- Health benefits of calcium: It is important that you get an adequate amount of calcium, as it is essential to maintaining your bones and plays critical roles in nerve transmission, muscle contraction, and your cardiovascular system. In fact, getting sufficient calcium each day (1,000 to 1,200 mg for adults) may decrease your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. For details, see What It Does.
- Good sources of calcium: You may already get enough calcium in your diet from dairy, beans, green-leafy vegetables, and other foods. In fact, with the exception of girls ages 9 to 18, most individuals take in enough calcium from what they eat. For the recommended intakes of calcium and to learn how much you may already get from food, see What to Consider When Using.
- Safety and side effects of calcium supplements: If you're not getting enough calcium from your diet, supplements can help. Calcium supplements have shown some modest benefits for postmenopausal women, particularly those on hormonal therapy after hysterectomy (see What It Does). But be careful! Calcium from supplements may increase the risk of heart attack and stroke if you get too much from supplements (generally over 1,000 mg per day) or if you already get at least 805 mg of calcium from your diet. Calcium supplements also increase the risk of kidney stones in postmenopausal women. See Concerns and Cautions for more information.
- How much calcium to take? Since you can't absorb more than about 500 mg of calcium at a time, consider limiting intake from supplements to 500 mg or less at a time and, certainly, no more than 1,000 mg total per day. Also, be sure you are getting enough vitamin D, as it is necessary for your body to absorb and utilize calcium from both foods and supplements and may reduce some of the risks associated with calcium supplements. Vitamin D is in many of the supplements tested in this Review. For extensive information about vitamin D, see the Vitamin D Supplements Review.
- Which calcium supplement is best? This depends, first, on your particular needs. Use the Results table below to narrow in on products which provide the right amount of calcium and other ingredients to meet your needs. Be sure focus on products which have been approved by ConsumerLab.com because not all supplements are properly made and live up to their ingredient claims. Then compare prices in the last column of the table -- you can get some good products for just pennies a day. Taking these factors into consideration, ConsumerLab selected several Top Picks for calcium supplements.
- When to take calcium? If your calcium supplement includes vitamin D and/or vitamin K, take it with the meal that contains most fats and oils, as this may increase absorption of those vitamins. Otherwise, you can take calcium with any meal, but don't take it at the same time that you take other mineral supplements as the calcium may reduce their absorption. If you are taking calcium citrate, you may be able to take it with or without food. Follow the directions on the supplement.
Calcium Supplements Review
Find the Best Calcium Supplement. Tests and Reviews of Popular Calcium Supplements & CL's Top Picks
Alphabetical list of calcium supplements compared in this review
Bayer Citracal Petites
Bluebonnet Rainforest AnimalZ Calcium Magnesium & Vitamin D3
Caltrate Bone Health Advanced
CVS Health Calcium 600 mg
GNC Calcimate Complete
Jarrow Formulas Bone-Up
Kirkland Signature Adult Gummies Calcium
Natural Vitality Natural Calm Plus Calcium - Raspberry-Lemon Flavor
New Chapter Bone Strength take care
Pioneer Children's Cal Mag & D - Cocoa
Puritan's Pride Calcium Magnesium Vitamin D3
Puritan's Pride Chelated Calcium Magnesium Zinc
Rainbow Light Food-Based Calcium With Magnesium & Vitamin D3
Solaray Calcium Citrate 1,000 mg
Solgar Calcium Magnesium Plus Boron
Standard Process Calcium Lactate
Thorne Basic Bone Nutrients
Vitalite Now! Calcium & Magnesium Plus
Webber Naturals Calcium Citrate Vitamin D3
Yummi Bears Calcium + D3
- Which calcium supplements failed our quality ratings and which passed -- including combinations with vitamin D, vitamin K, and magnesium
- CL's Top Picks for calcium supplements
- Cost comparisons to help you choose a calcium supplement offering the best value based on amounts of elemental calcium
- The pros and cons of different forms of calcium such as carbonate, citrate, gluconate, oyster shell, coral calcium and plant-based calcium --and which may be best for you
- How much calcium you may already be getting from foods and other sources, such as antacids taken for heartburn
- Recommendations on calcium dosage by age and gender and for specific uses, as well as how much calcium may be too much and how best to take calcium supplements
- The best way to take calcium supplements and what to look for on labels
- Potential drug interactions and side effects of calcium supplements
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