Taking Charge of Your Health

discussion on calcium supplements I’m Dr. Tod Cooperman and we’re here on Facebook live and this is a great time for us to be talking about calcium supplements as ConsumerLab have just published a major report where we went out and purchased 27 different calcium supplements tested them rigorously and have published our results online now at and I’m going to be talking about those results and also really and more broadly whether you even need to take a calcium supplement who it benefits who it doesn’t what to avoid really kind of soup to nuts on calcium we’ll try to get it done pretty quickly since we’re here live you’re more than welcome to send in questions or comments on on Facebook and we’ll try to address questions that come in for those of you who are not familiar with ConsumerLab I’m the founder of ConsumerLab I’m an MD we have a research group that buys and tests products all the time every three weeks we put out another report on on supplements whether it’s melatonin or calcium or CoQ10 or herbal supplements even chocolates and olive oils we are kind of the go-to group out there and have been for now 18 years for people who really are serious about finding the best quality supplements we don’t sell supplements we don’t make any monies from anyone who sells supplements in terms of getting a commission or anything we’re really just providing information to what funds us our subscriptions to ConsumerLab I’m happy to say we have well over seventy five thousand paying subscribers as well as many libraries subscribe and universities subscribe and that’s what keeps us going and we’ve been doing this for a long time now so again we’re going to talk about calcium supplements today kind of starting from why you might need them what type to take the form the quality and again I’ll be happy to take questions that come in for while we’re going through this so just to kind of start first of all what is calcium what does it do for you obviously it’s a very important mineral it’s interesting you know the minerals that you take especially calcium can be very bulky because you have to basically create your your entire skeleton from from calcium and you need to maintain that which is why some of the calcium supplements can be quite large calcium is important not only for your bones it’s important for your nervous system it’s important for your cardiovascular system it has many other roles that it plays so do you really need to take a calcium supplement though is is really the big question here tonight and I’m going to tell you you may not need to take calcium supplement really depends on who you are first of all the amount of calcium that you need depends on on your age your gender basically most people need about a thousand milligrams a day as you get older you need 1200 milligrams a day younger people ages up to 19 basically four to 19 you need 1300 milligrams per day and if you’re over 70 you also need 1300 milligrams per day so that’s how much you need now how much do people actually get from what they eat many people get plenty of calcium from what they eat if they’re eating dairy foods if you’re not eating dairy foods you’re probably not getting enough calcium you can get it from some other foods you can get it from soy beans and other beans it’s actually in spinach but unfortunately that’s calcium oxalate and you don’t absorb it very well so that’s not going to do very much good so for those people who don’t get enough calcium or those people who are more likely not to get enough calcium which would be younger women basically girls ages for ages 9 to 18 actually are the most likely not to get enough calcium diet and could benefit from a calcium supplement and that’s the benefits have been shown in terms of bone density as well as the strength of bones in young women because they’re still building their skeletons and they really need that calcium as we get older we don’t really need as much and it’s really not from a from a supplement because we’re getting it from our diets but the people who do seem to benefit most from a supplement in terms of adults are women who are postmenopausal Fazal particularly those who have had a hysterectomy and are on hormone therapy these people are these women are much more likely to suffer from osteoporosis and they can they will benefit from from calcium supplementation they’re also in women some other general benefits have been shown in terms of even a slightly lower risk of death over a period of certain studies for women who took calcium supplements however the caution here is that you can’t take too much calcium you don’t want to get more than 1000 milligrams of calcium per day from a supplement you don’t want to take more than 500 milligrams of calcium in a dose from a supplement you can’t absorb more than 500 milligrams of calcium at a time anyhow so basically young women postmenopausal women are the one other people who are most likely to benefit from a calcium supplement the next thing I really want to talk about is how do you choose a calcium supplement so as I mentioned here at ConsumerLab we recently tested 27 different calcium supplements all types and sizes liquids gummies tablets chews and for all different types of people children adults as well so what did we find well unfortunately we did find a few problems first of all once calcium supplement made from it was an algae-based calcium that was used was contaminated with a small amount of lead now lead can occur with calcium they both come out of the ground but we have found problems actually repeatedly over time with algae based calcium it seems to be getting better we actually didn’t find as much lead as we found in the past and in this type of supplement but that that was one product that was certainly not approved by us another problem that we found is the tablets of one product would not break apart properly when we test these supplements we put them through many different types of analysis one is that we put them