Are some forms of calcium better than others?

  1. Calcium is essential in the prevention of bone loss. This is particularly important for women who are approaching menopause as they're susceptible to osteoporosis. I'm not sure what age women should begin incorporating more calcium into their diet but I do know that they need more after menopause. I've heard varying recommendations of 1200-1500 mg. of calcium. Most of us are aware that there are special bone support formulas for people who already have osteoporosis.

    We hear a lot about calcium and there are many arguments going back and forth about which form is best. We've heard a lot about coral calcium in the news, thanks to Robert Barefoot. However, I never really thought coral calcium was any better than some of the other forms.

    I do think that some of them are better than others. There's calcium carbonate, calcium citrate, calcium ascorbate, calcium lactate, calcium from bonemeal, calcium hydroxyapatite (which is a variation on bonemeal), calcium citrate/malate, calcium from oyster shell and others that I've neglected to mention. Many calcium supplements also contain magnesium but I hear more about the importance of Vitamin D. Is magnesium really essential in a supplement if we are already getting enough in our diet? I'd really be interested in hearing more about the magnesium angle. Calcium also comes in liquid form.

    A few years ago, before I started spending too much time in the discussion forums, I spent all my time looking up information about health and nutrition, vitamins, minerals and supplements. I also spent a lot of time looking at supplements in the health food stores. Not everyone can afford to spend a lot of money on supplements so it's a good idea to try to get what we need from our diet.

    I think it's a good idea to combine dietary calcium with a calcium supplement. You can spend a fortune on supplements. I'm not currently taking a supplement but I should be. A couple years ago, I took Solgar Calcium Citrate with Vitamin D. Each tablet contains 250 mg. of calcium which required taking four tablets per day for a total of 1,000 mg. Some people complain that calcium supplements cause stomach upset so it is often recommended that calcium be taken in smaller amounts (spread out through the day). It's more expensive this way but I think it works better for me this way. I just got out of the habit of taking them.

    I like milk and cheese and other dairy products but I still don't think I'm getting enough in my food alone. There are other food sources. I like salmon and broccoli and most other green vegetables. Here's one link that lists other food sources:

    Calcium, Vitamin D and Your Health

    Here's a website that seems to think that "EZorb Calcium" is the best thing on the planet:

    This is the website for "Bone Assure" :

    So, who are we to believe with all the claims out there to confuse us? I'd also like to hear from people who feel that they have benefited from taking calcium supplements and which one they seem to think works best.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Oh, I don't know about Calcium my good friend. I do take a liking to Calcium Carbonate though...can't believe i said oxide..
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2005
  4. honestrosewater

    honestrosewater 2,093
    Gold Member

  5. Moonbear

    Moonbear 11,955
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Some forms of calcium are better absorbed than others, but the source of those forms doesn't matter. Calcium is better absorbed in the normal acidic environment of the stomach, which is why the antacids that raise the pH of the stomach aren't a good source of calcium despite their claims.

    Also, it's more important to build up strong bones while young than to try to correct osteoporosis post-menopause. I think it's around 35 that women start to absorb calcium into their bones much more slowly (don't take my word for's a vague recollection and I don't have a source for it).

    As for magnesium, that's important if you're taking a lot of calcium because you need to keep the calcium to magnesium ratio balanced. Vitamin D helps your body absorb the calcium.
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