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One more reason to get your calcium from food not supplements

I encourage everyone to get their calcium from food and not from supplements.  If you just can’t seem to get enough calcium in your daily diet then I generally suggest you only supplement with the amount of calcium you don’t get from your food for that day.   So if your calcium requirement is 1200 mg. per day and you consume 800 mg. caIcium in your food then only take 400 mg. of a supplement that day.  I strongly discourage anyone from automatically taking 1200 mg. calcium per day as a supplement on top of what they eat.  More is very likely not better. 

The following study adds to my concerns about the automatic recommendation and use of 1200 mg. calcium supplementation for all women.  Based on this study I now recommend that women have their urine and blood calcium levels evaluated before they take any calcium supplementation at all.  It can’t hurt and it might lower your chances of having kidney stones.

A June 2014 study published in the medical journal “Menopause” concludes that high calcium urine and blood levels commonly occur with calcium and vitamin D supplementation. The study investigators were able to predict which women would have a problem by looking at their pre-study 24-hour urine calcium level.  The authors noted “Even a modest calcium supplementation of 500 mg. per day may be too high for some women”.  The authors recommended measuring blood and urine calcium levels before starting women on supplements.   It was unclear whether the high levels were caused by calcium, vitamin D or a combination of the two.  It is possible that these findings are relevant to the reported increase in kidney stones found in the Women’s Health Initiative trial.  The authors of the study indicated that due to the widely recommended use of 1200 mg. calcium and 800 IU vitamin D in postmenopausal women, further studies as to the wisdom of this recommendation are warranted.

I say avoid the problem by getting your calcium from your food.


posted on 7/4/2014