Best Sources of Calcium From Diet and Supplements
Diet is the most efficient way of increasing your calcium intake. However supplements do have a place for those at risk of osteoporois, particularly post menopausal women.
Knowing how much Calcium you are consuming from diet and a supplement can be difficult. Women should have at least 1000 mg a day after menopause and anyone with osteoporois should have up to 2000 mg a day from diet and supplement.
Diet is the first preference for adequate calcium intake.
Everybody needs 2 to 3 serves of calcium rich foods each day. The best sources are from dairy and calcium enriched soy products.
Food Samples Providing an Average of 300 mg Calcium
- 200 ml skim milk or Light Start
- 100g sardines or 130g salmon with bones
- 200g low fat yogurt (plain or flavoured)
- 2 cups mixed cooked beans
- 215 ml hilo milk
- 6 oranges or 12 figs
- 250 ml whole milk or fortified soy milk
- 1 kg broccoli or 3 cups spinach
- 30g low fat cheese
- 10 slices wholemeal bread
- 40g cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup tofu or tempeh
- 230g (over 4 large scoops) ice cream
- 20 squares of chocolate
- 3 tabsp milo
Calcium tablets are sold as different compounds but are measured as grams of elemental calcium. Not all are absorbed at the same rate. Calcium citrate is absorbed two and a half times better than calcium carbonate but usually comes in smaller doses of elemental calcium. Calcium Carbonate eg Caltrate has 600 mg of elemental calcium.
Labels are confusing.
One label says it has 115 mg Calcium hydroxyapatite and 1076 mg Calcium Citrate. The total of 1191 mg of calcium compounds only yields 250 mg of elemental calcium. This may not be good value if you have a high calcium requirement.
Some contain added nutrients that may or may not be of benefit. Vitamin D is usually only necessary for the elderly who may not get at least 20 minutes of sunlight each day. Many other nutrients are easily obtained from diet.
Improve Calcium Absorption and Retention
- Take calcium tablets on an empty stomach.
- Take iron or multivitamin supplements at a different time.
- Omit or reduce caffeine from coffee, cola and chocolate.
- Use decaffeinated coffee or tea and limit alcohol.
- Reduce salty foods.
EXAMPLES OF SUPPLEMENTS AVAILABLE
|SUPPLEMENT||INGREDIENTS||ELEMENTAL CALCIUM (mg)||EXTRA NUTRIENTS||COST/TABLET|
|Caltrate Plus||Calcium Carbonate||600||Vitamin D||$0.26|
|Sandocal 1000||Calcium Lactate, Gluconate, Carbonate||1000||$0.93|
|Herron Calcium Plus||Calcium Carbonate||600||Magnesium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E||$0.13|
|Cenovis Calcium Gluconate||Calcium Gluconate||58||$0.14|
|Cenovis Calcium 600||Calcium Carbonate||600||Vitamin D||$0.10|
|Cal - Sup||Calcium Carbonate||500||-||$0.12|
|Nutrilite Calcium Complete||Calcium Citrate||250||Magnesium, Manganese, Zinc, Vitamin D, Vitamin K||$0.10|
|Ultra Calcium||Calcium Citrate, Calcium Hydroxyapatite||250||Zinc, Vitamin K, Magnesium, Manganese, Vitamin D||$0.13|
|Nutrition Care-Osteopatite with Boran||Calcium Hydroxyapatite||115||Manganese, Zinc, Copper, Boran||$0.23|
|Nature’s Own Calcium+Magnesium||Calcium, Magnesium||150||Magnesium||$0.18|
|Blackmore’s Total Calcium||Calcium Citrate, Calcium Phosphate||230||Magnesium, Zinc, Vitamin K, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Folate||$0.21|
|Blackmore’s Bio Calcium||Calcium Phosphate, Calcium Hydrogen Phosphate||360||Vitamin D||$0.21|