What is the Best Calcium Supplement to Take?
Calcium is a fundamental mineral for good health. A calcium deficiency in it can affect your body in some surprising ways. One method to ensure you get enough of this bone-building mineral is to use a supplement, but what are the best calcium supplements? Let’s take a look.
Who Needs Calcium Supplements?
The mineral calcium plays many vital roles within your body. Most people know that calcium helps to build strong bones and teeth, but its functions within your body are far more expansive than this.
Calcium helps power both the contractions and relaxation of all the muscles throughout your body. This includes both the obvious ones like arm and leg muscles, and also the muscles of the gastrointestinal tract for healthy digestion.
This positive effect on the digestive system is believed to be why a high intake of calcium is associated with a lower risk of colon cancer (source). Other reported digestive benefits include a reduction in the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and treatment of diarrhea.
This is one very important mineral to get enough of in your diet. However government reports say many Americans aren’t getting enough calcium in the food they eat.
What Is Calcium Deficiency?
Long term, this leads to crippling diseases like osteoporosis, brittle bones and arthritis due to calcification of the joints. More immediately, the parathyroid hormone involved in stimulating the leaching of calcium from your bones promotes fat cell storage. This is now believed to be a factor in obesity.
Low calcium isn’t just a long term or old age issue. It could very well be increasing body fat levels for many people with low calcium intake. Calcium deficiency can also leads to poor quality hair, nails, skin and teeth.
If you drink acidic soda, your body’s requirements for calcium will be much higher due to the need to buffer the phosphoric acid with calcium phosphate from the body. You can find out more on the many health dangers of soda here.
Sources Of Calcium
Most of us have been led to believe all you need to do to get enough calcium in your diet is drink milk. Unfortunately, large scale studies have shown no decrease in hip fractures with increased milk consumption and question its benefits for strengthening bones (source).
There are also potential health issues associated with milk, such as mucus formation, lactose intolerance, bovine growth hormone and antibiotics given to cattle. If you do choose to drink milk then going organic is a worth considering. Fresh from the farmer where possible is even better.
Seeds and nuts are usually a healthier source of calcium and are high in many other minerals and vitamins.
Sesame seeds are one of the best with a full gram of calcium per hundred grams serve. I like this sesame seed butter or tahini. It’s like a more nutritious version of peanut butter which is extremely high in calcium and other minerals.
Chia seeds are another high calcium food and also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and digestive fiber, while almonds are amongst the best of the nuts and very healthy for many other reasons. Both make great additions to your diet for more calcium.
Broccoli is packed with calcium too, along with most forms of beans and pulses. Citrus fruits like oranges can also provide some calcium, though it’s best to squeeze them fresh rather than drinking commercial orange juice. Processing makes these full of sugar and decidedly unhealthy.
Broccoli can also be made into a delicious and healthy sweet potato and broccoli soup!
If your diet isn’t normally high in these kind of natural foods, it could be worth considering a good calcium supplement.
How To Choose A Calcium Supplement
Cheap calcium supplements and multivitamins often contain calcium carbonate derived from crushed up oyster shells.
Recent studies have concluded that this low-quality inorganic calcium is not effective at preventing bone loss and may possibly increase calcification with the body in large doses.
Research has shown that calcium orotate is highly bio-available and the best type of calcium to supplement with (source). Calcium bonded with orotates was demonstrated to penetrate cellular membranes and delivery calcium directly to the cells that need it, rather than having it circulating within the bloodstream and potentially causing calcification.
The Best Calcium Supplements
I’ve looked at the calcium supplements currently on the market and chosen my five top products to share with you today. I’ve listed pros and cons for each product, to help you make an informed decision when buying a calcium supplement. At the end you’ll find my overall favorite.
For me it has to be the Bulksupplements product. Not only have we already established that calcium orotate is the best calcium compound, but the fact it’s made in the USA and tested for purity gives confidence in the quality of the supplement. Plus, the price is excellent for such a large supply.