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The best calcium supplements for bones, teeth, and muscle health provide easy-to-absorb calcium at affordable prices. This article discusses calcium requirements, absorption, and the best options to try.

Calcium is an essential nutrient for strong, healthy bones and teeth. Although a person may be able to get the calcium they need from their diet, some people need extra support from a calcium supplement.

Factors such as age, diet, and underlying medical conditions can affect how much calcium a person’s body absorbs.

This article examines the best calcium supplements and discusses who may need them, how to choose, and when to contact a doctor.

Medical News Today chooses calcium supplements that meet the following criteria:

  • Ingredients: MNT selects products containing safe and high quality ingredients that are clearly labeled. They should also confirm they are free from pesticides, heavy metals, and mold.
  • Dosage: Each dietary supplement MNT chooses clearly states the recommended dosage.
  • Serving size: MNT selects products in which manufacturers recommend a safe dosage.
  • Third-party testing: MNT chooses products that must undergo third-party testing for contaminants by an ISO 17025-compliant laboratory.
  • Available certificate of analysis: MNT selects companies that demonstrate transparency and share a product’s certificate of analysis (COA) following receipt of its third-party lab results.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more.

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Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

The table below compares the calcium supplements in this article on their key features.

PricePrice per doseProduct sizeFormDaily doseStrength per dose
(DV%)
Care/of$10$0.3360 capsulescapsule2 capsules480 mg
(37%)
Persona Nutritionvaries$0.09variestablet1 tablet200 mg
(15%)
HUM$15$0.5060 tabletstablet2 tablets630 mg
(48%)
MegaFood$32–$40$0.36–$0.4360–90 tabletstablet2 tablets100 mg
(8%)
Nature Madearound $18$0.4580 gummiesgummies2 gummies500 mg
(38%)
NOWaround $7$0.0312 oz /
340 g
powder1/2 level teaspoon600 mg
(46%)
Renzo’saround $18$0.2960 tabletstablet• 1 tablet for 2–3 year olds
• 2 tablets for 4 years and over
100 mg
(14–15%)

Calcium is a mineral that plays an important role in many key bodily functions, including:

Additionally, calcium may also help prevent or reduce the risk of significant health concerns, such as cancer, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and preeclampsia.

Although calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, people still need to replenish it every day. The best way to take in calcium is by eating a balanced, nutritious diet.

Roughly 72% of the calcium people in the United States consume comes from dairy products such as yogurt, milk, cheese, and foods with added dairy ingredients.

Other good dietary sources of calcium include:

Learn more about the benefits of a balanced diet.

The best calcium supplement will depend on the person’s unique circumstances. The type and quantity of calcium a person needs will vary depending on:

  • their age
  • whether or not they take any medications
  • whether or not they have any health conditions

A doctor can advise on the best way for someone to get more calcium based on these factors.

When looking for a product, it is important to consider the following factors.

How much calcium should a person have?

It is important to choose a supplement containing the right amount of calcium for a person’s age. The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) suggests that people get the following amounts of calcium in their diet each day:

AgeDaily calcium requirement
0–6 months200 mg
7–12 months260 mg
1–3 years700 mg
4–8 years1,000 mg
9–18 years1,300 mg
19–50 years1,000 mg
51–70 years1,000 mg for males, 1,200 mg for females
71 years and above1,200 mg

People below the age of 18 years who are pregnant or nursing need 1,300 mg of calcium per day.

Ingredients

In addition to finding a product with the right dosage, it is also a good idea to consider which form of calcium will be most suitable.

There are two main forms of calcium in supplements: calcium carbonate and calcium citrate.

Calcium carbonate is:

However, calcium carbonate relies on stomach acid for absorption, so people should take it with food. Some people may also find that calcium carbonate causes side effects, such as gas and bloating.

Calcium citrate does not depend on stomach acid for absorption. As a result, it can be more suitable for people with:

However, calcium citrate is more expensive than calcium carbonate, and it contains less calcium overall. This means that a person may need to take a higher dose to meet their calcium needs.

Learn about the best vitamin brands.

How to take calcium for the best absorption

The Bone Health and Osteoporosis Foundation (BHOF) states that the body absorbs calcium best when people take 500–600 mg or less at a time through food or a supplement.

