Calcium Supplements: Things to Consider before Taking One | Chris Kresser

Why You Should Think Twice about Taking Calcium Supplements

by Chris Kresser

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These dairy products, bone-in fish, and leafy greens can eliminate the need for calcium supplements.
Eating foods rich in calcium, like dairy products, leafy greens, and bone-in fish, can help you avoid the risks of calcium supplements. iStock/piotr_malczyk

I’ve made the argument before that some supplements may be necessary to prevent a nutrient deficiency even if you’re nourishing your body with 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 chronic disease that increases your need for particular nutrients. I recommend wise supplementation for many of my patients, and I have seen the benefits of 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 unneeded at best, and potentially harmful at worst. Calcium supplements are a prime example of this.

Do Calcium Supplements Work?

Calcium has become extremely popular to supplement with, especially among aging women, in the hope that it will prevent fractures and protect against 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. Osteoporosis is a serious concern in women’s health, and it affects at least 10 percent of American women. (1) Yet the evidence that calcium supplementation strengthens the bones and teeth was never strong to begin with, and it has grown weaker with new research published in the past few years.

Are you taking a common supplement that may increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and death? Read this article to find out.

A 2012 analysis found that consuming a high intake of calcium beyond recommended dietary guidelines, typically from supplementation, provided no benefit for hip or lumbar vertebral bone mineral density in older adults. (2) A 2007 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that calcium supplements don’t reduce fracture rates in postmenopausal women and may even increase the rate of hip fractures. (3)

Are Calcium Supplements Safe?

Beyond being ineffective for bone health, calcium supplements are associated with some pretty serious health risks.

Heart Disease Risk

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 2012 study of 24,000 men and women aged 35 to 64 years published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) found that those who used calcium supplements had a 139 percent greater risk of heart attack during the 11-year study period, while intake of food calcium did not increase the risk. (4) A meta-analysis of studies involving more than 12,000 people also published in the BMJ found that calcium supplementation increases the risk of:

  • Heart attack by 31 percent
  • Stroke by 20 percent
  • Death from all causes by 9 percent (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 percent increase in the risk of death from CVD. (6) Researchers suspect that the increase 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 the bones, but is excreted in the urine, increasing the risk of calcium kidney stones. The excess calcium could also be circulated in the blood, where it might attach to atherosclerotic plaques in arteries or heart valves. (8)

Cancer, Kidney Stones, and Other Health Risks

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 1,000 mg is associated with increased prostate cancer risk and an increase in kidney stones. (10)

Additionally, a recent Swedish study reported a 40 percent higher risk of death among women with high calcium intakes (1,400 mg and above), and a 157 percent higher risk of death if those women were taking a 500-mg calcium supplement daily. Those rates were compared to women with moderate daily calcium intakes between 600 and 1,000 mg. (11) A Consumer Lab analysis found that many of the calcium supplements they analyzed failed quality testing for reasons including lead contamination and mislabeled contents. (12)

Other Forms of Calcium Supplementation

Even if you’re not popping a calcium pill 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 milk
  • Bread
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Graham crackers
  • 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 varieties of non-dairy milk, 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 you to throw away your multivitamins in most cases: they contain too little of the right nutrients and too much of the wrong ones.

The Safest Ways to Get Enough Calcium

If you’re concerned about keeping your bones healthy, you’re better off getting your calcium from food sources like:

  • Dairy products
  • Canned, bone-in fish (e.g., sardines, salmon, etc.)
  • Dark, leafy greens
  • Seeds (especially poppy and sesame)
  • Almonds

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for calcium for adult men and women is 1,000 mg—or approximately three servings of dairy products or bone-in fish per day. Pregnant and lactating women, and adults 70 and older, need 1,200 mg per day.

If you’re not able to meet your daily needs for calcium with diet alone, there is one calcium supplement that is unlikely to cause the problems that are associated with most other forms of supplemental calcium: whole bone calcium.

Whole bone calcium is a natural, bone-derived calcium complex that contains not only calcium, but also collagen, growth factors, trace minerals, and all of the other elements that are present in healthy bone tissue. It would be expected to affect the body more like dietary calcium than like a calcium supplement, and for this reason I think it’s a good option for those that can’t get enough calcium from the diet.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to find whole bone calcium supplements in local stores. I recommend Free-Range Pasture-Fed Whole Bone Calcium from Traditional Foods Market online to my patients. It’s made from free-range, pasture-fed cows from New Zealand.

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. (13)

What’s Your Supplementation Routine?

Now I’d like to hear from you. Do you take calcium supplements, or do you focus on getting dietary calcium? Let me know below in the comment section.

406 Comments

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  1. In my thyroidectomy they had to get red of one of my parathyroids there was too much calcium levels in my blood .. I was told to take 2000 mg calcium and vitamin D till the rest of my parathyroids wakes up that was 6 months ago … what should someone like me do ????

  2. In the just the past 2 years, I have gone from mildsevere osteopenia to severe generalized osteopenia, in spite of being a huge milk drinker and dairy consumer since childhood. I have metastatic neuroendocrine cancer which has spread to my bones. My dietary intake of calcium is still good. My doctors recommend a calcium supplement, as well as Xgeva once monthly. I’ve been reading that the supplements are ineffective and that drugs like Xgeva and Prolia have many dangerous side effects. I’m not sure what to do. I am 69 years old.

    • Maybe you’re not absorbing it, When I got on the 60 trace minerals, suddenly I didn’t have to take enormous amounts of vitamin C anymore, (8 grams daily). Suddenly, I had to rely only on the C in the liquid multiple. (the other change I made)

    • I apologize but your conception of calcium intake is fundimentally incorrect. Man was designed to intake only plant based vitamins. Big pharma and little vita producers want you to believe that animal, metal/rock and synthetic vitamins are what your body needs but those type of vitamins are proematic at best and will lead you to sickness just like the information from all the other no knowledge medical pill popping drugest and physicians that are practicing right now. Check out real plant based vitamins, from real plant and the ALPHA plant Moringa. Good luck, have a great life. Start searching for playing based nutrients.

      • No, sorry , if man was designed to intake only plant nutrients then why can’t we make our own vitamin K2 from vitamin K1? Hmmmmm? Animals can do that, and put it in their eggs and milk and fat and skin. If we could do that, we would be quite yellow. My green eating animals have yellow milk and fat and orange eggs, and yellow fat and skin. Neon yellow.

        Also why do vegans have to take vitamin B12? Herbivorous animals don’t have to do that.

  3. While I agree with parts of this article it falls short of telling the whole story. If one follows the recommendations of the “experts” in the field, there is significant benefit to taking a “quality” calcium supplement, especially in regards to bone density as well as things like restless leg syndrome or muscle cramps. So, what is “quality” calcium. First, it needs to be a blended source of calcium, one with multiple different types of calcium present. 75% of calcium sales in this country are single source calcium carbonate, which is 3-6% absorbable until the age of bone fusion (early 20’s), and then 1-3% thereafter. So you take 1000mg of a calcium carbonate supplement only 30 mg does you any good. And that is not going to cut it. Also the best calcium supplements in the marketplace are from “condensed, freeze-dried, whole food. Two companies out there among the best are Standard Process and Nutri-West.

    • While I agree we need calcium and in a proper form, in all likelihood we already receive too much in our daily intake that can be highly problematic leading to arthritis, kidney stones, osteoporosis and calcification of the arteries, additionally towards heart conditions and cardiovascular disease.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carolyn-dean-md-nd/bone-health_b_1540931.html

      When we analyzed our calcium intake and recognized the detrimental effects when we did not properly have the components like magnesium, Vitamin D3, Boron in particular, we experienced ‘bone loss’, agitation, muscle cramping, etc. When we flipped the ‘traditional medicine’s’ 2:1 Calcium to magnesium ratio upside down or at least to a 1:1 ratio, our health greatly improved, including improved bone density. My wife was at one time diagnosed with osteopenia and now she has reversed that diagnosis and she’s 58; so the claim you’ll only get worse as you get older is a flat out lie. One needs to take charge of their health.

      Another good article ‘Calcified with Calcium & Vitamin D’ http://drcarolyndean.com/2014/06/too-much-calcium-and-vitamin-d/

      Additionally, magnesium is a natural relaxer, whereas calcium contracts. When we leaned on an increase of magnesium in our diet we experienced a more calming effect unlike when we upped our calcium intake that often increased tension, stress levels. Balance is key.

      • I thought I got plenty of calcium from milk, and have supplemented with magnesium (1-2 grams) , D, boron, K2, copper/zinc (copper deficient animals get swayback), and many other things until I was researching insomnia and ran across Joel Wallach’s wallach wisdom encyclopedia (compiled from his talks) and decided to try the cheap limestone to start and my arthritis was much relieved in 2 hours. So I am a calcium supplement convert- but again, there is a whole team including real vitamin A, and I’m finding more and more members of that team , like Lysine, vanadium, …I have converted to bone meal as they are more bioavailable. And I know a lot of natural good docs downplay the calcium supplements, but they are still not including other details that the “studies” supposedly proved- ( they are silent on the other team members).
        I know that with all the other supplements, I still had horrible leg cramps until I added Calcium. (This peaked while working 12 hour shifts at night, emphasis on night, I do better on 12 hour day shift). I still sometimes get freaked out when folks as smart and careful as Dr. Mercola and Chris Kresser discourage Calcium supplements, but they likewise left out mention of magnesium, D, K2, copper/zinc, boron, Vit A, etc. I just can’t bear the cramps enough to cut out the calcium now.

  4. It is possible to be deficient in both Ca and Mg if diet is poor or your needs are great (such as in pregnancy and nursing). Why doesn’t someone mention that?

  5. Hello I know that Bone Broth is an excellent source of calcium, but I was curious if bone broth still gives a bio available form of MCHC (Microcrystalline Hydroxyapatite) ? Or any at all since it has been heated ? Thank you

  6. I am 55 years old have osteoporosis. Currently taking prescription vitamin d and prolia injections twice a year calcium levels are low was told to start back on calcium pills. What do you recommend cause calcium pills cause so much constipation. Now I’m told it cause heart problems. What is your recommendation

    • I believe he would recommend the things he mentions in his article: 1) eating sardines (a rich source of calcium if it contains bones); 2) eating salmon (a good source); and 3) cooking with bone broth, a rich source of many minerals.

      The main thing I took from the article is that if you get your calcium from dietary sources like these (or from dairy, if you can eat dairy), you can get all the calcium the body needs, without needing to take supplements.

      BTW, if you’re taking vitamin D3 as a supplement, it’s often recommended that you take the kind that has MK7, if your purpose is bone health.

  7. Hi we think my 3 year old may have developed an intolerance to cow’s milk so while we wait to see a specialist we’ve put her on organic soya. A little twitchy about that from what I’ve heard about how it may affect hormones but for the moment we’ll keep her on it. I’ve recently found an organic soya milk by Provamel with added ‘algae Lithothamnium Calcareum’ for calcium. I know nothing about this. What are your thoughts? She’s not a great eater so I felt she did need added calcium. I’m from England by the way. ☺

    • my daughter (now 30) would not drink any milk and had very little cheese, no broken bones tried to get her to eat other sources- i say this because Soya milk is rather bad as a quick internet search will show. probably better with no milk

    • Raw Camel Milk is the best –next to Mother’s milk–(so I’ve heard). Next up is RAW goat milk. Homogenization and Pasteurization changes the molecular structure to where the body can’t absorb calcium from it anyway. RAW milk is by far the best. You can MAYBE find a goat farm near you or you can order the camel milk here: https://desertfarms.com/

    • Ugh… soy milk is very high in phytoestrogens and should not be given to children. Try goat’s milk, sheep milk or camel milk instead.

