Calcium is the nutrient people think about when it comes to bone strength. Every day I’m asked, “How much calcium should I take, and when? What’s the best form? Can I take too much?”
Perhaps you have one of these questions yourself, so here’s a brief “Calcium 101”:
#1. How much calcium should I take?
The current recommended calcium intake for adult women is 1200 mg a day between diet and supplements.You may need more calcium if you don’t absorb it as well as most people. Nocturnal leg cramps, for instance, may indicate a higher need for calcium.
#2. When should I take my calcium supplement?
It’s best to take calcium supplements with food so they absorb better — ideally, spread them out over two meals for best absorption. Blood calcium can dip at night, so it helps to take some of your supplemental calcium with dinner.
#3. What is the best form of calcium?
I suggest a mix of different calcium salts, including calcium carbonate, calcium citrate, calcium ascorbate, calcium glycinate and calcium malate. All of these forms of calcium are well absorbed and highly alkalizing, which is a top priority here at the Center For Better Bones.
#4. Why is the calcium in Better Bones Basics and Better Bones Builder so good for bone?
In my products, I use a mix of alkalizing calcium forms, including calcium carbonate, calcium citrate, calcium ascorbate. These forms are concentrated – so that you can get the optimal dose with the fewest pills possible. Calcium carbonate is the same form of calcium as found in marine algae calcium pills and it is highly absorbable if taken with food
But what makes the calcium even more highly effective in Better Bones Basics and Better Bones Builder is that it paired with other nutrients it needs to do its job — magnesium, vitamin K2, and vitamin D. For example, calcium absorption depends on vitamin D. A person with inadequate vitamin D absorbs 65% less calcium than someone who has adequate vitamin D (or 32ng/ml).
#5. Can you take too much calcium?
Yes. Although we need calcium in relatively large quantities, you can take too much. For those looking to maximize bone health generally, supplement with calcium in the range of 600 and 700 mg/day. I don’t recommend using over 1000 mg supplemental calcium, as doctors tended to prescribe in the past.
NIH. Office of Dietary Supplements. Calcium, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-HealthProfessional/. Nov. 17, 2016.
Heaney, RP et al. Absorption of calcium as the carbonate and citrate salts, with some observations on method. Osteoporosis International, 1999;9(1):19-23.