protein Power Lifeplan” . I bought my last copy for 1 cent through Amazon!

  101. says

    I’ve been told that calcium that is derived from algae and organic sources is ok – even for heart. That it’s the calcium from rock/shell like inorganic things that is bad. Please comment

  102. says

    Wow this article was very interesting and I am so glad I read it
    I always felt that popping cal tabs is not really gonna do anything that great. If it were that easy nobody would have osteoprorosis right? I eat my calcium in foods like greens salads yogurt and the most important thing is weight bearing exercise along with a good diet , I wear a weight vest to get my weight workout its the easy fast way to do it and my doctor uses it also. She recommends the one by NYKNYC
    This is the best way to keep bones strong there is no magic bullet .. being healthy strong beautiful takes work.

  103. Randall Glass says

    I seem to be intolerant of diary products.

    And for dark leaky greens, you would have to eat about 10 servings a day to get the RDA of calcium.

    Salmon’s too expensive.

    What form of calcium supplement is best?

    Is calcium orotate any better then the other forms?

  104. Nancy says

    I just saw this information about calcium supplements. I have been taking calcium plus D and Biotin for about 5 months… id miss some days along because I work 2 jobs. I already have horrible triglycerides. Now Im scared. Im going to my doctor and get updated labs and then maybe see a nutritionist to get a real diet plan. I had never heard of this before but that little voice told me to google calcium supplements and there it was in the hits. I threw them away tonight. What to do if Ive made a bad situation worse? Is it like once it’s there it wont leave my arteries?

  105. Leonardo Medina says

    While it is true that, supplemental calcium taken ALONE may end up in our blood vessels or our heart, where it causes harm, rather than our bones, where it is needed; this article fails to advise the public to NOT stop taking calcium supplement. This article is implying that any supplemental calcium is unsafe, which is untrue if the needed co-factors are taken too. It is important to stress that calcium needs important co-factors such as additional magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin A, Vitamin E, vitamin K2, omega–3 fatty acids, Manganese, Boron, zinc, and copper for a well balanced Calcium Metabolism. The answer is not to stop taking it as long as these co-factors are taken as well. Many studies have shown that added calcium plays an important role in building and maintaining bone mass—and also reduces the risk of colon cancer.

  106. Julia says

    I am only 42, but currently using steroid inhalers as well as Synthroid. I had a dexa scan and indeed I have osteopenia, an have recently started having a lot of trouble with my teeth. For these reasons I finally decided to buy Calcium, but I have always heard that the supplement is not much of a benefit. I know nothing about algae or the other things mentioned above, can someone give me sound advice as how to maintain my calcium with all these drugs I have to take? I am greatly worried about how fast my teeth are eroding as a result of this, thanks.

  107. Rob says

    Calcium supplements are meant for those who don’t already get enough calcium through their diets or are unable to absorb as much calcium as they should due to old age or any other number of factors. If someone is already getting enough calcium then yes, taking supplements won’t help much in terms of bone strength. However, just because you take in enough calcium doesn’t mean your body is absorbing all of it which means you probably aren’t getting as much calcium you think you are. Excess calcium intake leads to storage of the calcium in the bones as well as in the muscle which leads to stronger and healthier bones as well as muscles that do not eventually pull calcium out of the bones in order to work. The results of these studies don’t seem to be very conclusive in the first place and they don’t seem reliable. If you are getting enough calcium then there is no need to overload but the majority of us are not getting 130 -150% of calcium which is what we should be striving for.

    • Leonardo Medina says

      Hi Carlo, I’m in no position to advise you to take your calcium and its cofactors separate or all together. But I can tell you that I take them all together at once halfway through my dinner.
      The best advice I can give to you is to properly research the info thoroughly in order to better inform yourself. Always remember that knowledge is power; here is a good place to start: http://naturallysavvy.com/blog/are-calcium-supplements-safe-the-real-facts

    • lynne says

      How I understand calcium metabolism is that fat sol vitamins play a crucial role as well as vit D3.
      Vit D grabs on to calcium (whether it is from diet or supplements) so the more vit D you have the more calcium will be absorbed. But that is only part of the story.
      The calcium then needs to be directed to where it should be this does not happen unless vit K2 specifically activates the protein osteocalcin which attracts calcium into bones and teeth where it is needed.
      Vit K2 also activates the protein MGP (Matrix gla protein) which sweeps calcium out of soft tissues like arteries and veins and joints where the calcium is harmful.
      When K2 is lacking the proteins that depend on K2 remain inactive. The result being a decline in bone mineral density, poor dental health and accumulation of calcium laden plaque in blood vessels and arteries leading to heart disease and stroke, heard of hardening of the arteries?
      If you take calcium supplements or vit D or both or infact just want to be healthy you need to ensure that you have plenty of vit K2 and vit A. Vit A apparently escorts excess calcium removed from tissue out of the body.
      Please read Kate Rheaume-Bleue’s book ‘Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox. How A Little Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life. Fascinating, you won’t regret it.

  108. anthony says

    I am on prednisone therapy and take 10 mg of prednisone daily for another condition.

    After being diagnosed with osteoporis, my specialist told me that I must take a calcium supplement to stop further bone degradation.

    I now take 1250 mg of calcium citrate, 900 IU of vitD3, and 625 mg of magnesium.

    No ill effects from these supplements. Will take another DEXA scan in about a year.

  109. Wyandotte says

    Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. If (1) you take a highly absorbable supplement and (2) you also take the cofactors necessary (Zn/Mg/P/HCl etc.) and (3) you take something to make sure the calcium goes to where it’s needed and stays away from where it is not needed (K2) – and a well balanced supplement will do these things – then if you don’t have that perfect diet or you have the wrong kind of genetic predisposition, calcium supplementation is a good thing indeed.

  110. Groentjes says

    Last year I suffered from severe insomnia with many sleepless nights and severe anxiety (the inability to relax) I had been taking magnesium because I heard it worked so well for insomnia however it did not work, nothing did. One night I took a mineral supplement with calcium in it and slept really well. I am casein intolerant so calcium deficiency was more likely. However ever since I have been taking calcium (paired with magnesium and vit c) supplements. It really helps me sleep. However, the last couple of months I have been suffering from really bad depression, depersonalization, mood swings, suicidal thoughts, very low blood pressure, digestive issues,… Two weeks ago I stopped the calcium supplement gradually my depression began to lessen, the mood swings and thoughts are more under control, so I wonder if excessive calcium may had something to do with it or at least worsened it (depression is a convergence of things). I am not going to take calcium supps anymore however they did help me sleep, so need to increase me calcium naturally.

    Just be aware of calcium supplements they could lead to depressive thoughts and uncontrolable moods

  111. kathy says

    I take Nature’s way Alive Calcium, it’s made up of kale, collard greens, spinach and red algae. Very easy on the stomach. It’s all food based so it’s healthier.

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