in basically a disintegrator where we’re putting it into warm water it’s being annotated for 30 minutes and by that time tablets are supposed to break apart nothing should be left at that point however this product continue to remain hard and present and it took us 49 minutes to actually get that product to finally break apart which means that you may not be getting the full benefit of it it’s not breaking apart quickly enough you may not be absorbing it well enough so that’s an important test that we do as well obviously we’re also testing these products to see if they actually contain the calcium and other ingredients that they claim to contain for example for example we looked at the amount of vitamin D in these supplements the amount of magnesium these supplements as well so among the products that did pass our tests so which ones were the best well first of all I should say that we did find many good calcium supplements in fact the cost was as low as two to four cents for a good dose you know about 500 milligrams of calcium and I’ll show you some of these pills that have passed our tests again if you want to see the full report and the identities of these products please subscribe to consumer lab online you’ll get access to all of our reports over on over a thousand supplements and that’s being updated every day with new information and we are also as I mentioned earlier putting out new reports on a whole different categories of supplements every three weeks so getting some products that actually pass our test there are two main types of calcium found in supplements one is calcium citrate and the other one is calcium carbonate it’s the same calcium carbonate that’s in oyster shells and coral you know there was a big excitement over coral calcium many years ago because it contains very small amounts of other minerals as well so that’s calcium carbonate the downside of calcium carbonate is that it can upset your stomach a bit so it must be taken with food the other most really popular type of calcium is calcium citrate calcium citrate is easier on your stomach it may be absorbed slightly better it is a really a more popular type of calcium at this point the downside with calcium citrate is that it’s actually much larger than calcium carbonate you need to take more of it to get the same amount of calcium and I’ll show you an example this is one of the calcium supplements that has passed our tests recently I’m going to show you this is when it’s made from calcium citrate it has 250 milligrams of calcium this one is made from calcium carbonate it has five or 600 milligrams of calcium so more than twice the amount of calcium in the calcium citrate so if you’re going to take calcium citrate and you want 500 milligrams per day you’re going to have to take usually two of these pills per day as opposed to one with calcium carbonate the time that you take these pills is important also because calcium competes for absorption with other minerals so if you’re taking magnesium for example you don’t want to be taking it at the same time that you take your calcium it’s kind of ironic because they’re men products out there that are calcium magnesium supplements for some reason there is interest of some of the belief that taking magnesium is critical when you take calcium it’s not true and if you have questions actually like like this one you know should you take calcium with magnesium must you also go to ConsumerLab calm because we have answered hundreds of questions about supplements like like that one so you don’t need to take calcium supplement that contains magnesium but you should take a calcium supplement preferably that has vitamin D and the reason is you need vitamin D to absorb and use calcium now if you already get enough vitamin D you think you’re getting enough sunshine or you’re taking a vitamin D supplement you certainly don’t need more from from your calcium supplement but if you don’t it’s best to take a calcium supplement that contains some vitamin D at least 400 IU 800 IU is fine there’s a lot of misinformation about vitamin D out there that you need thousands and thousands of IU’s of vitamin D it’s not true unless you’re really deficient in vitamin D you need to kind of get back up and maintain that level otherwise most of the supplements out there do have 400 800 IU of vitamin D and that’s that will help you absorb the calcium if you have trouble with a tablet there are certainly other other products out there for example we tested liquid supplements um which are great for people who have trouble Slone large pills we tested gummy products both for children and for adults also a fine alternative if that’s what you need to do to take your supplement or get your kids to take a supplement we tested choose as well that are on the market shoes are fine as well these are all okay just don’t consider them candy because you can get too much calcium and again as I said earlier if you exceed a thousand milligrams des you’re doing yourself a disservice you’re increasing your risk of heart attacks stroke possibly kidney stones as well the other thing to keep in mind with with calcium is when you when you’re taking it be aware that it can interact with certain medications it can reduce the absorption of thyroid medication if you take thyroid medication it can interfere with anti certain antibiotics and calcium as I mentioned earlier can also block absorption or compete for absorption with other minerals such as magnesium I’m just going to see if there any other questions that have come up so I think I hope I’ve answered a lot of questions that you may have about calcium again it all the information from really what you need who needs it who doesn’t need it side effects how to take it and most importantly which products are really good quality calcium supplements are all found in the consumer lab report on calcium supplements on the website at, so this is Dr. Tod Cooperman from ConsumerLab on Facebook live and thank you very much for joining me

