Most women take some form of calcium supplement. Just because you take it, does not mean you are really utilizing it. That is what most women do not realize. There are great differences in the quality of calcium supplements. Most women are unclear on how to pick the best calcium product for their needs. Here is information to help you make those decisions.
First of all, it is important to remind you that your diet is the first step in making sure you are getting enough calcium. You should not rely on calcium supplements alone for your total calcium requirements. Try to focus your diet on quality high calcium foods such as organic whole milk, organic cheese, and yogurt. Buy plain yogurt, then add your favorite fruit such as blueberries to reduce sugar. Make sure it lists probiotics on the label ingredients. Make your own yogurt, it’s easy to do. Buy calcium enriched foods if you can.
Foods Highest In Calcium: skim milk (301 mg of Calcium); whole milk (1 Cup=290mg); low fat yogurt (1 Cup =415mg); cottage cheese (1 cup= 290 mg); Tofu (150 gm=350mg); sardines in oil ( 500mg); instant oats (1 cup=165 per packet); Cabbage/ Bok Choy (1/2 cup=190 mg); turnip greens (1/2 cup= 104).
Once you have a calcium packed diet, then add a quality calcium supplement. Research has shown that most children and women do not get enough calcium in their diet. Since calcium is very hard to absorb, it is important that you pick a quality calcium supplement. I have listed the various calcium supplements below, explaining the pros and cons of each one.
Forms Of Calcium Supplements:
Bone Meal: older animal bone that is dried and ground into powder; treated with heat and solvents; very poorly absorbed and has been shown to contain lead and other heavy metals.
Dolomite: derived from the rock, limestone, that contains magnesium carbonate and calcium carbonate; very hard to absorb and has been found to be contaminated with lead and heavy metals. Is one of least usable forms of calcium supplements.
Oyster Shell: Ground from the shells of oysters just like it sounds; very hard to break down.
Calcium Carbonate : Contains 40 percent Calcium, of which only 10% is usable. That means of a 1000 mg supplement, only 40 mg of that calcium is usable. Calcium carbonate should be taken with food for absorption. This kind of Calcium is very poorly utilized by the body. It takes a lot of stomach acid to break it down.
Calcium Aspartate: 20% Calcium and well Absorbed: Not a complete bone food.
Calcium Lactate: derived from dairy products; contains 37% calcium which means for every 1000 mg of Calcium lactate, there is 370 mg of Calcium, of which only 122.1 mg is usable. Calcium is not a complete food for bone building.
Calcium Citrate: Calcium citrate is only 24% calcium which is 240 mg per1000mg tablet. Best taken on an empty stomach; well absorbed; reduces risk of kidney stones; and is a good calcium supplement for those with poor digestion.
Microcrystalline Hydroxyapatite Concentrate (MCHC): Derived from real whole bone; well absorbed; provides food for bone building because it includes trace mineral factors closest to the proportions of your own bones. These trace minerals include phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper and manganese. The 25% calcium is very bio-available. MCHC also contains collagen. In a small clinical trial it was shown that patients with osteoporosis and pain in their back showed a dramatic reduction of pain using this form of calcium. The control group had increased pain during the trial. Several clinical trials have shown it helps prevent bone loss, helps restore healthy bone, and is well tolerated without disturbing digestion.
Even though it is derived from bone, it is processed differently than ‘bone meal’ so that it retains all the minerals and healthy bone factors. MCHC is not treated with heat or chemical solvents and is taken from younger animals. It is screened for heavy metals. Bone meal comes from the bones of older animals often containing lead and other heavy metals.
Hydroxyapatite: The term ‘hydroxyapatite’ it is not the same as MCHC. Hydroxyapatite comes from phosphate rock or is synthetically manufactured. The term stands for calcium phosphate hydroxide. It is present in both bone and phosphate rock. It does not contain the organic factors that MCHC does. It is not as usable by the body either.
How To Test Calcium Tablets: place your calcium tablet or capsule in a glass of white vinegar for 30 min. Stir every few minutes. If the tablet is dissolved in the vinegar, it probably will be broken down in your stomach. If you take a tablet and it feels like a rock in your stomach, change to a capsule. Do not take too many caps or tablets at one time. Take your supplements, followed by a full glass of water to wash them down. Research if they should be taken with food or between meals. That is important to get the full value from taking any supplement.
Look for these terms, “USP” or “CL” stated on label. It means that the supplement has met voluntary industry standards for quality, purity, and tablet disintegration.