We have talked about the best fish oil supplement and how identify high quality Vitamins in previous posts, but what about calcium and calcium supplements ? Are they all the same ? If not then what is the best calcium supplement ? Let’s take a closer look.
Types of calcium supplements
Calcium in supplements exist in it’s compound form and several different kinds of calcium compounds are used to make the supplements. Each compound contains varying amounts of the mineral calcium — referred to as elemental calcium. Common calcium supplements may be labeled as:
- Calcium carbonate (40 percent elemental calcium)
- Calcium citrate (21 percent elemental calcium)
- Calcium gluconate (9 percent elemental calcium)
- Calcium lactate (13 percent elemental calcium)
The two main forms of calcium supplements are carbonate and citrate. Calcium carbonate is the cheapest and
most commonly used in supplements. But did you know that calcium carbonate is also crushed rock ? Yes, rock, as in limestone and marble.
No wonder researchers suspect that the increase of calcium in the blood that occurs after supplementation may facilitate the calcification of arteries. However, it was found that calcium obtained from food is absorbed at slower rates and in smaller quantities than from supplements (Trusted Source).
Studies on the relationship between calcium and cardiovascular disease (CVD) also suggest that dietary intake of calcium protects against heart disease, but supplemental calcium may increase the risk. There are more studies also showing that daily supplementation of calcium at 1,000 mg is associated with increased prostate cancer risk and an increase in kidney stones. (Trusted Source).
All of these studies are performed using standard Calcium Carbonate type supplements, which are the commom Calcium supplements sold in the market and widely used.
A Consumer Lab analysis also found that many of the calcium supplements they analyzed failed quality testing for reasons including lead contamination and mislabeled contents. (Trusted Source)
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. (Trusted Source)
Again, this applies to calcium supplementation and not valid for calcium intake through food consumption.
Calcium from food vs Calcium Supplements
Adequate calcium is necessary for good health, and not just because it’s a major component of our bones. It also plays a vital role in keeping our organs and skeletal muscles working properly. The body gets the calcium it needs for basic functions by releasing the calcium stored in our bones into the blood through bone remodeling—the process by which bone is constantly broken down and rebuilt.
There are many foods that are rich in calcium and it is preferable to consume your daily amount of calcium from foods such:
- Green leafy vegetables – such as broccoli, cabbage and okra,
- Dairy products
- Fish with edable bones such as sardines
- Bread and anything made from fortified flower
If your dietary intake of cacium isn’t sufficient enough and calcium supplement may pose significamt risks, then what do you do ? Again, like several other posts on this website, the solution here is to choose a whole-food option, where the calcium source is real food, not crushed limestone or marble, that could block your arteries or give you a kidney stone.
Best Calcium Supplement
As mentioned earlier, on most calcium supplements are in the form calcium carbonate (limestone) but are there any healthier options ? Yes, there are, and again you need to look out for calcium supplements from a whole-food source. These are normally plant based whole-food sources which extract nutrients from plants such as algae, which is high in calcium. Below are several good brands to choose from. One of them being
These supplements do not provide risk to your health like normal calcium carbonate supplements do, as they are made from whole-food nutrients, extracted from real food.
So if we learnt aything from this article it is the risk of supplements that most assume are safe to take and are the majority of the supplements that we find on the market. It took me years to appreciate this and I hope the reader takes some value from this and that some light was shed not only on the risks of most calcium supplements, but on the safe options too.
For more information on other Vitamins from one of the highest quality brands for whole-food vitamins.