People can aim to consume calcium-rich foods in small amounts throughout the day or take a calcium supplement with a meal.

People may also ensure they take optimal vitamin D through their diet or a supplement, as it is essential for calcium absorption.

Further resources

For more in-depth resources about vitamins, minerals, and supplements, visit our dedicated hub.

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Many people can get enough calcium from a balanced diet.

However, the ODS notes that certain groups may be more at risk of calcium deficiency, including:

  • Postmenopausal females: Decreases in estrogen can reduce calcium absorption and increase the risk of osteoporosis. Taking calcium supplements may slow the rate of bone density loss in people who are postmenopausal. Learn how to increase bone density naturally.
  • People with infrequent or no periods: People who do not have a regular menstrual cycle may also have lower estrogen levels. Athletes or people with eating disorders can sometimes have irregular cycles.
  • People with lactose intolerance or a dairy allergy: Avoiding dairy products due to lactose intolerance, dairy allergy, or personal preference, can make it challenging to get enough calcium. Taking a supplement can help boost levels.
  • Vegans and some vegetarians: Vegans and ovovegetarians, who eat eggs but no dairy products, may not get enough calcium from their everyday diet.

If a person is concerned about a calcium deficiency, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional. They can perform certain tests and analyze the person’s overall health and diet to confirm whether or not a calcium supplement is necessary.

Calcium supplements may cause adverse effects such as bloating, gas, or constipation for some people. Taking too much calcium may also lead to:

According to the ODS, some evidence suggests that high calcium intake may contribute to prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease. However, studies looking at these risks have had mixed results.

Calcium supplements can interact with other medications, such as:

People taking any medications or with underlying conditions should talk with a healthcare professional before trying a calcium supplement.

A person may be able to get enough calcium from food alone. Dairy products such as yogurt, milk, and cheese contain the highest calcium levels.

Some dairy- and lactose-free sources of calcium include:

  • nuts and seeds
  • dark leafy greens, such as spinach and kale
  • beans and lentils
  • tofu made with calcium sulfate
  • canned fish, such as sardines or salmon
  • fortified breakfast cereals
  • fortified milk alternatives
  • fortified fruit juice

Some substances can also reduce the amount of calcium the body absorbs. These include:

If a person’s body has difficulty absorbing calcium, they may benefit from reducing their intake of foods and beverages that contain these substances.

Learn about other dairy-free sources of calcium.

The risks of having too little calcium

When people do not take in as much calcium as their bodies need, the body leaches calcium from the bones. This makes the bones more brittle and increases the risk of fractures. Osteoporosis, rickets, and osteomalacia are all bone disorders that may result from low calcium.

Other risks of low calcium may include dry skin, hair, and nails, as well as muscle spasms and neurological symptoms.

People who suspect they have a calcium deficiency should speak with a healthcare professional. They can determine if this is the case and, if so, recommend some ways to get more calcium.

If a person experiences new or worsening symptoms while taking calcium, they should stop taking the supplement and seek medical advice.

Below, we answer common questions about calcium supplements.

Calcium carbonate typically contains more calcium than calcium citrate, so it may provide a bigger boost to a person’s calcium levels than calcium citrate.

However, calcium citrate is better for people with certain health conditions, such as irritable bowel disease or malabsorption, as it does not rely on stomach acid for absorption.

People should speak with a doctor to discuss which type would be best for them.

Getting calcium from food is the best way to get optimal calcium each day.

A 2020 literature review found that meeting the recommended intake of 1,200 mg per day of calcium for older adults, taking a minimum of 600 IU of vitamin D, and consuming a balanced diet supported bone health.

Calcium carbonate was the most absorbable form, according to this study.

Calcium is an essential mineral and people should ensure they have regular calcium from their diet or a supplement.

However, some individuals may have dietary, lifestyle, or other health restrictions that prevent them from consuming calcium from the usual sources, such as dairy, cheese, and yogurt.

Alternative sources of calcium include beans, nuts, and seeds, dark leafy green vegetables, tofu, and fortified cereals.

Calcium is an essential nutrient for bone health. Some people may not be able to get enough calcium from their diet, in which case they may benefit from taking a supplement.

A healthcare professional can help someone choose the form and dosage they need. They can also advise on any other nutrients that might help with absorption.