  8. Hi,
    I’m 19. I have been experiencing leg and pack pain very often especially when I walk or stand for even 15 minutes. Can I take calcium supplements to make my bones stronger?

      • While calcium is important for bone density, if you don’t have the proper forms or other components like magnesium, boron, Vitamin D3 in particular for assimilation in the body to put calcium where it belongs you can exacerbate the problem which can lead to a build up of calcium where it can be problematic, such as hardening of the arteries, joint and muscle pain, agitation, etc. Determine how much calcium you’re getting in your daily diet and adjust it accordingly; most people receive more than they need. Regarding your leg and back pain, getting enough magnesium will probably help to relieve the problem. Magnesium is a natural relaxer, whereas calcium contracts. When we leaned on an increase of magnesium in our diet we experienced a more calming effect unlike when we upped our calcium intake that often increased tension, stress levels. Balance is key.

        § (Magnesium forms that are more readily absorbed: Chelated magnesium, Magnesium taurate, chloride, glycinate, orotate, malate, L-Threonate or magnesium oil (a solution of magnesium chloride & water that can be sprayed or rubbed on the body).

        § Magnesium taurate, glycinate, and orotate forms have less laxative effects than citrate.) (Book: The Magnesium Miracle – Dr. Carolyn Dean) http://drcarolyndean.com/magnesium_miracle/

        Forms of Magnesium to avoid: glutamate – neurotoxin related to aspartame; aspartate – neurotoxin same as previous; oxide

  9. My serum calcium is 8.6. Normal range is 9.0- 10.2. Mine is considered very low. But if I take calcium, my bones actually hurt. What would you suggest?

    • If it was me, I’d take the cofactors necessary for the Calcium to be properly absorbed and assimilated – starting with Vitamin D, K-2 and Magnesium. You can look around for supplements that contain these 3 things – plus a few others, too.

    • Serum is unreliable. There is a test called Intracellular. Blood is not a good choice to find out what’s happening with minerals. It’s the cells. this test has you scrape cells from under your tongue and tells you what is actually being used and stored by the cells and the ratios.

  10. Chris, what about fish bone supplements such as kalsio (http://www.technyflex.com.au/products/kalsio-humans/). I believe it is a whole food supplement i.e. it is fish bone. Would you avoid these supplements aswell?

    What would be your for somebody who is deficient in calcium but cannot get it through diet or due to disability e.g. they live alone and cannot source or cook bones to make them soft?

    Thanks

  11. I’m 52 years old and my mother suffers from osteoporosis. I would like more info on how to prevent it maintaining a low fat low calorie diet as I am 15 pounds over weight

    • Maria, Low fat diets are not going to help lose weight. Too many people still falsely believe that is how to lose weight. THE “RIGHT KIND OF FATS” ARE NECESSARY FOR MAINTAINING ENERGY AND ACTUALLY WORKS TO SPEED METABOLISM. MANY HORMONAL PROCESSES REQUIRES HEALTHY FATS IN THE DIET. THIS LOW FAT DIET MANTRA BS HAS BEEN PERPETUATED FOR DECADES AND GUESS WHAT ? THERE’S MORE OBESITY IN OUR COUNTRY THAN EVER BEFORE. YOU NEED TO LOOK INFO UP ON PALEO DIETS. GET AWAY FROM HIGHLY PROCESSED FOODS. ALSO CRITICAL : EXERCISING AND THE “RIGHT” TYPE. STAY AWAY FROM THAT CARDIO (CRAP).
      LINK TO DR. MERCOLA ABOUT CALICUM AND OSTEOPOROSIS LINK:http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/05/23/Can-Calcium-Actually-Make-Your-Bones-Weaker.aspx
      I’VE ADDED A LINK TO DR. MERCOLA AND A SPECIFIC ARTICLE REGARDING

      I hope this will help…

      • Boron. PLEASE research it. Read all of it that you can. Countries that have the least arthritis have gobs of boron in their soil. This is from a man that spent years trying to figure this out. It is NOT about calcium. It’s about boron. Dr. Newham is who you want to read. Read his story, an MD btw and rejoice.

        P.S. He is from Australia and is also a soil scientist and plant scientist. What he found will astonish you about arthritis.

      • Not all people are suited to a high fat diet. Not all of us can benefit. I am not saying a low- or no-fat diet is a good thing for everyone, only that the high fat diets promoted by paleo eaters, Dr. Mercola, etc. are not right for everyone, either. We are all unique.

        Eating gobs and gobs of coconut fat is not “traditional” and even if it was, it was consumed by Pacific Islanders, not world-wide. We have to eat according to our ethnic origins (plus or minus common sense changes and individuial desires).

        • That idea has its’ merits, but really when you think about the vast majority of people now we are so……tan. Meaning, for instance I am 4 ancestral diets. Irish, Danish, Mexican, German. Now just which one of those should I do? I am on the paleo diet tho I don’t consume coconut oil, the new kid on the block. Just like how everyone got so carried away with tofu and lo and behold turned out not so good after all. I eat pretty much what the real ancestors ate. You know the cave folks. Humans have only been eating grains for a few thousand years, but have been eating paleo sans cocoanut which is the only one you added for millions of years, but all the animal fats are very well tolerated by all cultures and backgrounds. I’m not sure even the cultures that have tons of coconut trees eat all that much of it.

          • Eat whatever you like; but I wouldn’t tell people that there’s only one best diet based on what was eaten (supposedly) a million years ago. The reality is that we may have been consuming grains only 10,000 years (though some say otherwise, but I don’t really know) – and most of us, except for aboriginals, have adapted to it. More reality: there’s more to health than relying on diet for some sort of perfect state of health. Ain’t gonna happen, I don’t think.

            If a person wants to eat the way some scientists think that cavemen ate, he or she better be prepared to follow the whole lifestyle. No central heating, chasing after your food, gutting it yourself, eating it raw, ghastly living conditions all around. A rough, rough life.

            I know of a fellow, Darko Velcek (he has a website) who says the healthiest way to eat is everything raw, including red meat. No grains/legumes, etc. So, go for it.

            Too bad so many people are so “tan”, as you say. There’s all kinds of reasons for light skinned folk to not mix with the darker races, and an inability to find out what’s best for you is certainly one of them.

            • I do love these conversations! Cuz if you really want to eat your ancestral diet then possibly a bacteria diet is the way to go as our true ancestors are bacteria, right? Wonder what they ate on Mars or in space before they arrived here on a chunk of something. After all by weight and volume even now there’s more bacteria still living in and on us than our own DNA. I like to think of it as bacteria designed a way to form up into bodies and move around! lol

              • @Edy. I love your funny comments on how eating our “ancestral” diet of bacteria might be the way to go. Hee hee. You made my day.

          • Um coconut oil is paleo and probably the best oil on the planet. It’s stable at high heat with low oxidation. Furthermore it’s anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal which makes it a superior candidate for cooking, eating and nutritional benefits. We’ve gone to almost exclusive use of coconut oil with occasional use of extra virgin olive oil and wouldn’t change a thing.

          • Edy, consider yourself lucky, as you can actually eat all 4 diets, as oppose to someone who’s ancestry (parents with the same background) goes back many generation and thus limited to their diet.

            • @Dan. You were replyng to Edy, whose background is multiethnic. It does not follow that she can actually eat all four of her ancestors’ diets, if you do not mind my saying so. It depends on which genes predominate in her makeup. If her ancestors were all of one ethnic group going back millennia, then at least she could start to figure out the appropriate diet for her.

              However, things are never that simple even in that case, either, because over the past few generations we have become all of us mightily poisoned with chemicals – and I suspect this throws everything off for all of us.

    • Fat does not cause weight gain. Carbs do. Research this. Your brain is 80% fat, you NEED it, the right kinds. You don’t need the carbs. Or sugar. Doesn’t do any good. Sorry don’t think coconut oil is the answer. Our ancestrial diet is animal fat pure and simple. Are you a Polonesian? In that case good, but if not then animal fats are your best source.

  12. I also wanted to point out that if I have a 1% chance of having a heart attack and then someone decided that as a result of eating chocolate covered raisins for 11 years people like me then had a 2.39% chance, that would qualify as a 139% increase in my risk.

    This is a technique that drug companies often use to justify efficacy of their drugs that often are not really any better than placebo. The numbers in those studies aren’t really impressive at all. If supplementing 1000 mg of calcium were dangerous I would expect a massive increase in heart attacks rates in all westernized countries in all age groups. Calcium fortification should be deadly regardless of age.

    You have to sternly question any study that never even had the design potential to do anything other than to cause confusion. None of those studies was ever going to prove anything. I think most studies are just busy work because researchers are always studying something. Just like political pundits have no choice but to “say” something all day, researchers have to “study” something all day. Frequently, I think they are equally useful to humanity as a whole.

    Assigning heart attack cause to calcium is like assigning cause to cholesterol. It sounds plausible but the truth is really much more complicated and interactive than we can ever understand. Decreasing cholesterol and calcium intake does absolutely nothing to help atherosclerosis. Both substances are actually vital for health. In the case of atherosclerosis, they are being actively used by your body to temporarily save your life. If they were the cause, that would be terrible because they are also the short-term solution to whatever the real problem is.

    • Yes, we need plenty of highly absorbable Calcium. I think it is incorrect to focus so much on Magnesium as is being done nowadays by health advisors – to the exclusion of Calcium. I did this – not taking an excessive amount of Magnesium, but I was not taking any Calcium at all. Now, when I take Calcium, I can tell the difference. The problem, as you know, is (1) taking the wrong kind of Ca; and (2) taking too much and (3) not taking Vitamin D.

  13. Hi Chris. There is no way to know what other lifestyle choices the participants in the studies that you cite were engaged in. Think about the paradox here. In order to know the long term effects of calcium supplementation you would have to isolate those effects from all other food/supplement/lifestyle interactions. Without knowing how much A,D,K,Mag, etc.. they were getting, you can’t apply any sort of reproducible science. It should be obvious that supplementing with calcium ONLY will have deleterious long term effects, if for no other reason than by displacing other minerals and depleting vital co-factors. Try adding just calcium to a salt water aquarium everyday. Everything dies.

    “those who used calcium supplements had a 139% greater risk of heart attack during the 11-year study period”

    Does that mean that process beginning with atherosclerosis formation through heart attack occurred in those 11 years? Didn’t those people most likely have calcification before the study started?

    I had the unfortunate experience of having a Mg drip going into to me too quickly in the hospital. It felt like my whole body was on fire. As soon as the drip was stopped, the negative effects also stopped. This showed me just how quickly and efficiently the healthy kidneys filter out excess electrolytes in the blood. It’s remarkable actually.

    Health problems related to electrolytes are the result of stark deficiency and/or hormonal problems that upset their regulatory balance. Hyperparathyroidism for instance causes sustained elevations in blood calcium and provably leads to tissue calcification. I don’t believe there is any real evidence that reasonable calcium supplementation with healthy kidneys and available supporting nutrients causes systemic harm.

    Sorry this went so long.

    • I like your ideas, they make sense. It boils down to “look at the whole picture”. The devil’s in the details. Seems everybody and his dog has an agenda (which affects other people’s health).

  14. I recently had a bone scan, which shows bone losss. I’m age 61. My GYN has asked me to increase my calcium to 1500 and Vitamin D to 1000iu. I currently take a calcium 1000mg w/ vit D 400 and magnesium 500mg. I’m concerned at increasing the calcium. I know it doesn’t absorb into the body, where does it go? I asked my GYN about continuing to take the magnesium and they told me I didn’t need to take it. I’ve been doing my own research and am totally confused right now. I know the GYN is just going by the book on the calcium/Vit D increase. I do work out with weights and walk occasionally. So I’m going to start increasing both of these, especially the weight training. I’m just confused about the calcium intake.

