Calcium is an essential mineral that the body needs for numerous vital functions. Ninety-nine percent of the calcium in the body is stored in the bones and teeth, providing support for both structure and function. The remaining 1% is required for blood clotting, nerve transmission, regulation of the heart’s rhythm and other critical metabolic functions. Since the body cannot produce calcium, it must be absorbed from food and supplements.

Calcium Deficiency

The recommended intake of calcium varies by individual. The Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies recommends the following calcium intakes:

  • 1,000 milligrams/day for those age 19 to 50
  • 1,200 milligrams/day for women age 50 or over
  • 1,200 milligrams/day for those age 70 or over
  • 1,000 milligrams/day for pregnant or lactating adult women

Calcium & Food

Adequate calcium can be acquired from a healthy diet. Calcium enriched food include:

Almonds, Beans, Figs, Kelp, Collards, Broccoli, Kale, Salmon and Scallops

Although milk is good source of calcium, milk proteins increase the acidity of the body, which actually leaches calcium from bones.
Dairy products including yogurt and hard cheese such as cheddar, Swiss, and Parmesan are acceptable sources of calcium, but should be eaten in small amounts compared to other sources.

Types of Calcium Supplements

There are several different types of calcium supplements on the market. They contain different calcium compounds and it is important to know how they are different. Below are the three most popular calcium supplement types:

1. Calcium Carbonate

Calcium carbonate is the most common calcium compound in calcium supplements on the market today. Its popularity is due to it being the cheapest form. Calcium carbonate is simply chalk; it has poor bioavailability and cannot be digested without acid. It must be taken with food to be absorbed by your body and it is not recommended for people who have gastrointestinal issues.

2. Coral Calcium

Coral calcium is calcium carbonate with trace minerals that are derived from coral reef. Coral calcium is NOT recommended as it has a high risk of heavy metal (lead and mercury) contamination from the sea. Also, it is not an environmentally friendly option since the coral from which it is sourced takes millennia to grow.

3. Calcium Citrate

Calcium citrate and/or malate are the most absorbable and tolerated form. Clinical studies found that calcium citrate shows a 27.2% increase in absorption on an empty stomach and a 21.6% increase with meals, when compared to calcium carbonate. In addition, Calcium citrate is the one calcium compound that does not require acid in order to be broken down.



Ingredient similar to Calcium:

Vitamin D

Potential side effects: Calcium supplements are prone to cause constipation in some individuals.

*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always consult your qualified healthcare provider before beginning any diet or program.

Learn more about Calcium from the FDA here »


About the Medical Director
Dr. Bill Rawls
Dr. Bill Rawls has practiced conventional medicine as a gynecologist for
over 20 years and is also the co-founder and medical director of Vital Plan, a wellness and herbal supplement company.

Statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Always consult a qualified healthcare provider before making changes to your healthcare regimen.