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Women and calcium suppliments - how much and what kind?

By June 21, 2008 - 11:06am
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I know calcium is vital to women's health but I'm a bit confused as to what kind of calcium suppliment I should take, since there are different kinds. There is "chelated calcium" and "elemental calcium" and others....and I have heard mentioned that if you don't take it with Vitamin D that it's not as good or as well absorbed.

I eat veggies like brocoli and take dairy like yogurts, as well as other calcium rich foods but feel I could do with a suppliment too especially as I am not much of a milk drinker.

I am in my 30s. What should I be taking with regard to a suppliment and how much?


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Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger

Anon - Natural sources of calcium can be found in dairy and non-dairy foods. Please see the following link for comprehensive lists. http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2005/document/html/appendixb.htm

We do not provide specific product recommendations. Generic calcium supplements refers to unbranded products such as the ones you can find in a drug or grocery store.

November 30, 2010 - 5:41pm
EmpowHER Guest

i have a question. could anyone please give me a name of a natural calcium supplement and the name of a generic calcium supplement?

November 30, 2010 - 12:39pm

Also, calcium can interfer with the absorption rate of medications.

Thyroid: do not take calcium with Synthroid or the generic. It can block the absorption of the thryoid.

Nexium, nexium reduces acid in the stomach. Calcium needs acid to be disolved properly. This is according to my rheumatologist.

June 21, 2008 - 8:38pm

The Mayo Clinic recommends these guidelines when choosing a calcium supplement and it appears chelated may not be the way to go ...

The key factor to consider when buying calcium supplements is the amount of elemental calcium they contain. The term "elemental calcium" refers to the amount of calcium in a supplement that's available for your body to absorb. Most calcium supplements list the amount of elemental calcium on the label. But some brands list only the total weight — in milligrams (mg) — of each tablet. This is the weight of the calcium, plus whatever it's bound to — such as carbonate, citrate, lactate or gluconate.

The simplest way to determine how much elemental calcium is in a supplement is to look at the Nutrition Facts label. For calcium, the Percent Daily Value (% DV) is based on 1,000 mg of elemental calcium, so every 10 percent in the Daily Value column represents 100 mg of elemental calcium (0.10 x 1,000 mg = 100 mg). For example, if a calcium supplement has 60 percent of the Daily Value, it contains 600 mg of elemental calcium (0.60 x 1,000 mg = 600 mg).

Note the serving size. This will tell you the number of tablets you must take to get the % DV listed on the label.
Check the label for the abbreviation "USP." The best supplements meet the voluntary standards of the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) for quality, purity and tablet disintegration or dissolution.
Be aware of generic brands. While generic calcium supplements are often cheaper than name brands, they may not meet voluntary standards for tablet disintegration. In other words, they may dissolve more slowly, which decreases their effectiveness.
Avoid calcium supplements that contain unrefined oyster shell, bone meal or dolomite. These products may also contain toxic substances, such as lead, mercury and arsenic.
Don't bother with chelated calcium tablets. They're more expensive and have no advantage over other types of calcium.

You may also want to check out these interviews tieh Dr. Robert Heaney with the Creighton University Osteoporosis Research Center. He is also an expert in the field of bone, biology, and calcium nutrition.

Expert View: Dr. Robert Heaney Explains the Vitamin D, Calcium & Osteoporosis Connection

Dr. Robert Heaney Explains Calcium Intake, Soda Drinking & Vitamin D

HEAR THIS: Dr. Robert Heaney: There's A Connection Between Weight Gain & Calcium Intake

We also have a really great article about what you can do to build stronger bones here ...

Susan Cody: Women and Calcium -- What You Can Do To Build Stronger Bones

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June 21, 2008 - 1:14pm
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