    • To me what your GYN recommended is medical malpractice. What an outrage! Your concern over increasing the calcium is valid. If it doesn’t get into your bones it can collect in your blood stream, joints and the like which can lead to hardening of arteries, arthritis, etc. Does your body need calcium? Sure, but one receives a considerable amount in your daily diet. Not only does one need calcium for bones but magnesium, Vitamin D, K-2 and Boron as the latter elements help to put calcium where it belongs and not to the point it causes more harm than good, which in my opinion is what your GYN has prescribed. Several years ago my wife was diagnosed with osteopenia and basically told to get used to it as it will likely degenerate into osteoporosis. My wife chose to fight that diagnosis and has ‘reversed’ those scan numbers from ‘negative’ into ‘positive’; thus reversing the osteopenia through proper supplementation and weight training. So much for those practicing medicine. The body is remarkably restorative if we provide it what it needs.

      My wife and I assessed our calcium intake and found we received plenty of calcium in our diet but not enough magnesium. We chose to eliminate calcium supplementation since we get enough in our food but chose to greatly increase our magnesium ‘supplementation’ intake with great results; less stress, better sleep, focus, injury recovery, energy, etc. We flipped the FDA’s 2:1 recommendation of calcium-magnesium on its ear and try to at least be 1:1 or even 1:2.

      From your explanation of your conditions, you may want to look in the direction of magnesium deficiency. I’m not a doctor but Dr. Carolyn Dean, ND, MD who wrote the book “The Magnesium Miracle” has extensively researched the marvels of this mineral and my wife and I have reaped the health benefits of following a more 1:1 ratio of Calcium-Magnesium rather than an often recommended 2:1 ratio intake.

      To quote Dr. Dean in an article ‘Magnesium is Crucial for Bones’ “The effectiveness and benefits of calcium in preventing and treating osteoporosis are enormously impaired in the absence of adequate levels of magnesium. Magnesium keeps calcium dissolved in the blood. Too much calcium along with too little magnesium can cause some forms of arthritis, kidney stones, osteoporosis and calcification of the arteries, leading to heart attack and cardiovascular disease.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carolyn-dean-md-nd/bone-health_b_1540931.html

      Another good article ‘Calcified with Calcium & Vitamin D’ http://drcarolyndean.com/2014/06/too-much-calcium-and-vitamin-d/
      Additionally, magnesium is a natural relaxer, whereas calcium contracts. When we leaned on an increase of magnesium in our diet we experienced a more calming effect unlike when we upped our calcium intake that often increased tension, stress levels. Balance is key.

      • I, too was told by my ND to take more calcium. Which I won’t do. I’m sure I get enough in my diet. However, I have many health issues osteoperosis being one of them. Unfortunately I also have a heart arrhythmia and Mg worsens it. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

        • Magnesium worsens your heart arrhythmia? That’s surprising. Magnesium is vital for over 300 enzymatic functions in the body, so I’m wondering if there are some other factors responsible; perhaps electrolyte and other mineral imbalances. It could also be that you were taking a form of Magnesium that is poorly assimilated. The following forms are those we’ve gleaned from the natural health field for absorption, laxative effects and even neurotoxin responses.

          § (Magnesium forms that are more readily absorbed: Chelated magnesium, Magnesium taurate, chloride, glycinate, orotate, malate, L-Threonate or magnesium oil (a solution of magnesium chloride & water that can be sprayed or rubbed on the body). Applying Magnesium oil is a great way to administer it directly to the area you’re experiencing joint or muscle pain as in arthritis, etc. I wish I knew about this years ago.

          § Magnesium taurate, glycinate, and orotate forms have less laxative effects than citrate.) (Book: The Magnesium Miracle – Dr. Carolyn Dean) http://drcarolyndean.com/magnesium_miracle/

          Forms of Magnesium to avoid: glutamate – neurotoxin related to aspartame; aspartate – neurotoxin same as previous; oxide

          Dr. Carolyn Dean M.D., N.D. who wrote the Magnesium Miracle, recently authored another book: “Atrial Fibrillation : Remineralize Your Heart” http://drcarolyndean.com/natural-health-books-by-dr-dean/
          My wife has/had AFib but hasn’t had any episodes for many years since she changed her diet to eliminate calcium supplementation, as she gets more than enough in foods she eats, and increased intake of minerals, magnesium, Vitamin C, D3, K2 and boron in particular. She also eats more alkaline foods because if your body has too much acid or toxins to process, minerals, including calcium, are leached from bones as your body tries to balance the pH. Other important building blocks for bone are in foods containing Silicon, Manganese, Copper, Folic acid, Vitamin B6, Zinc, Beta Carotene, and Isoflavones. Bones are mostly collagen. Reading that your ND recommended you take more calcium with your heart and osteoporosis conditions seem counterproductive and problematic. You should determine how much calcium you’re already receiving in your diet before supplementation. Personally I’d probably be looking for another ND and get a blood test to find a baseline as to whether or not you have imbalances that can addressed through diet and supplementation.

          • I, too get palpitations when taking Mg. I don’t take any calcium, but drink a bit of bone broth daily. Hoping that is enough Mg and calcium. Edy

        • Read the book”Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox”
          by Kate Rheaume Bleue.How a little known vitamin can save your life.We don’t get enough of this vitamin because of industrial farming.This book will solve your problems with calcium.

          • I take K2 daily with D and have for years and yet I keep losing bone. What the???? My health issues are many and I am seeing Dr. Nett for them for now and I hope she can figure out what is going on! I also get an intra cellular test done every year or so and all minerals are spot on. I flummoxed.

      • hi
        started taking mag/ 240 mg twice a day seems to help some i hope it helps me sleep better as i have problems with sleep seems to have helped with joint pain how long to start seeing results on getting beter sleep
        thanks for info

      • If calcium carbonate is unnatural, harmful and absorbed weakly why are eggshells that have calcium carbonate listed as a natural calcium source?

    • The 500mg comment is referring to taking a supplement, while the 600-1000mg one is talking about dietary calcium intake… You probably would not be eating your full daily dietary recommendation at one time.

  15. I’m in sync with many of the comments here. I might sum up the issue this way:
    – Chris, please be cautious in making absolute claims, especially as I think you’d agree with the bulk of the comments below.
    1) People should always assess their vitamin/mineral needs before beginning supplementation–such as by lab test or estimating dietary intake.
    2) The studies warn of excess calcium supplement consumption above 1,000mg per day…and that’s generally above average recommendations especially since we hope there is some dietary intake of calcium
    3) The average person is not getting 1,000mg calcium via daily dietary intake and thus should consider appropriate supplementation
    4) Insufficient calcium intake can be detrimental–I went dairy-free with my child due to her needs and didn’t realize that I was taking too little calcium (300mg) and taking it at the same time as a mineral that binds to it…making both of those minerals wash out before they could get absorbed. In hindsight–low bone density resulting in fracturing the same bone 2x in 3 months and chronic muscle spasms which relieved after increasing calcium and changing with what other supplements I took it. oh, and some neuropathy for a period. Calcium is also critical for nerve function.
    5) Appropriate supplementation of calcium is tricky because it is difficult for the body to absorb:
    – e.g., don’t take 1,000 mg all at once; I’ve read that the body can absorb no more than 450mg at once; supplemental calcium is best spread out in the day, e.g., in the morning and just before bed
    – form matters–I understand that the body better absorbs powder/capsules than tablets
    – source and co-ingredients matter–some comments warn away from calcium carbonate; calcium citrate seems good; ideal combinations are calcium supplements that contain some V-D3 and magnesium to aid absorption.
    – I take Lifestream from NZ due to its high absorption rate due to its source. I trust the quality of Now Foods which has decent prices.
    – Some comments suggest people with issues consider whether the calcium is the solution or whether the balance of calcium and magnesium is solution for your body’s needs

    Good luck to us all. There’s no black & white rule book out there, especially given our bio-individuality.

  16. I just purchased an RO system. RO decreases the PH to about 5 to 6. In order to increase the PH of the water, they suggested an add on device that adds calcium and magnesium back into the water. Is this good, bad, or just unnecessary?

  17. YOU MIGHT TAKE A LOOK AT “PHARMACOLOGY WATCH,” DEC.2015. ARTICLE TITLED “RETHINKING CALCIUM SUPPLEMENTATION” NAMES BEING AT HIGHER RISK WITH CALCIUM SUPPLEMENTS FOR FOUR PROBLEMS: CONSTIPATION; CARDIOVASCULAR EVENTS; KIDNEY STONES, ADMISSION FOR ACUTE GASTROINTESTINAL SYMPTOMS.

  18. Who is this Chris person and what are his/her education re drugs etc and the usages of various supplements. Is he/she a health professional?

  19. I started taking bone meal and dolomite after I had my third child. I was 26. My bones hurt so bad after riding a bicycle and was still hurting after a few years. I read an article in Prevention Magazine written about a man in his 80’s that had fallen down some stairs and didn’t break any bones. He was so skinny it was hard to believe. My left wrist was so weak that it got to the point that I couldn’t use it. I started taking 3 bone meal and 3 dolemite tablets a day and in no time my wrist seemed to be healed. I quit taking the bone meal plus vitamin D and the pain came back. I have taken bone meal off and on over the years and hate taking pills so bad that I quit taking them as soon as I get better. It doesn’t take many months before I am taking them again. I am now 69 and am not sure what to do since they are saying calcium can cause heart trouble. It is hard to find a good beef tablet. Some have pork in them and I don’t eat pork. Beef bone is supposed to have lead in it is the reason it isn’t recommended I guess. I have taken 8 and more tablets a day when I get to the point I have trouble walking. I would like to know more about the veal tablets that someone on here recommended. I guess the younger the cow, the less likely it would have so much lead. So far, bonemeal tablets have done nothing but help me. I fell on my bottom about 4 weeks ago and it hurt pretty bad for about 3 weeks but I didn’t break anything. It also seems to help the pain in my lower back.

    • Taking calcium supplements does not cause heart problems. This is a fallacy.
      Just like everything else, do not over do it. Everything in moderation.
      I asked my doctor about calcium supplements to help with my osteoporosis and asked him about the dangers of calcium building up in the arteries. He said this may be true if you take 5000 to 10000 mg of calcium over a period of time, but taking 750 to 1000 mg daily will have no adverse affects on your heart. Some people cannot tolerate too much calcium as it sometimes causes constipation which is why you should take a calcium supplement that also contains magnesium.
      Your best bet is to talk with your doctor about taking calcium and not depend on an internet web site to make important decisions for you, especially a .com website.

      • I don’t trust most doctors knowledge bout this as far as I can throw them. Even my ND suggested calcium supplementation which I had already read wasn’t a good thing. They weren’t taught about any nutrition in Med School, that includes diet, supplementation, etc. I don’t take any mineral supplements except Mg. I also get an intracellular mineral test once a year and mine are spot on including the rather important ratios. I also make bone broth with organic bones, no lead, and sometimes use chicken feet, egg shells and chicken bones as well in the broth. ALL organic.

          • You can get the Intracellular test at Intracellular Diagnostics Inc. 541-245-3212 or go the website. It does require a docs referral. It’s called the EXA TEST.

