Calcium keeps your bones and teeth strong and healthy. It also helps your muscles move, your nerves carry messages, and your circulatory system do its thing.
Basically, calcium is incredibly important. But, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, nearly 30 percent of men and 60 percent of women over age 19 don’t get as much calcium from food as they need. Eek!
If you’re concerned that you’re not getting enough dietary calcium from dairy products and leafy greens, calcium supplements can help. But with so many supplement options out there, which one should you choose?
To see which supplements are bringing all the calcium to the yard, we reviewed the market’s offerings and selected the best.
How we chose
We reached out to Julie Stewart, Registered Nutritionist at Julie Stewart Nutrition, to learn about the benefits of calcium supplements and what to look out for when buying. We then used her tips to create our list of the best calcium supplements.
Choose a respected brand
Because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate calcium or other dietary supplements as strictly as drugs, it’s important to buy from a trusted brand with excellent reviews.
Look for a Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP) certification, which confirms that the manufacturing facility meets FDA requirements. Third-party testing from folks like United States Pharmacopeia (USP) or the National Science Foundation (NSF) also helps.
Vetted products only
We’ve put all the products on this list through our comprehensive assessment process. We looked for unreasonable health claims, shady dealings, FDA warning letters, and lawsuits. And we chose companies that value transparency about ingredients and provide dosage information.
Best calcium supplements
Here’s a closer look at our top supplements, including pros, cons, and what users have been saying about them.
Nature Made Calcium
Nature Made Calcium ticks all the boxes for us. With a whopping 600 mg of calcium carbonate per dose, it’s high strength but affordable. It also includes vitamin D, which helps your gut absorb the calcium, meaning more bang for your buck.
The USP logo on the label helps you shop with confidence. This independent organization tests supplements to ensure they’re potent and pure. Nature Made has been in the business for more than 50 years, so they should know their sh*t.
You can take a single tablet daily or double up if your doctor recommends an extra boost. These tablets are smaller than many other calcium supplements and have a neutral taste.
As with all calcium carbonate pills, some people may experience stomach upset and constipation when taking these.
But on the plus side, in addition to this supplement’s bone health benefits, some users say they sleep better and have more energy when using it.
Thorne Basic Bone Nutrients
Thorne’s credentials are seriously impressive. Few brands have certification from the NSF, the FDA, and Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration. All Thorne supplements go through four rounds of testing. That commitment to excellence can give you confidence if you need to buy a calcium supplement for your bone health.
This one’s called Basic Bone Nutrients because it goes beyond calcium. It has less calcium than some other supplements, but vitamin D, vitamin K, and magnesium lend a helping hand.
Thorne also keeps its supplements free of common allergens, including gluten, soy, dairy, yeast, and shellfish. Vegans should steer clear, though, because the vitamin D comes from lanolin sourced from sheep’s wool.
Take 1 to 4 capsules daily, depending on your doctor’s recommendations. They’re on the expensive side, but most users love them and report few side effects. That makes them worth the money for many consumers.
Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Stronger Bones
With a whopping 1,100 mg of calcium in every 4-capsule dose, these supplements suit people needing a serious mineral boost. These bad boys also contain magnesium, vitamin D, and vitamin K for extra bone health help. Celebrity health expert Dr. Perlmutter developed this supplement, along with all the other products in the Dr. Formulated line.
Garden of Life’s supplements are certified gluten-free, free from GMOs, kosher, and organic. And because the calcium comes from marine algae, this supp is A-OK for vegans.
Some peeps mention that the pills are quite large, so swallowing four each day can be challenging. However, if you can handle that and want to boost your calcium levels dramatically, these Garden of Life supplements are a top option.
Pure Encapsulations Calcium Citrate
Research suggests that if your stomach acid is low, you may absorb calcium citrate better than other forms of calcium. This means you can take it with heartburn medications or on an empty stomach. In addition, most users don’t experience the bloating and constipation that calcium carbonate can trigger.
