An overview of top 10 calcium supplements for women and other calcium-rich foods beneficial for bone and joint health

Calcium is one of the most important nutritional elements needed for a woman’s good health. It is the key to bone health. Adequate calcium is needed by women to preserve the required bone density. Calcium supplements are necessary at times to improve bone health but excessive calcium can be damaging. Let us go through the details. Ample bone density ensures that women do not suffer from osteoporosis as they age.

It is generally believed that calcium is needed only for healthy bones and teeth, but calcium is necessary for some more important aspects of health. Premenstrual syndrome is also reduced by calcium intake. Apart from this, calcium is also vital for conducting nerve impulses, activities of the enzymes and contraction of muscles.

How much calcium do you need?

As our body is engaged in daily chores our body’ keeps loosing calcium. Apart from osteoporosis, the other problems associated with calcium deficiency are malformation of the bones, muscle cramping, risk of hypertension and insomnia. Normally, a woman requires 1000mg-1500mg of calcium. But this might vary as per the age of the woman and also at the hormonal stage she is.

Women of age 11 to 24 require 1200mg to 1500 mg of calcium per day, women of age 25 to 50 require 1000 mg of calcium per day, post menopause women require 1000 mg to 1500 mg of calcium per day and a pregnant women requires 1200mg to 1500 mg per day. A healthy diet, exercise and proper intake of calcium can lead to healthy bones.

It is a general notion that dairy products are good and adequate source of calcium. But dairy products alone cannot fulfill the calcium requirement of the woman’s body. Then there is also the issue of fat in dairy product. Thus the concern arises as to from where do you fulfill the calcium requirement. One of the ways of solving this problem is by consuming calcium supplements.

There are several calcium supplements available in the market and there is a lot of apprehension regarding the details of the ingredients of the calcium supplements available as well as their pros and cons. This write-up tries to remove these apprehensions by providing a list of top 10 calcium supplements for women along with their price, USP and pros and cons so that you are able to identify the best supplement for you. But remember that taking more than 2,000 mg calcium wont provide any benefit so keep your daily intake of calcium below 2000 mg.

1. AlgaeCal Plus Calcium Supplement

Price : $29.95

AlgaeCal® Plus Calcium Supplement

Product description: Algaecal® Plus uses the plant source to obtain calcium. It also contains essential bone building substances like silica, strontium, magnesium, boron etc. This calcium supplement is certified organic by IFOAM and USDA. So it is impeccable for vegetarians. This supplement also consists of Boron glucinate, vitamin K2 and vitamin D3. This calcium supplement is also non constipating. It is advisable to take this calcium supplement with meals.

USP

It is impeccable supplement for vegetarians.

Pros

  1. Algaecal® Plus uses plant source to obtain calcium and thus is bio friendly
  2. It comprise of essential bone building substances like silica, strontium, magnesium, boron etc which are necessary for a healthy body.
  3. This calcium supplement is certified organic by IFOAM and USDA.
  4. It apt for vegetarians.

2. AlgaeCal Plus Strontium Boost

Price: $34.80

AlgaeCal Plus Strontium Boost

Product description: It has been clinically proved that Strontium Boost™ increases density of bones when consumed with AlgaeCal Plus®. Strontium Boost™ is strontium citrate. The element strontium citrate is a natural strontium and it is extracted from earth. Ingredients of which Strontium Boost™ is made are completely natural. Strontium Boost™ consumed with AlgaeCal Plus® helps in treating osteoporosis and osteopenia.

USP

The element strontium citrate is a natural strontium and it is extracted from earth. Strontium Boost™ is made of completely natural ingredients.

Pros

  1. It has been clinically proven that Strontium Boost™ increases density of bones.
  2. The element strontium citrate is natural strontium and thus bio friendly
  3. Ingredients of which Strontium Boost™ is made are completely natural.
  4. Strontium Boost™ consumed with AlgaeCal Plus® helps in treating osteoporosis and osteopenia.

3. Caltrate Calcium & Vitamin D 600+D Tablets

Price: $14.49

Caltrate Calcium & Vitamin D, 600+D, Tablets

Product description: Caltrate Calcium & Vitamin D supplements are used to enhance colon and bone health. It consists of Vitamin D which leads to better breast health. The latest development has been in decreasing the size of the tablets keeping the concentration of calcium and vitamin D the same as before. It is advisable to consult your doctor before taking the supplements if you are taking some medicines, nursing or pregnant. So if you are taking some medicine, or are pregnant or breast-feeding your child, you need to consult your doctor before taking caltrate calcium supplement.

USP

Caltrate Calcium & Vitamin D supplements are used to enhance colon and bone health. It consists of Vitamin D which leads to better breast health.

Pros

  1. The supplement is used to enhance colon and bone health
  2. Also contains Vitamin D which improves breast health.
  3. The size of the tablet has been decreased making it easy to swallow.
  4. Is effective.

4. Cal-Max 1000

Price: $24.60

Cal-Max 1000

Product description: Cal Max™ is known as the perfect calcium supplement. It has been developed by Maxi Health Research®. The formula consists of a mix of magnesium and calcium citrate. For healthy teeth and bone, boron and vitamin D3 are also added. As Calcium citrate is considered to be the most biological calcium available. In Cal Max 1000 tablet, calcium citrate is used to provide utmost benefit. Strong bones are builit by vitamin D3 of the supplement. Smooth functioning of the nervous and muscle system is assisted by magnesium. Calcium and magnesium are absorbed and used efficiently by boron.