        • Yes! to bone broth with egg shells added, as well as chicken feet! I keep a jar of a shell mixture I have found useful and add a few tablespoons to the pot when making bone broth. The mix: In a blender, pulverize the rinsed and air-dried egg shells you have saved up and add enough apple cider vinegar (mother in the bottle) to cover. Keep this mixture in a jar ready to add to the bones, etc., when you start your bone broth.
          The vinegar breaks down the egg shells further and makes their minerals and those of the bones more available in the broth.
          The pulverized shells can still leave a bit of graininess settled in the broth after cooling. If you don’t want that, strain the broth through a fine cheesecloth and discard the small grains left of the shells. Important to use all organic ingredients.
          Why waste valuable bio-available ingredients that are yours for the taking by throwing away the eggshells that hens spend their energy making for your use? 🙂

      • Bob you truly believe your conventional Dr. They only do what they were taught in Medical School. I am a nurse and challenge you to do your own research.. Follow Pub Med research to read legitimate studies. By the way the 2012 study 100% most certainly showed an increase in heart attacks with calcium. Try looking up vit k 2 if you want a good supplement. Bet your Dr has no clue about that one and probably thinks it has the same benefits as Vit K 1 . They are totally different. Happy New Year!

        • Most Dr’s don’t have much knowledge about nutrition or supplements. They have no formal training in that area. You can find out more on your own doing research on the Internet. There have been many studies done showing that calcium raises the chance of heart attack. I’ve started taking a plant based calcium supplement, that has D3, K2, and magnesium in it.

        • My g.p. actually confessed to being a specialist in colds and flu!.Jack of all trades master of none were his words. I have decided to look after my own general health with study and more study. I go to him for a blood test referral and thats all. This g.p had no idea what adrenals were..has no idea about hashimotos. ..he said anything past cold and flu would be a specialists job. Its hard to find a g.p who actually knows that much. I have tried many ..got sick of trying and believe we know our own bodies more than anyone and for general health we can do it without a g.p except for blood tests. Ok this nothing to do with calcium specifically but if you have access to a computer do the study its not hard to work out for yourself .

      • Be careful talking to average Joe doctors. They have no or very little nutritional training and depend upon conventional practice to form the majority of how they treat patients and understand disease.

        For instance, calcium interacts with other nutrients, so we know that your magnesium needs to be balanced with calcium (I believe higher manesium to calcium ratio) and vitamin d plays a part too. You would not want to supplement with any of these things without making sure they are all balanced appropriately. I am sure there are many more interactions we just don’t know about yet.

        So the point is that in foods, these nutrients are often balanced, however, we also get supplemental forms FROM foods that are fortified. So unless your doctor has had you do a food journal and knows what you’re eating, he or she can’t and shouldn’t recommend any supplement – even if they test you for a deficiency, because often times upping the nutrient you are deficient in won’t work to treat whatever is causing the deficiency.

        You don’t want a piece meal approach to your healthcare. For instance, my mother in law had low vitamin d levels, so her doc was giving her massive injections of the stuff and her levels still would not go up. She is overweight, doesn’t eat healthy, and barely moves. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to say, “Hey, your biggest problem is health and diet – lets tackle those issues and then retest your nutrient levels and see what we’re dealing with.” She also knows she has food sensitivities to wheat but still eats it – how can your body absorb vitamins and minerals if you have destroyed your intestinal lining?

        Anyway, get off the junk food, people! Eat whole, healthy foods, fermented foods, and raw foods. Purchase organic and local foods (or grow your own), get sunshine, clean water, and exercise. These things alone will do wonders (and for heaven’s sake, stop eating foods that your body gets sick from!) and if you have addressed those areas and still feel in poor health, THEN address deficiencies. If your doc suggests anything different, it’s either that he has no idea what he is doing or that he perceives you, as the patient, to be unwilling to make lifestyle changes, so he is giving you the lazy person solution, but it’s not really a solution because it may not work for its intended pirpose AND may have negative consequences.

      • I was diagnosed with osteoporosis after being prescribed too much thyroxine after having a partial thyroidectomy. I ordered what seemed to be a wonderful product for bone building. 2 years later I had a spontaneous coronary artery dissection which caused me to have a heart attack. I was 52 with low blood pressure and perfect cholesterol levels. The first thing my cardiologist asked me was how much calcium I was taking (1000 mg/day). He told me to stop immediately. This was so scary but I still worry about my osteoporosis and know that bone broth and leafy greens help but how much of this can you do? Also I have just read the paleo diet and am truly bewildered about the amount of meat (including bacon, what about nitrates?) that it recommends. I love meat but its production is taking a huge toll on our planet.

        • Calcium processing in body appears complex, and one cannot simply supplement it with calcium pills.

          As mentioned in various posts above, in some people, the issue seems to be lack of vitamin K2 and vitamin D. In very simple terms, vitamin D is necessary for intercellular calcium transport, whereas vitamin K is needed for fixing the calcium in proper locations.

          In trying to compensate for calcium issues, one has to carefully balance the ratio of intake of calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, and vitamin K.

        • I take a plant calcium supplement called, Garden of Life Organic Plant Calcium. There are also other brands. Something to consider, since it is supposed to be a better form of calcium.

      • I beg to differ. It really depends on the person. I was hospitalised as an inpatient with severe heart arrythmias and muscle weakness after being prescribed calcium carbonate and vitamin D3 supplements for hypocalcemia. Despite all these symptoms, my blood calcium levels remained low. I was told to stop taking the supplements and recovered. After that I only got calcium from green leafy vegetables and primarily increased vitamin D intake as that can raise calcium as well as did weight bearing exercise. Relaxation and getting enough sleep was also vital as I had previously had a parathyroid problem that made my calcium metabolism go haywire.
        I later found out there was research that it can cause arrythmias in women of a certain age around their time of the month, just as I experienced. One thing I’ve learned is that doctors are taught very little about calcium and vitamin D at medical school. Calcium carbonate is not a very bio-available form of calcium compared to some others, and also caused stomach aches since it lowers stomach acidity (it’s the main ingredient in many antacids).

    • vitamin D is supposed to be the one you body can help create pain if you are deficient. If you are getting enough calcium wiht the other minerals needed to use it maybe just the D is in order. I’d get some blood work done to see if you have any deficiencies. PS: Looks like if you take calcium in small doses more times per day that is OK. avoid the 500mg + pills or cut them up. also note other foods high in calcium http://nutritiondata.self.com/foods-011118000000000000000-2w.html

      • A blood test isn’t a reliable result of what’s going on in your cells. I would suggest an Intracellular test. Easy. Scrape cells from under your tongue, send to the lab and it will tell you exactly what minerals are in your cells. If you’re not absorbing them and they’re just floating around in the blood then what’s the good?

          • Intracellular is the name of the lab and not the type of test, tho that’s exactly what it does. It does need to be ordered by a doc, but if you have one as open as mine will he/she do this for you. The cost is negligible, it’s gone up over the years, I think it’s about 150 bucks now. Their phone number is 541-245-3212. IntraCellular Diagnostics Inc. in Portland OR. Your doc will have to call and set up an account.

    • Mona pay no attention to Bob’s recommendation of calcium as you may as well experience cardiac arrest if you did. Calcium ‘contracts’ and it could very well lead to heart disease as it needs proper balanced assimilation and that happens in conjunction with Magnesium, natures ‘calcium channel blocker’ as magnesium is a natural anti-inflammatory and without it, you could experience a heart attack. As for calcium intake, even the FDA only recommends 1,200mg; better yet review your daily intake from food before supplementation. I was getting far more calcium in my diet than was necessary and stopped supplementing with it altogether and am better off health wise for it but it depends upon each persons needs.

      From your explanation of your conditions, you may want to look in the direction of magnesium deficiency. I’m not a doctor but Dr. Carolyn Dean, ND, MD who wrote the book “The Magnesium Miracle” has extensively researched the marvels of this mineral and my wife and I have reaped the health benefits of following a more 1:1 ratio of Calcium-Magnesium rather than an often recommended 2:1 ratio intake.

      To quote Dr. Dean in an article ‘Magnesium is Crucial for Bones’ “The effectiveness and benefits of calcium in preventing and treating osteoporosis are enormously impaired in the absence of adequate levels of magnesium. Magnesium keeps calcium dissolved in the blood. Too much calcium along with too little magnesium can cause some forms of arthritis, kidney stones, osteoporosis and calcification of the arteries, leading to heart attack and cardiovascular disease.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carolyn-dean-md-nd/bone-health_b_1540931.html

      Another good article ‘Calcified with Calcium & Vitamin D’ http://drcarolyndean.com/2014/06/too-much-calcium-and-vitamin-d/

      To your health!

  20. There is a possible link between calcium supplements and an increased risk of heart disease. The theory is that the calcium in the supplements may actually make its way into the fatty plaques that are found in your arteries which cause the plaques to harden and increase your risk of heart attack.

  21. Great another helpful find ! I think from now on before I decide to include something I ( think ) I maybe lacking – I will sure to look here first . I had to stop dairy due to allergies and started getting Bad leg cramps and dry itchier skin YUK lol
    Almost bought some supplements 🙁 Yeah Everywhere I look I read Eat more leafy greens !! If your allergic to most criciferouse veg. I know I spelled that wrong . Your out in the cold and bone broth just isn’t my thing. I’ll just toss some low carb veg’s in it and deal with it ……. Thanks Chris 🙂

    • Do not listen to this bull from Chris. Check with your doctor like I did. I have osteoporosis and have to take calcium supplements along with Vit D. I mentioned to my doctor about taking too much calcium that may cause it to collect in the blood stream and could cause a heart attack. He laughed at me and asked me where I read that bull. Calcium is stored in the bone not in blood stream. Any excess calcium is excreted through your intestines and urine. Calcium is absorbed by your bones and cannot cause heart attacks. People with osteoporosis are advised to take at least 1000 mg of calcium a day, some doctors prefer you take 1500. Be careful what you read on the internet from non medical people. Check with your doctor on all health issues.

      • Bob, I’m glad you responded to this post. My Dr. is not happy that I’m doing low carb, she’s old school .To tell you the truth , she just doesn’t look healthy at all. Don’t get me wrong I’ve seen plenty that seem to be happy and vibrant.
        There’s things I have asked her over the years about my health and she said I was wrong . For instants my legs started swelling , she said I had fluid build up. Put me on a water pill. So I went home and looked up all my med. high blood pressure med’s side affects , because she had changed me to a different brand. Low and behold that was a side affect. All she said was “Oh I didn’t think about that, (but) it only happens to some people .
        I’ve been on Protonix for Gerd 2 years and just found out that it depletes nutrients , or blocks them from your system -which she never told me either. so I don’t have a lot of faith in her if you know what I mean .
        Anyway I will look further into this before , I decide . I know though the years most of my Dr’s where pill pushers . I prefer to find the reason behind the problem , not cover it with Pills !!

        • hi diana, i would like us to communicate i am very much interested in your comment and the fact that you have been on gerd medications for about 2 years

          • Hi all,

            I have heard over and over again that gerd is not a NOT too much stomach acid, but not enough. Your food is not being broken down and digested, but sits there for hours and then shoots back up the esophagus. I hope Chris comments on this!

        • My husband was very sick with heart disease, he was put on a station drug. He was tortured with leg cramps waking him and this progressed to his arms then his torso.
          I would put hot wet towels to help him. We told the prestigious Dr. From a great teaching hospital and he said he didn’t know what was causing this and advised drinking soda with quinine.
          We learned that the side effects of statins can be serious causing these terrible cramps.
          When it happened one could see the twisting and lumps under the skin. I’ll never forget this.

          • Maris,
            My hubby has terrible leg cramps and he drinks pickle juice & it helps. I guess it’s the vinegar. He buys it at Academy.

