The Best Calcium Supplements For Bones and Osteoporosis

Most Americans simply don’t get enough calcium in their daily diets. This can lead to a whole host of issues such as broken bones, low bone density and even bone loss. As a result, many people now suffer from diseases like osteoporosis.

One way to combat this is by using a calcium supplement. But which are the best calcium supplements for bones and osteoporosis? Read on to find out.

What Is Calcium?

Calcium is an important nutrient for everyone. Our bodies need calcium in order to function properly. From helping to clot our blood to assisting with the proper function of our nerves and muscles, calcium’s role is diverse (Source).

Calcium, as most people know, is most important to ensure proper bone health. A deficiency in this mineral can impact the strength of your bones dramatically and contribute to the development of osteoporosis.

One way to prevent this is to ensure you get enough calcium in your diet. This can be through the food you eat everyday or by supplementation. The important thing is to make sure you take in enough to stay strong and healthy.

What is Osteoporosis?

The International Foundation for Osteoporosis defines osteoporosis as ‘a disease in which the density and quality of bone are reduced’ (source).

Our bones are constantly remodelling themselves. They are living cells, after all. When some of our old bone cells start to dissolve, new bone grows.

Our new bone is made from minerals present in our bloodstream, including calcium. Hormones such as estrogen and growth hormone ensure that our bodies make more new bone than the bone that is dissolved.

As we age, our bone mass deteriorates more quickly than when we were younger. This is the case for everyone. However, women are more at risk due to the hormonal changes during menopause.

1 in 3 women are affected by osteoporosis compared with 1 in 5 men.

When you suffer from osteoporosis, this means your bone is dissolving more quickly new bone can form. This leaves you with a lower bone density. People with osteoporosis tend to suffer from fractures most especially in the hips and wrists.

There are two types of osteoporosis. The first - primary osteoporosis - develops as we age and our bones naturally lose density. Secondary osteoporosis can affect children and adults and is usually a side effect of other diseases like cancer, hormone imbalances or certain medications.

Can Osteoporosis Be Treated?

In most cases osteoporosis is a preventable and manageable disease with the right lifestyle changes and medical treatments. One of these treatments is to take calcium supplements.

The European Society for Clinical and Economic Aspects of Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases (ESCEO) recently published research which suggested that calcium supplements combined with vitamin D are useful to treat osteoporosis (source).

Vitamin D and Calcium

Vitamin D is calcium’s best friend. Calcium needs vitamin D in order to be absorbed into the body. Therefore it also has a strong part to play in the health of your bones.

Often people tend to be more deficient in vitamin D than calcium. However, as we need one in order to absorb the other, this still leads to low bone density.

Our main source of vitamin D is the sun. Those who live in areas of the world without continuous sunbathing weather tend to lack all of the vitamin D they need. Therefore, supplementation is a good way to boost your vitamin D dose.

Who Can Benefit From a Calcium Supplement?

Most people in the US aren’t getting their recommended daily amount of calcium and could benefit from a supplement.

In addition, those who are at higher risk of osteoporosis and those already suffering from the disease can most definitely benefit from a daily supplement.

How to Choose the Best Supplement

As previously mentioned, recent research suggests that calcium supplements used for the treatment of bones and osteoporosis are most effective when combined with vitamin D. Therefore, finding a calcium supplement with added vitamin D is a good idea.

Choosing a brand name supplement with a good reputation will give you more confidence in the product. Looking for a product that is made in the US as well as manufactured in a certified GMP facility will also ensure a quality product. Even better is a supplement that is tested for purity. All of these factors are super important when purchasing any supplement.

Make sure you read the label of anything you intend to purchase. The RDV should not be more than 100% for any ingredients. Often it is not even necessary to get 100% of the RDV in a supplement as we all gain some nutrition from our meals. However, this is even more the case with calcium as it tends to be absorbed better in smaller doses throughout the day.

I have taken a look at some of the best calcium supplements for bones and osteoporosis available and managed to narrow it down to five that I feel are a good option for anyone in need of extra calcium in their daily diet.

I have given enough information to make an informative decision on a product as well as listed some pros and cons for each. You can also find out which was my overall favorite at the end.

Quality

Price

Our rating

This calcium supplement is a really great product. It is very popular and gets great feedback from users.