36 thoughts on “How to Choose the Best Calcium Supplement and Avoid Problems

  1. I'm a big fan of the work that Consumer Labs does. What works, what doesn't, which supplements are best, what form, and best brands. It saves me a lot of mistakes, worth every penny to subscribe. Not affiliated in any way – just a great service.

  2. Thanks for this important information on calcium. A question for Dr. Cooperman: do you consider calcium-fortified foods (e.g. orange juice, non-dairy milk) to be calcium supplements? If so, then should their consumption be limited to 1000 mg. also? I'm lactose intolerant and really need to know -:)

  3. You state that magnesium should not be taken with calcium. Yet everyone says it's best to get their calcium from food. Isn't magnesium naturally present along with calcium in food?

  4. I am 78 yrs. born and raised in England., little sun. Live in Utah. Have osteoporosis. Slid on carpeted stairs July 2016. Broke shattered femur, left wrist. Still nor healed . Now using a walker. My recent C-Reactive Protein test result 48.27. Off the charts. My bones hurt a lot. Daily therapy. Walk a lot with walker. I don't take calcium because of risks of stroke. Mother died of. Eat organic greens, some cheese, drink cashew milk! Organic protein. Don't eat soybeans because old hypothyroid. Trying a fibromyalgia diet. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you for a great website. JAne

  5. I'd like Dr. Cooperman to address this downside of calcium citrate (actually any citrate): it greatly increases the absorption of dietary aluminum.

  6. Our stomachs don't contain water, so I don't understand why you test disintegration in a water solution?

  7. In my opinion, one of the most reliable, honest review sites online. I have carefully followed their research and testing results for years and trust their testing

  8. I have some questions for Dr.Cooperman. Between Calcium Citrate and Calcium Carbonate, which of these two has a better absorption for a teenager like me and does it make you taller, I'm 15 turning 16 and which of these two better absorb with MK7? Do i need to drink MK7 supplement while taking Calcium supplement? How many tablet of Calcium should i take for a day? Should i drink milk or eat yogurt and are there any other type of food i shouln't eat while taking Calcium supplement?

  9. Hello, Sorry this is late but I hope you can answer my question. I am at risk for Osteoporosis. What about taking lactase tablets to better absorb calcium from dairy?

  10. Hello, Sorry this is late but I hope you can answer my question. I am at risk for Osteoporosis. What about taking lactase tablets to better absorb calcium from dairy?

  11. dairy is bad for our health on so many levels …natural hormones,added hormones,antibiotics , pasteurization, they feed the cows GMO soy and corn … one of the worst advise is dairy for calcium.. sesame seeds have allot of calcium ….and calcium carbonate is not good for us here is why :

  12. Probably the problem is that Americans consume too much acid producing foods like meat, sodas, alcohol, grains, that rob the body of calcium. Maybe, eat less meat or no meat, no sodas, no alcohol, fermented grains, more fresh fruits and vegetables. And maybe small amounts of calcium supplements with lemon juice to help absorption.


  14. I'm about to be 50 this August and I don't take calcium but I do take vitamin D3 2000 IU's a day. I am postmenopausal and have osteopenia. I would like to know what kind of calcium I should take . I will appreciate your answer.

  15. Thank you. This is a great tutorial. I personally heard from a friend about a calcium supplement and after reading about it I decided to give it a try, and it certainly helped. It is called amorphous calcium, and its uniqueness is that it is amorphous rather than crystalline, which allows it to be better absorbed into the body.

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