          • For those who have nocturnal leg cramps, I have finally found the solution through experimentation and a lot of research. No doctor could help me.
            Take 150 mg. Magnesium twice a day along with 100 mg. Potassium (I take them early afternoon and before bedtime, so each dosage is approx. 12 hours apart). Don’t take any more than 150 mg. of Magnesium at one time, or you may have diarrhea. If i’ve been golfing in the hot sun or working out, I also take an Electrolyte supplement (follow instructions) – the best one I have found is a powder I mix in my thermos which I carry with me while working out or golfing “Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator” or you can make your own (just Google for home-made electrolyte drinks). Before bedtime, I also do simple leg stretches, for the calf muscle in particular.
            I am a 69-year old female who is very active, but have had Atrial Fibrillation for 20 years now and am on Warfarin. The AFib stimulates the kidneys so it’s like I’ve been on a diuretic all these years, so I believe this alone is causing the loss of important electrolytes in my system, which can lead to the cramping.
            Another good reason to take Magnesium: it relaxes the muscles and the whole body, and after taking it for about 3 weeks, you will notice that you will be sleeping like a baby!
            Good luck with this!
            las

          • The leg cramps are caused by the statins because they block the production of CoQ10. My husband takes a statin drug but also supplements with CoQ10. He did not have any issues with muscle spasms until he went off of CoQ10 for a month. Then he had some muscle cramping attacks. Back on the supplements, no more muscle spasms. Here’s a paragraph from an article on statins and the role of CoQ10:
            Those who are taking statins to lower cholesterol are at particular risk for deficiency, because not only do statins reduce cholesterol levels, but they also block CoQ10 synthesis in the body. Low CoQ10 levels in patients on statins can contribute to the common side effects of statin therapy such as fatigue and aching joints and muscles.

      • Actually it is not bull that calcium can get stored in the arteries. It is well established that it does. The proof is easy to get by your doctor from any radiology department in the world. A number of CT scans that i have seen done on patients show white deposits of calcium in the Aorta and in the heart and some other vessels in the body. For your own proof cut and paste this. “ct images calcium deposits in the aorta” in google images. All those images with bright white covering some or all aorta is calcium. If your doc still denies this after see the proof. You might want to think about switching your doctor.

        • You may be right, but you forgot one obvious thing, this does not happen to everyone who takes calcium for osteoporosis. I personally take 750 mg of calcium with Vit D for osteoporosis 4 days a week only, my doctor wants me to take 1500 mg daily. I think that is overkill since I also get calcium in the foods I eat. The only way to tell if calcium is building up in your arteries is with a coronary calcium scan. High cholesterol leads to calcium build up also. Get your LDL’s and Triglycerides under control and less chance you will have of calcium building up in your arteries. Smoking and alcohol abuse also contribute to calcium build up. If you lead a healthy life style, taking calcium supplements in moderation for osteoporosis should not affect in any way your chances for a heart attack.

        • Yes, that is why calcium should be taken with vitamin K which will stop the calcium from depositing in the arteries.
          Bones need other nutrients as well such as phosphorous.

          • You are right about vitamin K, but you should note that Vitamin K1 and Vitamin K2 are NOT the same. Vitamin K1 is for blood to clot and Vitamin K2 is needed to guide the calcium from the arteries to the bones. If you are short of Vitamin K2, the calcium will stay in the arteries, where it starts to make a kind of bone.

      • hi i use calcium as it eases my symptoms of anxiety and improves gut function. there is another thing that i have noticed about calcium , it definitely has something to do with bladder and bowel functioning. when i don’t take supplemental calcium for a long time i experience frequent urination and an urge to go to toilet , perhaps this may be related to the anxiety issues that i have but then again taking a calcium tablet 600 mg per day seems to work well for correcting all these problems. and this whole new studies regarding heart health i still believe they are far from conclusive and that individuals vary a lot with respect to their calcium metabolism and their calcium needs , no worries

      • Well Bob the ‘bs’ as you call it is coming from you and your Dr. as you are setting anybody up, including yourself for heart disease if you follow your Dr.’s advice regarding calcium. Most people get too much from their diets and they need a buffer which is Magnesium in particular otherwise the calcium builds up where it doesn’t belong; the arteries. Furthermore, without enough Magnesium, you’re exacerbating the problem of osteoporosis.

        This information was shared with Mona earlier due to your dangerous recommendation that you should take a good long look at with further investigation for your own health since your doctor clearly is not properly treating your condition.

        The Calcium Wars: Magnesium deficiency causes heart disease http://www.naturalnews.com/038286_magnesium_deficiency_heart_disease.html#
        Magnesium Is Crucial for Bones http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carolyn-dean-md-nd/bone-health_b_1540931.html
        Calcified with Calcium & Vitamin D http://drcarolyndean.com/2014/06/too-much-calcium-and-vitamin-d/

          • Norma,

            I’m no doctor or naturopath so you should seek advice, preferably from someone that will promote good health rather than someone who will prescribe drugs that usually treat symptoms but not the root causes and end up causing more harm.

            As for needing calcium and magnesium; we all need it; but a lot of it depends on our dietary intake. My wife and I assessed our intake and found we received plenty of calcium in our diet but not enough magnesium. We chose to eliminate calcium supplementation since we get enough in our food but chose to greatly increase our magnesium ‘supplementation’ intake with great results; less stress, better sleep, focus, injury recovery, energy, etc. We flipped the FDA’s 2:1 recommendation of calcium-magnesium on its ear and try to at least be 1:1 or even 1:2.

            If you can, please read Dr. Carolyn Dean’s book, The Magnesium Miracle and even sign up for newsletters at the Nutritional Magnesium Association: http://www.nutritionalmagnesium.org/

            From their research and others that promote a more natural approach, you should find help for your particular concerns.

        • I intended not to be nasty here and I won’t be.

          The calcium I take has magnesium in it. Each tablet contains 250mg of calcium and 125mg of magnesium, plus 100 units of vitamin D3.

          If you are going to take a calcium supplement this is what you need. Make sure it has magnesium in the pill or capsule. They make this way so to be sure you get the magnesium along with the calcium. Plus you get a little D3 with it.

          Don’t over do it. 3 of these tablets a day is more than enough, even 2 would suffice if you are eating food rich in calcium and magnesium.

          Don’t believe these people who say calcium supplements w/magnesium are not good for osteoporosis. They are safe to take as long as you don’t over do it.

          The main reason the put magnesium in calcium supplements is to prevent constipation. Magnesium has a laxative effective on the majority of people. So the magnesium offsets the constipating effects of calcium.

          • In all likelihood, you’re already receiving more than enough calcium in your diet; most people are but what people are shy of, is magnesium as it’s a key factor in ‘absorption’ and ‘assimilation’ of calcium to where it belongs and not accumulating in the joints leading to arthritis and in arteries where it can lead to hardening of the arteries and yes, a heart attack. You can make light of the issue and bow down to your doctor who laughed when you brought it up as a potential concern but it’s your health you need to look out for and traditional medicine doctors do not receive training on treating symptoms and causes of maladies naturally but promote pharmaceutical means which tend to cause more problems and almost never get at the root cause. Your doctor may be concerned for your health but they’re only going to go with what they know and what they are told to promote and it’s not to prescribe nutritional supplements but rather, drugs.

            As for the calcium magnesium supplement, sure go ahead, but you really need to look at the bigger picture and that is since calcium is already the most abundant mineral in the body you should ask yourself if you are receiving the appropriate nutrition to put it where it belongs or is it causing more harm than good? Whereas on the other hand, the body doesn’t retain magnesium well, it’s safe to say the body needs more for the proper processes to occur or expect accumulation of calcium. We eliminated calcium supplements because our diets already contain enough and went towards a 1:1 ratio of calcium-magnesium and our heath greatly improved; our bodies dealt with stress much better, bone density improved as my wife’s ‘diagnosed osteopenia was reversed’ all the while being told by her physician that was impossible, get used to it and hope to maintain the best you can before being put on drugs. The drugs used to treat arthritis, osteoporosis, etc. are well known for creating hardening of the bone as in brittle bones rather than the health flexible conditions in normal bone.

            Magnesium isn’t the only key to bone health but we could not produce energy without it as it is a regulator of processes throughout the body.

            Further reading:

            Magnesium – Key to Calcium Absorption – Arthritis – Osteoporosis treatment: http://www.mgwater.com/calmagab.shtml
            What is Magnesium? How it Functions in the Body http://www.ancient-minerals.com/magnesium-benefits/what-is-function/
            Magnesium metabolic processes: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/magnesium

            As for magnesium causing a laxative effect; it can but there are types of magnesium that lessen that possibility. Since we stopped taking calcium and greatly increased our magnesium intake to roughly 600-800mg over the course of the day we’ve not had any issues. The following forms are those we’ve gleaned from the natural health field for absorption, laxative effects and even neurotoxin responses.

            § (Magnesium forms that are more readily absorbed: Chelated magnesium, Magnesium taurate, chloride, glycinate, orotate, malate, L-Threonate or magnesium oil (a solution of magnesium chloride & water that can be sprayed or rubbed on the body).

            § Magnesium taurate, glycinate, and orotate forms have less laxative effects than citrate.) (Book: The Magnesium Miracle – Dr. Carolyn Dean) http://drcarolyndean.com/magnesium_miracle/

            Forms of Magnesium to avoid: glutamate – neurotoxin related to aspartame; aspartate – neurotoxin same as previous; oxide

            I strongly recommend you find another doctor that doesn’t get weak in the knees or laughs at you if you are looking out for your health as in the end you have to live or die with those decisions. We rarely go to the doctor and we’re in our late 50’s. Before we took charge of our health, we used to go to the doctor far more in our 20’s and 30’s. Think about it.

      • Ive come back 6 months in the future to bring your attn to this again. Chris was right. It was all over the news in November/December 2015. Finally this info has gone mainstream. Your Dr should atleast have researched your claims.

  22. It’s a common sense – Body needs a certain level of calcium. If one keeps track of the increasing or decreasing levels while taking supplimentary Ca, and stop or minimise intake of Ca suppliment accordingly there wont be any complications. All complications arise if you take Ca suppliments even after your body Ca levels are replenished.
    And yes doctors do study Nutritional aspect of life too. We spend one entire year to study human body on a cellular level, one year pathological and genetic level, one year on social and nutritional level, One year pharmacological and morphological level. In other words we study human body in depth.

  23. And what if you’ve eaten everything on that list for a long time and you exercise and you avoid caffeine and you do everything except take a calcium supplement only to find that none of the above has done anything to improve your overall bone health and you find out that your bones have thinned to the point that your doctor wants you to take Forteo injections daily? Because that’s what happened with my mother.

    There is no cookie cutter approach to good health because one thing won’t works for everyone. My mother looks like a very healthy woman and she eats like one and she exercises, no alcohol, no smoking, incredibly thin and she stopped taking her calcium supplements a long time ago specifically because of advice about the dangers of calcium supplements. Based on that advice, her bones have now so deteriorated that the doctor wants her taking Forteo injections every day.

    Millions of people are taking calcium supplements and I doubt most of them will drop dead from them. We’ve gotten to a point where everything has to be gluten-free, peanut-free, soy-free, grain-free, paleo, keto, low carb, vegan, non-vegan, etc, etc, etc, and it doesn’t appear that people are getting any healthier…only more paranoid and hysterical over everything.

    • Thin and petite women are at increased risk for osteoporosis because they have less bone to lose.
      http://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/guide/osteoporosis-risk-factors

      Estrogen and testosterone levels are two of the biggest factors in maintaining bone, and both decline at menopause.

      Some women rely on calcium from dark leafy green vegetables, but these vegetables are also high in oxalates that bind to calcium, then both calcium and oxalate are excreted from the body.