Firstly, it contains calcium citrate. This form can be taken without food and is much lighter on your stomach than calcium carbonate. There are no allergens or gelatin in this product either.

They are doctor and pharmacist recommended and clinically proven to reduce bone loss. You get a 3 month supply at a really reasonable price.

The best part is they are much smaller than most of the calcium tablets out there.

The only thing that lets the down is that they have only 40% of the RDV of calcium. This isn’t particularly a bad thing as we do get calcium from other sources however, they have more that 125% of the RDV of vitamin D.

Pros


  • Calcium citrate
  • Added vitamin D
  • Reasonable price
  • 3 month supply
  • No gelatin or allergens

Cons


  • High amount of vitamin D

Quality

Price

Our rating

I really like this supplement because it comes in gummy form. For someone who doesn’t like to swallow pills (and let’s face it, most calcium pills look as if they are meant for horses) gummies are a dream come true.

Also these come at a great price and offer a 60 day supply which is a big selling point. They also include phosphorus - another mineral which is useful in new bone production.

Of course, being a gummy they do have some sugar as all gummies do. But if you simply can’t handle large pills, this is probably a small price to pay. Everything in moderation.

Pros


  • Gummy form
  • 500 mg calcium
  • Added vitamin D and phosphorus
  • 60 day supply
  • Good price

Cons


  • High value of vitamin D3
  • Higher sugar content

Quality

Price

Our rating

This calcium supplement comes in a softgel form with added vitamin D3. One supply will last around 4 months, and it’s pretty good value too.

There were a couple of things that despite it’s great feedback from users, made me feel that it wouldn’t be my choice personally.

First of all, it contains allergens (soy) as well as gelatin. This rules out vegans, vegetarians and many with food sensitivities. With so many dietary restrictions these days, I feel that supplements should keep their ingredient lists simple and pure. This means allergen-free.

Also, this product contains 250% of the RDV for vitamin D3 as well as 125% RDV of calcium carbonate. Firstly, no one needs that amount unless severely deficient. Secondly, as calcium carbonate is hard to stomach for some people at the best of times, excessive amounts will only exacerbate this issue.​

Pros


  • Good price
  • Large supply
  • Calcium with added vitamin D3

Cons


  • High amount of calcium carbonate and vitamin D3
  • Contains gelatin
  • Contains soy
  • Large pills

Quality

Price

Our rating

Nature Made Calcium 600 Mg, witThis is another calcium supplement which includes your daily recommended value of vitamin D3. It contains no preservatives and is gluten free. In addition, this product specifically states on the label that it may ‘help reduce the risk of osteoporosis’.

Again, this supplement offers calcium as calcium carbonate. A big downside is that the are absolutely giant pills. If you have trouble swallowing, this supplement is probably not for you. Vitamin D3

Pros


  • 600 mg calcium
  • Vitamin D3
  • Reduces risk of osteoporosis

Cons


  • Very large pills
  • Calcium carbonate is hard on the stomach

Quality

Price

Our rating

This our first calcium supplement coming in tablet form. It offers 500mg of calcium as well as your full RDV of vitamin D3.

This product comes from a popular and well known brand. Also, the price point is incredibly reasonable.

This supplement contains calcium in the form of calcium carbonate. Although totally acceptable, this type of calcium should always be taken with food as it is very harsh on your stomach. Even with a meal many people simply can not use calcium carbonate as it upsets their stomach so severely. This is something to keep in mind.

One major downside to this product is it tends to have a very short shelf life. Even if you intend to take a supplement daily I recommend looking for an expiry date which lasts longer than 60 days.

Pros


  • 500 mg calcium
  • Also includes vitamin D3

Cons


  • Calcium carbonate is hard on the stomach
  • Short shelf life.

Our Choice

Although I love the gummy product (it is a very close second) the best for me is the supplement from Citracal. Calcium citrate is much easier on your stomach. The fact that it’s free from allergens and friendly to vegans and vegetarians means it is safe for most people to take Plus, the small size is an added bonus.

Sources:
https://www.nof.org/patients/treatment/calciumvitamin-d/
https://www.iofbonehealth.org/https://www.iofbonehealth.org/what-is-osteoporosis
http://www.esceo.org/https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27761590

Helen Sanders
 

Chief editor here at Health Ambition, I'm a proud mother of two passionate about nutrition and ways to live healthier with more energy!

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