Pure Encapsulations Calcium Citrate is one of the best options because it has no fillers.
These capsules are free from common irritants and allergens — including wheat, eggs, tree nuts, and peanuts — as well as artificial colors, preservatives, flavors, and sweeteners. They don’t contain any unnecessary binders, cosmetic coatings, or shellacs, either.
If you’re concerned about what goes into your body, then you’ll care about all the stuff this company leaves out.
Calcium citrate is less potent, at just 21% calcium, so you need to consume more of it than of some other forms of calcium to get the same result. A 2-capsule daily dose provides 300 mg of calcium, which is less than other brands. But if you experience side effects from taking calcium carbonate supplements, these are worth a shot.
Kirkland Signature Calcium 500 mg with D3
If swallowing pills is challenging for you, a chewable may suit you better. There aren’t many chewable calcium supplements on the market, but Kirkland has come up with the goods.
Kirkland Signature Calcium 500 mg with D3 comes in the form of gummies with delicious orange and cherry flavors. Taking 2 gummies daily is no hassle when they taste so good!
Each dose gives you 500 mg of calcium and 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 for better bone health. Plus, they’re free of preservatives, artificial flavors, yeast, and gluten and suitable for various dietary requirements. The addition of gelatin means vegetarians and vegans gotta pass on these, though.
With few reported side effects and a great fruity taste, it’s no surprise that many people swear by these Kirkland Signature gummies. Calcium pills are often on the large side, but these gummies are easy to take, and their appealing flavor makes it easier to remember to get your daily dose.
Care/of Calcium Plus
A supplement subscription is a convenient option — your calcium gets delivered regularly to your door, so you never run out. There are a few calcium subscriptions available, but we like Care/of Calcium Plus best.
Care/of gets its name because it puts customer care first. Take the quiz when you sign up and you’ll receive recommendations based on your diet, fitness routine, and health goals.
The Calcium Plus supplement provides real bang for your buck, with 480 mg of the mineral in each dose. The calcium is supported by other pro-bone-health ingredients, including magnesium and vitamins D and K2, and the formulation is free from gluten and GMOs and suitable for vegetarians.
Care/of helps you shop with confidence by providing comprehensive details about how it sources its ingredients. Each supplement also goes through multiple tests to make sure it’s effective and safe. An interactive app with rewards for taking your supplements adds to the fun.
4 tips for choosing a calcium supplement
The correct calcium supplement for you depends on your dietary needs, health history, and wellness goals. Follow these steps to find the calcium supplement that suits you best.
1. Consult your doctor
Your doctor understands your medical history and how much calcium you need to meet recommended levels. Be honest with them about your diet and your general health. An open discussion can help them determine how much calcium your supplement should contain.
A note of caution: Recent research has linked calcium supplements to increased risk of cardiovascular disease — a 15 percent increase in risk in healthy postmenopausal women who supplemented with 1,000 mg or more of calcium per day, to be exact.
While the medical community hasn’t reached a consensus on how prevalent this is, it’s worth some extra discussion with your doc and consideration when making your decision.
2. Consider your dietary needs
You’ll find calcium supplements that are gluten-free, kosher, GMO-free, vegan- friendly, and much more. In fact, there are calcium supplements to suit every dietary requirement. Check the labels carefully if you have allergies, intolerances, religious beliefs, or other preferences that limit what you eat.
4. Research available supplements
By now, you should have a pretty good idea of what you want. Make a shortlist of supplements in your preferred format that have the right amount of calcium and fit your dietary needs.
Read reviews to see what users think about these options. Pay attention to success stories and any side effects users experience.
Then, you can decide which supplement on your shortlist may work best for you.
The bottom line
Calcium is well known for its role in bone and tooth health, but your muscles, nerves, and blood vessels also rely on this vital mineral.
Check with your doctor to see if adding a calcium supplement to your daily routine could support your overall health and well-being. They may have suggestions, or you can use our roundup as a starting point to find a calcium supplement that works for you.
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