      Vitamin D helps calcium go to bones, but too high Vit D supps turn the tables and pull calcium from bones, and also raise risk of kidney stones. Unfortunately, high Vitamin D supps are very “popular” in recent years, based on serum 25-D testing alone that by itself can rarely identify overdosing

      Some kinds of strenuous exercise raises cortisol, which in turn can pull calcium from bones.

      Chelation therapies have been popular in alt med in recent years, but many people don’t know that while chelating substances may be known to chelate 1 or 2 minerals mostly, they also chelate more or less indiscriminately and can pull calcium from bones and teeth etc.

      • Yikes Holy Smokes – I get scared to be lacking, then I get scared to include . I just started Vit. D3 cause I hardly get any Sun and no dairy
        I wish the Dr.s would get on the Job of helping us, instead of making us sicker . With Med’s that cause most of are problems to begin with . QUACKS !!!

        • Make sure to include vitamin k2 when you take D3….otherwise you can get calcification of your arteries. K2 directs calcium to your bones.. Without it, it can end up in your arteries and organs. You will also want to include magnesium, which can be as easy as taking a warm bath with 2 cups of Epsom salt for 20 minutes. I was never told about k2 from ANY doctor when I was put on D3 for a deficiency… Three years later I went for a mammogram and the radiologist was concerned that I was a healthy 35 year old with calcification in the arteries of my breast.. Which, through further tests, was also in the arteries of my heart. Thankfully with just adding k2 and magnesium the calcification seems to be reversing.

          • I can’t comment on what works for other people but in my experience my 20 year history of hypertension which had reached serious levels has been almost magically reversed as a result of cutting out the calcium magnesium supplements I had been advised to take for twitchy muscles. In their place I started to take pure magnesium, D3 and K2 supplements. My blood pressure started dropping within two weeks and is now at pretty much normal levels. I make sure to get adequate calcium nutritionally and although I’m sure this regime may not be the correct one for other people, for me it has been nothing short of a miracle.

  24. Chris,

    Is it not the case that calcium in milk products through pasteurization is converted to calcium carbonate, thus reducing its bioavailability and thus making it an ineffective and potentially harmful “source” of calcium?

  25. Before you take a supplement of any type, go to your Doctor and ask for a blood test. There are tests that will indicate your calcium levels, iron or vitamin B levels etc.
    If you are low in a certain vitamin your Doctor will advise you of the form of the vitamin to take and how much.
    Then you can go to your naturopath or health consultant and find the best product on the market
    I feel you can put to good use the different health professions available.
    However, what I will not tolerate regardless if they are a “Doctor”, naturopath or health consultant is a blind diagnoses without a blood test. I feel these types of diagnoses are like seeing a psychic… a stab in the dark.

    • Not always….if you are low in calcium in your blood, that never means you need calcium…it may indicate the opposite. If your body is very acidic, your body will take calcium from the bones and teeth and put it in the blood stream to try to raise the PH. In the meantime, creating problems with your kidneys, (stones)….etc. So, this could be a red flag to what you body is trying to tell you….in my case, my blood levels of calcium is very low meaning my calcium is where it should be, in my bones and teeth.

      • Normally I don’t comment, but I this poster is suggesting that low blood calcium is somehow indicative that the body has too much calcium and that you never need more. Ludicrous. Low and low normal blood calcium is nearly always present in secondary hyperparathyroidism caused by vitamin D deficiency. You have to test PTH and vitamin D to know what’s happening. This is one area where allopathic medicine has it right. The treatment is vitamin D and calcium. Restricting calcium further will only lead to more parathyroid leaching from your bones. In addition, you will continue to suffer the systemic consequenses of having insufficient D and calcium in your body. Now, if only low normal calcium levels triggered vitamin D follow-up tests, much cost and suffering could be ameliorated.

        “in my case, my blood levels of calcium is very low meaning my calcium is where it should be, in my bones and teeth”

        Low blood calcium is in no way an indicator of healthy bone calcification.

    • My Dr told me she won’t do needless blood work cause I (think) I might be lacking something in my diet . Three years ago they detected a goiter in my thyroid . After 6 months , with not giving me anything. They tested it and said Oh it shrunk . So I asked my Dr just the other day maybe I should get my thyroid checked again . All she said was if it’s not bothering you , why check it ?? The worse part of all is it didn’t cause a problem that I (know ) of before they found it. Ops sorry I got ahead of myself was needle biop. and not cancerous at that time . Gezzzzzz

  26. Thank you for your article Chris, I totally agree with you. As prescribed by her doctor, my mom was on calcium supplements for years and she has a bad case of bad circulation on her legs. She did a surgery years ago to try to fix it and continued taking calcium supplements, the circulation went bad again and she has bulged veins on both legs and she has to take pain medication every day. Three years ago I started studying nutrition because I was with a sinus infection that was not getting better, and I was prescribed many different antibiotics for that whole year and I ended up in the emergency room with a whole new bag of health problems… anyway, after reading a lot about supplements and many natural healing I found out that too much calcium supplement can do more harm than good to a person. I was really surprised by this news because I remember when I took some calcium supplements I felt pain in my legs and sometimes I had a little panic and difficulty breathing, and also I felt a little weird on my left side… that said, I stopped taking calcium supplements everyday, and now I only take the liquid trace minerals that has calcium among other minerals. I also remembered to call my mom and talk to her about these findings. My mom topped taking calcium for a week and started taking magnesium supplements. After one week she reported feeling less pain on her legs and also she said her legs didn’t feel heavy like bricks anymore. So people should not underestimate the researches naturopath doctors or even nutritionists do, just do a little research yourself and compare data or even test on yourself and you’ll see the results.

    • One of the best calcium supplements I’ve found is from Kind Organics, no rocks and completely food sourced and plant based. Great for PMS mood swings too! My doctor told me about this one.

    • Thanks Leann for your comments. Last year I switched to a better brand of calcium. Over the past several months I noticed I was having leg/foot pain during nighttime. It was a burning feeling, like nerve pain. Finally started researching before making a doctor appt. Sheesh, googling almost put me in a panic for an incurable health problem. Then I remembered an issue a friend had with heart valve sticking from two much calcium supplementation. I take 1200 mg at bedtime, plus liquid minerals too. Since I’m a very active adult, this leg pain most likely from poor ciruclation just didn’t make sense to me. I’m suspecting the calcium supplements. I’m thankful for this article. It is so difficult to know how to obtain best nutrition; I truly have no faith in the medical profession. I find it hard to believe they actually study nutrition in med school, because it is rarely considered in the doctor’s office. The last time I met with a nutritionist at a MD’s office (10 yrs ago) her knowledge of nutrition was so out of date, I shook my head. In the meantime, I’ve added vitamin E, more greens, and cut out the calcium supplements for now.

    • I wuld like to ask u wat kind of magnium did you take.ive ben having really bad pains im my legs i cant walk or sleep.nd now ive ben feeln like der stinking me wit needles.my legs gets swollen.nd have bad circulation.pliz help.ben to the hospital nd all dey do is give me pain medicines.i also have no strength in my legs.help

      • I have been dieting so I haven’t been getting the nutrients we need. I have been sedentary as well.
        My legs were becoming swollen with pain. I couldn’t put any pressure on my legs ,sitting, laying down or pressure in any way.
        I began to think it was time to see a doctor.
        On the meantime I took a CVS multi vitamin after my last meal.
        This is hard to believe but 20 minutes after the first night dose my legs were remarkably improved. Every night thereafter I took the vitamin and me legs are better. I bought some time to improve my dietary nutrition and moving my body with at least walking.

      • Leann, this is what I’ve gleaned from Dr. Carolyn Dean’s book and articles on types of magnesium to use and those to avoid:

        § (Magnesium forms that are more readily absorbed: Chelated magnesium, Magnesium taurate, chloride, glycinate, orotate, malate, L-Threonate or magnesium oil (a solution of magnesium chloride & water that can be sprayed or rubbed on the body).

        My wife uses the oil when she gets leg cramps, myself when my back aches and the benefit is practically immediate.

        § Magnesium taurate, glycinate, and orotate forms have less laxative effects than citrate.) (Book: The Magnesium Miracle – Dr. Carolyn Dean) http://drcarolyndean.com/magnesium_miracle/

        Forms of Magnesium to avoid: glutamate – neurotoxin related to aspartame; aspartate – neurotoxin same as previous; oxide

  27. http://www.amazon.com/The-Calcium-Lie-Doctor-Doesnt/dp/0981581854

    lots of Naturopaths know supplemental Calcium isnt useful. You have to look at the diet. Calcium only works in concert with a matrix of other minerals and even if you have all you need, a glut of sugar or booze could still throw you from the homeostasis boat. In “lick the sugar habit” Nancy Appleton goes into how valuable minerals are rendered toxic by sugar & alcohol. thats the problem- not a lack of anything but that childish part of us that wants a way to continue in self-destructive behavior and wants science to fix it !!! no self-change required. hahahah.

  28. Don is absolutely correct. One thing my doctor told me a few years ago, never believe anything you read on a .com website no matter who wrote it.

    If you going to surf the internet about health information just make sure the site URL ends in .edu

    I have to take calcium supplements for osteoporosis and asked my doctors the draw backs and if the extra calcium could collect in my arteries and cause a blockage. He actually laughed at me and wondered where I heard that from.

    There is no scientific proof that extra calcium is detrimental to a person’s health.

    Ask your doctor.

    • Ummm. There’s actually quite a bit of science out there, you just have to choose to read it, and decide to not put so much faith in doctors. Doctors aren’t healers; they are teachers who are largely taught things that are deleterious to good health without ever questioning anything.

        • Not me. I would rather trust a doctor who went to college for 8 years and did 2 more years in training.

          My doctor told me do not believe anything about calcium causing your arteries to become clogged with the mineral. It just don’t work that way.

          I wouldn’t over do and just take the amount your doctor tells you take.

          Too much research has been put into this and it was found that calcium supplements will not its build up in your arteries.

          • One think about doctors is, they don’t always keep up with newer research. Some do. Some doctors had to graduate at the bottom of the class.

          • most doctors not doing the research themselves, they only read papers, journals, and who gave them those?
            the one who really care about preserving health? or the one who only care about how to make more money?

      • I’m believing you Chris , because with being on LC eating for only 7 months . I have never felt so much Energy in Years . Before I felt tired all the time , even if I slept 8-10 hours . By 1 o’clock in the afternoon I had to take a nap . Wasn’t even I think a month after tossing , sugars , processed junk food and lower carbs . I could keep my Energy all day 🙂

    • You need a new doctor Bob before you find yourself looking up from an operating table due to a cardiac arrest from too much calcium. It’s really quite basic, calcium ‘contracts’, magnesium ‘relaxes’, so if one receives too much calcium and too little magnesium to balance the ebb and flow into the cells, it can cause hardening of the arteries which in time clog up leading to a stroke, heart attack, etc.; and you don’t want to go there if you don’t have to in order to flat line if you know what I mean.

    • I’m sorry, but taking the word of just one doctor is not alway sufficient these days. They are still human, and are responsible for keeping themselves up to date on the latest research. I have spoken with several doctors on this matter (I am looking for ways to aid the healing of 2 very slow healing broken bones in my leg) and they all agree that the latest research shows that calcium supplementation benefits do not outway the risks. Further, there is lots of research available out there if you do some digging – and available on sites that don’t end in .com. Any chance your doc is a bit old school?

  29. A little learning is a very dangerous thing. Chris Kresser is not a doctor, is not a nutritionist nor even a legitimate health scientist. Take all of his recommendations with a huge grain of salt and then consult your personal physician.

    • I put way more faith in what Chris has to say than what the majority of mainstream drs have to offer.

      Chris also believes in Let Food Be Thy Medicine and most drs believe in “Man, have I got a great prescription for you and when you have the side effects, I’ve got another one to fix that, too!”

  30. Assuming that good diet and weight bearing exercise will be enough is just wrong. I watch my diet carefully, do a lot of weight bearing exercise and take a small amount of supplemental calcium citrate with vitamin D, and have just found out that the bone density in my spine has worsened since last Dexa scan 3 years ago. Doctor now urging me to increase intake from calcium supps. I don’t want to, but what else to do? Heart disease, stroke and osteoporosis all run in the family

    • Gail,

      Get a whole food bone supplement like Garden of Life’s Plant Calcium or New Chapter’s Bone Strength. They both have a complex of algae-sourced nutrients like Vitamin D, Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin K2. They each have their own trace minerals too. According to the Rotterdam study, mortality, cardiac events, and atherosclerosis were dramatically lowered with higher intakes of Vitamin K2. You could also increase your consumption of fermented foods, which are high in Vitamin K2.

      Good luck!

      Matt

      • Thats right, I´m just taking a Calcium supplement and have a good Vitamin K2 supplement by its side.

        I´m from Finland and here we have a pretty bad problem with hearth diseases with the people, we also have bad numbers in osteporosis. Still people here generally drink a lot of milk, but for some reason it doesn´t make our bones any stronger.

        According to my studies Vitamin K2 (especially MK-7) seriously may have a very good effect on atherosclerosis and the strenght of you bones.

        -Greetings from Finland 🙂

        • Milk will only benefit if your vitamin d status is high, or if the milk’s vitamin d status is high. Which means both or either need really strong sunlight, which i gather you do not get. If you couple this with high vitamin A consumption from butter and other sources, this will drive vitamin d status down further. The best bet in countries with low intensity uvb is to take vitamin d supplementation while taking vitamin A foods – for protection. We live in california, and even with uvb index of 5,6,7,8 and being very tanned, we are deficient because our exposure was not daily without fail, especially when eating butter and other sources of retinol. Sun exposure must be daily. When uvb is low, then one way to prevent bone demineralization is to keep alkaline diet, keep vitamin a consumption very low if at all, best use beta carotene from foods during winter – unless using vitamin d supplements – D to A ratio during winter might need to be around 3 to 1 to prevent vitamin d losses.

      • I use that supplement for myself, but I’ve been looking for one for kids since they can’t have dairy. Any suggestions? I haven’t found one without any toxic ingredients

  31. It was interesting to know that dietary intake of calcium protects against heart disease, but calcium supplements may increase the risk. I also take calcium supplements based on a nutrition expert’s advice. Do you think that I am doing right? Should I stop taking calcium supplements?

    • Please do not stop calcium supplements by what you read here. Ask you doctor.

      There plenty of reasons why your doctor spent 8 years in college and 2 years in training to become a doctor, plus the amount of money it cost him to become a doctor.

      Stopping your calcium supplementation could be hazardous to your health.

      • C=MD. I’ve been “treated” by more poorly trained doctors than good ones. Unfortunately, many doctors learn how to treat symptoms with pharmaceuticals rather than with nutrition and other means. I won’t go into all the details, but I wish I had seen functional medicine practitioners a long time ago. I wouldn’t have been in the mess I’m in now after decades of antacids, acid-blockers, antibiotics, etc… Undoubtedly, there are very good doctors out there. Just don’t assume that all doctors are competent.

      • Most Doctors are clueless about nutrition, they only use drugs backed by the FDA. They are more concerned with liability issues.

      • YES THEY SPEND YRS IN COLLEGE, THATS A GOOD THING, BUT WHEN THEY DON’T WARRN PATIENT ABOUT THE DANGER MED THAT THEY PERSCRIBE, HOW IT CAN AFFECT A PERSON TO HAVE A NONE REVERSE ILLNES WHEN ALL THE SIDE AFFECTS DOESN”T SHOWS ON PERSCRIPTION LABEL, IF I SEPND THOSE MANY YEARS IN SCHOOL TO BE A DR. ALEAST I WILL HAVE THE HEART TO TELL PATIENT, THE DANGER OF THE MED’ EVEN THOUGH IT WOULD HELP THE PATIENT,BUT ALEAST THE DR IS BEEN HONEST ABOUT WHAT THEY ARE PERSCRIBING,FOR EXAMPLE AN OLDER PERSON PERSCRIBE NAXOPREN, BUT NOT AWARE THAT THIS MED CAN CAUSE THEM TO HAVE A STROKE”

    • Jyoti, you will probably be better off getting your calcium from your diet than supplementation since generally our diets are high in calcium, low in magnesium which helps our body assimilate the calcium. Without it, you can experience a multitude of health issues, including heart disease as calcium contracts and without enough magnesium to buffer the effects, it can collect as in ‘hardening of the arteries’ which can lead to a heart attack or worse.

      I highly recommend checking out Dr. Carolyn Dean, ND, MD’s book called ‘The Magnesium Miracle’ as it’s been a blessing to our family for getting us on the right track of the calcium, magnesium issue, thus improving our health by eliminating calcium supplementation but increasing our magnesium intake on a 1:1 ratio since our diet already contained too much calcium.

  32. What do you recommend if you have just had parathyroid surgery? The doctor has me on 6 calcium pills a day. I am currently having extreme pain in my hips and upper thighs and I am wondering if this could be from too much calcium.

    • Please look at magnesium as it appears you’re out of balance from your calcium intake and you’re causing more harm than good. Magnesium can relax and reduce the pain associated with your conditions.

      Dr. Carolyn Dean, ND, MD who wrote the book “The Magnesium Miracle” has extensively researched the marvels of this mineral and my wife and I have reaped the health benefits of following a more 1:1 ratio of Calcium-Magnesium rather than an often recommended 2:1 ratio intake.

  33. Doesn’t it matter WHAT calcium supplement you take? I take MCHC, which is known to be much more effective and safer than the calcium carbonate, for example, which is usually the subject of those tests. How do you feel about MCHC?

    • You ought to look at how much calcium you’re getting in your diet before supplementing as you may find your causing more problems. MCHC may be fine but depending upon its ingredients, are you getting enough magnesium? Magnesium helps to assimilate the calcium into the cells without it accumulating it on the arterial walls as in hardening of the arteries.

      Please look at magnesium as it appears you’re out of balance from your calcium intake and you’re causing more harm than good. Magnesium can relax and reduce the pain associated with your conditions.

      I highly recommend you check out Dr. Carolyn Dean, ND, MD who wrote the book “The Magnesium Miracle” has extensively researched the marvels of this mineral and my wife and I have reaped the health benefits of following a more 1:1 ratio of Calcium-Magnesium rather than an often recommended 2:1 ratio intake.

  34. this post by lynne
    AUGUST 23, 2014 AT 10:05 AM
    was very accurate. The use of K2 and D3 is now being proven to help people with skin problems. This month (October) there have been posts by five people, in another group, who saw their psoriasis clear up. One woman did research and learned that an excess of calcium had been found in psoriasis cells and also Alzheimer plague cells.

    Another person with osteo porosis reported seeing a 25% improvement in bone density. The calcium supplement suggested was made from algae and termed algae cal which is produced by a number of companies. The vitamin K2 should be one that is labeled as MK-7 K2 which is the most effective one in directing calcium to the bones.

    Vitamin D3 needs to be taken with the K2. They work together. Seems that many people are deficient in vitamin D3 so 5,000 iu is a good starting point. You can double this to 10,000 units per day taken twice a day and a K2 each time. K2 made from a Japanese food called natto is the best source to get it from.

    Anyone taking any meds at all needs to read the pharmacology carefully. many drugs interfere with natural body chemistry causing loss or depletion of minerals and and other essential nutrients.Others are endocrine disruptors causing hormonal imbalances. two of those drugs are Keppra and Depakote. There are dozens more.

    Lets not forget that certain foods many of us consume also effect calcium levels and cause other problems. Phosphoric acid in colas, artificial sweeteners, preservatives and food colorings are not helping. Many of our meats are fed antibiotics. Cows are fed antibiotics along with a growth hormone to stimulate milk production and this is passed on to you. Smoking also interferes with new bone development, in particular the osteoblast cells that help to continually generate new bone.
    the book Lynne mentioned has come highly recommended to me by others. Kate Rheaume-Bleue’s book ‘Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox. How A Little Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life.

    • Calcium from algae is in the same form as that from limestone. So the enhanced uptake is probably in some way due to the associated minerals in the harvested red algae.

      I read a few of the studies cited by Algaecal and each of the 4 had at least on doctor associated with Nutri Today, a company that markets supplements.

      My opinion after reading most of these comments is that although most of you “paint a full picture” you are reiterating research from others. I can tell you as a researcher you cannot imagine the number of confounders that can be included or not do obtain the P=(desired by researcher) or the CI.

      If you have lived a life that has left you with chronic conditions then yes, you probably won’t change your ways so you might as well take supplements, but you should have just realized that life is precious. I know many will take offense to that statement, but I’m entitled to my opinion.

      My father is a retired chemist and his influence on me was to eat right to live a long life. I have always wanted to live past 120 and have lived, loved, and taken care of myself to enable that goal. Relying on shortcuts like eating crap supplements instead of enjoying a good diet? Sorry, I just cannot understand it and I find rationalization in most of your comments so you will not have to face changing your diet, or that it’s too late to change your diet. But maybe you can pass it along to the next generation, you know the one with the 40% obesity rate. :/

      • Hi Basic Chemistry,

        AlgaeCal is not the same form as limestone. We have had a lab analyze the calcium types with 4 different calcium forms identified (calcium hydroxide, calcium sulphate, calcium phosphate and calcium carbonate). Besides the calcium forms, there are 13 other bone supporting minerals naturally occurring in AlgaeCal.

        I also want to mention that AlgaeCal also has no association whatsoever with Nutri Today.

        – Monica from AlgaeCal

      • Why so cynical? Not everybody is too blame for their health issues because of poor lifestyle or diet. That comment is hurtful. Just as Darlene commented, I had my parathyroids removed during thyroidectomy and now, 20 years later, after battling low calcium levels for years, I am learning of the effects of calcium supplements. Why so cynical? Not everyone is a scientist. What’s the point in being educated on the subject if not sharing that information with others but making general accusations. Sad.

        • I agree with Christine. A lot of folks, like myself, are a product of their upbringing and circumstances. I was raised in a place with “ignorant” eating habits. I was never overweight–as a matter of fact, I have always been very lean. Because I’m a scientist, I tended to do my own research and tried new things…learned about different habits. It wasn’t until I was in my late 20’s early 30’s that I discovered the damage that my parent’s diet had done to my bones. I also had undiagnosed endometriosis, which, tied closely to hormonal imbalance, leads very often to osteoporosis.
          So, you see…I always did have a better diet than most of my family, but I didn’t get to choose for the first 18 years of my life (basically–you ate what you were given, especially if you grow up in a conservative environment). By the time I fully developed a science-smart consciousness (pre-internet), most of the damage was done. Consider yourself lucky by having the chance to being born to a science-smart family–good for you. People that aren’t born to that privilege have to stay positive, inform themselves, and try to fix the damage done to the extent that it is possible. I do agree with you that calcium coming from live foods is the best source, along with tension/torsion exercise. Good luck to everyone in seeking their best health!

    • I am a dairy farmer, and I take offense at your assertion that milk and meat contain antibiotics!!! Both milk and meat cannot be sold without very intense testing, with very large penalties if even tiny amounts are found. They are tested several times for accuracy. Please don’t speak things as true without knowing from your own experience.

      Also, very few dairy farms use BGH anymore, and the milk is labeled as containing it, so most dairy processors pay a premium for producers NOT to use it. Again, please don’t say things that aren’t true! Besides, it hasn’t been proven that BGH does any hard to humans. It is species-specific, and very likely cannot affect humans. However, we do not use it, and, as I said, extremely few do.

  35. I cut them out long ago . Many doctors now say they are bad and its best to get your cal from foods raw mlk yogurt etc
    greens also and take Vit k2 so it is well absorbed in body and do weight walking with a vest , I love the one by nyknyc
    it fits well looks very nice

  36. 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.

  37. 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

    • Hi,

      I have had VERY similar issues as you. For that reason i feel like telling you what has worked with me. I began looking into a variety of supplements to help me with the issues you mentioned especially with sleeping. Look into your gut health. Alot of people with sleeping and anxiety issues have problems with their gut. IT can be a number of things but mainly bacterial/candida overgrowth or parasites in the gut can cause exactly those issues. I have tried EVERYTHING from magnesium to calcium to passion flower and more but it all starts with the gut. Healthy gut and diet can fix ALOT of issues.

    • You don’t mention vitamin D… I suffer depression if I do not get my vitamin D. It takes 10,000 units daily to keep me away from the darkness! Balancing our supplements is the key. Unbalance is damaging . Ppl who take calcium w/o vitamin D etc create an inbalance.

        • Betty, Thanks for the validation. I wanted to share a website in case U also suffer osteoporosis: SaveOurBones and also the Vitamin D Council. I subscribe to both newsletters. Both think taking calcium alone could be damaging. I had heart surgery last June for small heart arteries so this calcuim stuff is vital info for me. Thanks again.

  38. 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.

    • I agree, Wyandotte. I eat almost no dairy except Clover Stornetta brand Kefir, minimal high-oxalate high-calcium vegetables, have high-end serum 1,25 VitD (calcitriol), high urine oxalates and related high urine calcium. I take with food: 800-1000 mg calcium citrate with a mixed-forms magnesium, 800 iu Vit D, 100 mcg Vit K, and sometimes extra magnesium, as part of my supplements.

      I think the lion’s share of bone building comes from testosterone and estrogen, but there has to be calcium etc. for hormones to work with. So taking calcium of whatever form (maybe in hard tablets that don’t dissolve well), without regard to complementary magnesium, and with only fumes of estrogen remaining postmeno in some cases — this was always an inadequate idea! We need to paint the fuller picture, give more context, for “facts” to be properly understood. Anything else is sophistry (rhetorical persuasiveness that gives the illusion of wisdom without the fullness of substance).

      We need to be examining more deeply the individual case, and not scaring people away generally from optimum use of calcium if they actually do need it.

  39. 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.

    • 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

    • 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.

    • I have felt that taking Cal/Mag helped me sleep. I learned that Calcium wakes up your muscles and Magnesium calms them down. If I couldn’t sleep I’d put a few drops of Magnesium under my tongue. It seemed to put me to sleep. I had read in my thyroid information that you shouldn’t take Calcium or Magnesium with thyroid med. So I would take my thyroid pill in the morning and the Cal/Mag later in the day. I use to take my 81 mg aspirin in the morning but figured out that if I take it late at night I sleep very well because it calms my restless leg and active brain. I can say that because I quite taking everything except the Thyroid in the morning and the aspirin at night.

      Now my legs seem like they are bursting varicose veins right and left and hurt at night. Why is that?

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

    • Julia,

      I am over 60. While in my early 50’s found out I had osteopenia. After doing a lot of same research mentioned in this blog, i chose a plant based calcium supplement (in the 700 mg range) which included K2 and some other necessary minerals. Like others I added D3, magnesium (taken at different time from calcium) and potassium. Osteopenia persisted. But then I found out about something I haven’t seen others mentioning. Strontium, which is also taken separately from calcium (it is not the same as radioactive Strontium 90). There is research showing that Strontium may be the missing link even to the point of not needing to take calcium supplementation. For what it is worth I now have a healthy bone density. There are other sources but, I use AlgaeCal.

      • HI Julia,stumbled across your post ,I’m 53 and also have Osteopenia,how long before your healthy bones where healthy again (after you tried strontium) I’ve only just been diagonsed . Bev

  42. 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.

  43. 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?

  44. 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?

  45. 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.

  46. 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

  47. 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!

  48. 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.

  49. 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.

  50. 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.

  51. 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?

  52. 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.

  53. 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,

  54. 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.

  55. 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.

  56. 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.

  57. 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

  58. 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)?

  59. 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!

  60. 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

  61. 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.

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

  62. 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.

  63. 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.

    • 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.

  64. 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 !

  65. 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.

    • 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.

    • “HIGH-DOSE VITAMIN D PREVENTS FRACTURES IN ELDERLY

      A new analysis of nearly a dozen studies testing vitamin D in older individuals has concluded that it takes a daily dose of at least 800 international units (IU) to consistently prevent broken bones.

      A dose that high was found to reduce the risk of hip fracture by 30 percent and other breaks by 14 percent. Lower doses didn’t have any effect.

      The report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, also suggests that too much calcium — perhaps more than 1,000 milligrams (mg) per day — can weaken the benefit.

      The Institute of Medicine recommends that most adults get 1,000 to 1,200 mg of calcium per day and 600 to 800 IU of vitamin D. It sets a recommended upper limit at 2,000 mg of calcium and 4,000 IU of vitamin D.

      Dr. Richard Bockman, a hormone expert at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, said the findings are an important counterbalance to last month’s widely-reported recommendation by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

      The government-backed task force advised against taking doses of less than 400 IU of vitamin D with 1,000 mg of calcium and concluded the evidence was unclear for higher doses.

      Bockman said the best trial is a 2003 study, known as the Trivedi trial, in which volunteers received an average of 800 IU per day as a single 100,000 IU dose every four months.

      “It clearly showed a reduction in fracture risk in people who were getting vitamin D,” he said.

      Read the full story at reuters.com.

  66. 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.

  67. 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

    • 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

  68. 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

  69. 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.

  70. 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…

    • 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!

  71. 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.

  72. 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 ?

  73. 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!

  74. 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.

    • Thanks, I get bad abdominal cramps during training. I will try magnesium citrate. Your advice and others in the comment section, especially regarding carbonate, has been helpful

  75. 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.

  76. 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?

  77. 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.

  78. 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

  79. 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

  80. 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

  81. “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?

  82. 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!

  83. 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/

  84. 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

  85. 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?

  86. 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?

  87. 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

  88. 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!

    • 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.

  89. 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,

    • The amount of ignorance here IS shocking isn’t it. Notice how they ALL ignored the Finland comment? Screw em., let em all keep yapping. Thins the herd I say.

  90. 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.

  91. 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.

  92. 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?

  93. 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.

  94. 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.

  95. 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.

  96. 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.

    • 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.

  97. 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!

  98. 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.

  99. 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.

  100. 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.

  101. 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.

  102. 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…

  103. 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.

    • Don’t know why all the scare tactics here about supplementing with calcium. People been supplementing with calcium for years.
      I had to have a bone density test done when I went on prednisone. Found out I had osteoporosis, which for someone my age is very common (68). Both my primary doctor and my specialist told me start taking 1250 mg of calcium a day. My D3 was low, so told to take 1800 whatever of Vitamin D3. I am off the prednisone because of serious side effects, but still taking the calcium supplements and D3 which both doctors told me to still take. Both told me there is no scientific proof that calcium supplementation can cause any disease, calcification of the arteries or stones. So I think I will believe them instead of the nonsense on here. Thank you.

  104. 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?

  105. 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/

    • 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.

  106. 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.

  107. 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.

  108. 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.

  109. 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.

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

  111. 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.

  112. 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.

  113. 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?

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

  114. 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.

  115. 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?

  116. 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

  117. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

  118. 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?

  119. 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?

  120. 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!

  121. 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” 😉

  122. 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?

    • 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?

      • 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).

  123. 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.

    • I began reading this article because I have periodically had brief, severe hip pain which I suspected was due to supplemental calcium. Yours is the first I’ve read about “aching joints.”

      After taking only two rounds of supplemental calcium/vitamin d/magnesium, my right hip hurt so badly that I was completely able to sleep. Staying off the supplement for 24 hours has provided significant relief!

      I’m convinced that the supplement severely aggravated an already weak hip joint, causing it to become much worse.

      I am also concerned that Vitamin C might also have aggravated the situation and have ceased taking C supplements.

      Can’t tell you how much better I am able to sleep, and feel such relief in my hip!

  124. 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…..

  125. 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!)

    • 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!

  126. 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.”

    • 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.

    • 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..

    • There is so much pro-magnesium, anti-calcium propaganda to be had these days. We are told – and I believed – that all we have to do is take Mg by food or supps and it would somehow send the Ca to where it is needed, assuming we are also taking Vitamin D3.

      Some of us do need Calcium, it is that simple. I was taking only 200-400 mg of Magnesium every day, staggering it, and I kept getting mild cramps in my legs in the morning. I finally figured out it is Ca that I need. I take 2 – 200mg Ca Citrate pills a day and it is working. I also make sure I take Vitamin K2 & D of course.

      • Propaganda? Wow, it’s sad that facts have now been relegated to such nonsense. The fact remains, we do need calcium, magnesium, Vit. K2, D3, boron, etc. for bone and body health but we need it in forms that can be properly assimilated which may be what you’re health concern may be all about. Some forms of calcium, magnesium, etc. are poor and at times even neurotoxic in the body. Magnesium operates as a natural ‘relaxant’ and calcium as a natural ‘contraction’ in the body and if in the improper form or quantity will not work properly and cause issues; cramping being one. If one is not getting enough magnesium, then the calcium builds up in the joints, blood vessels, etc., so before you lay your complaint on ‘lack’ of calcium, you ought to look at the forms you’re taking and make sure you’re getting the proper ratio. We were taking 2:1 calcium to magnesium but found it woefully problematic and now are much healthier with a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio of Ca-Mg.

  127. 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.

  128. 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)?

        • 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.

      • 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?

  129. 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!

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

  130. 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!

  131. 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!

  132. 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.

      • 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

        • 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.

        • 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.

      • 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.

  133. 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?

    • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

  134. 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.

    • 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.)

    • 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.

  135. 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!

    • 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.

    • 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)!

  136. 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  137. 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?

    • 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.

  138. 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.

  139. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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…

          • 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!

        • 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?

          • 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.

        • 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.

        • 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.

          • 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.

  140. 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.

  141. 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.

      • 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.

      • THANK YOU Chris.

        Dear everyone,

        Just realize the value of being vertical and drawing breath each day. Why is that not enough to make people want to eat a proper diet an exercise. So many lazy people, so many addicted people. We are at epidemic obesity rates with our children 🙁

        Eat some Dulce, do a spinach and power green smoothie with coconut cream, eat a big grass fed elk steak. Exercise daily and then go take a run.

        Just value life. You are only allowed one go round. In your current body anyway.

    • 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.

    • 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?

      • 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.

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

    • 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.

      • 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…

    • 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.

      • 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?

      • 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.

        • 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.

        • Why, given the length of the this conversation hasn’t anyone proposed proper phrasing? Calcium is an element. It doesn’t come any other way, it just comes to you through the store or diet as part of of molecule.

          Algae based calcium is metabolized the same as limestone although the studies that I found without conflicts did suggest that the inclusive mineral content could have had an impact.

          Regardless, why not just eat correctly?

      • 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

  143. 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.

  144. 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!

    • 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?

    • 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

    • 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!

    • 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.

    • 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.

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

    • 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.

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