USP

The formula consists of a mix of magnesium and calcium citrate. For healthy teeth and bone, boron and vitamin D3 are also added to it.

Pros

Calcium citrate present in the tablet is the most biological calcium available.

Strong bones are builit by vitamin D3 in the supplement.

Smooth functioning of the nervous and muscle system is assisted by magnesium.

Calcium and magnesium are absorbed and used efficiently by boron.

5. PremCal

Price: 29.95

PremCal

Product description: PremCal supplement is a mixture of vitamin D and calcium. The tablet has 3 diverse potency of vitamin D3 (1000 IU, 750 IU, and 500 IU ). This supplement is recommend
ed for people who require more of vitamin D and have problems associated with lack of vitamin D like osteoporosis, osteomalacia, mal-absorption or premenstrual syndrome. These tablets should be taken with meals. You should avoid this supplement if you are exposed a lot to sunlight. Also, avoid it if you have elevated calcium levels, primary hyper-parathyroidism, kidney diseases or hyper calciuria.

USP

PremCal supplement is a mixture of vitamin D and calcium. The tablet has 3 diverse potency of vitamin D3 (1000 IU, 750 IU, and 500 IU ).

Pros

  1. Effective for people suffering from problems associated with the lack of vitamin D.
  2. Is effective in treating osteoporosis, osteomalacia, mal-absorption or premenstrual syndrome.

6. Coral calcium 2500 mg; Pure Coral Calcium

Price: $11.99

Coral calcium 2500 mg Pure Coral Calcium

Product description: Coral calcium Pure Coral Calcium is made of perfect balance of calcium and magnesium in 2:1 ratio. It is gluten-free and also ecologically safe. The supplement also contains plants enzymes. These enzymes enable the body to absorb the minerals. The supplement is cesium free. Cesium is risky and that is the reason it is avoided. It is a natural product and made from ‘polyps’. Polyps are sea organisms. They absorb calcium from the sea water and make structures from them. Coral calcium is made from these polyp colonies.

In order to preserve the environment the company employ harvesting techniques so that the ecosystem of the coral reef is not harmed. The supplement is made in a facility which is registered with FDS. They do not contain any toxic minerals.

USP

Coral calcium is a natural product and made from ‘polyps’ . Polyps are sea organisms. They absorb calcium from the sea and make structures from them . From these Coral calcium is made.

Pros

  1. It is made from perfect balance of calcium and magnesium in 2:1 ratio.
  2. Is gluten free.
  3. Contains plants enzymes. These enzymes enable the body to absorb the minerals.
  4. Is cesium free.
  5. Does not contain any toxic minerals.

7. Calcium Carbonate 600

Price: $1.88

Calcium Carbonate 600

Product description: This bottle contains 100 tablets of 600 mg each. The calcium in it helps in continuous development of teeth and bones. It helps in keeping the nervous system healthy. This calcium supplement also improves the immune system and shields old people from problem of osteoporosis.

Product USP

This calcium supplement helps in proper development of teeth and bones and also helps in keeping the nervous system healthy.

Pros

  1. Helps in proper development of teeth and bones.
  2. Keeps the nervous system healthy.
  3. Improves the immune system.
  4. Shields old people from the problem of osteoporosis.

8. Citracal Calcium + D

Price: $16.99

Citracal Calcium + D

Product description:

Citracel Calcium + D is used for building density of the bones. Citracal is dissimilar from normal calcium supplements and is more advanced. It is the only calcium to contain Genistein. Genistein increases the bone density at 5 percent higher rate than the normal supplements. It is produced naturally from soybean extract. Apart from calcium, it also contains vitamin D. Vitamin D helps in absorption of calcium by the body. Citracal Calcium + D does not contain any lactose, sugar or gluten. So, it is a good supplement for intake.

USP

It is the only calcium to contain Genistein. Genistein increases the bone density at 5 percent higher rate than the normal supplements.

Pros

  1. Effective in building density of the bones in middle and old age.
  2. Contain Genistein. Genistein makes bone density increase at 5 percent higher rate than the normal supplements.
  3. Is a naturally made product.
  4. Does not contain any lactose, sugar or gluten.

9. Cal-Max with Magnesium & Vitamin D3

Price: $17.52

Cal-Max with Magnesium & Vitamin D3

Product description:

This supplement has an equal ratio of calcium and magnesium. It also contains vitamin D3. Used to keep teeth, muscle and bones healthy. It is beneficial in preventing osteoporosis in old age. Calcium is required for a sustained hormone levels, optimal heart function and neurotransmitters. Vitamin D3 absorbs calcium.

USP

This supplement has an equal ratio of calcium and magnesium. It also contains Vitamin D3.

Pros

  1. Value for money.
  2. Keeps teeth, muscle and bones healthy.
  3. Beneficial in preventing osteoporosis in older age.

10. Citracal Calcium Citrate with Vitamin D Plus Magnesium

Price: $12.99

Citracal Calcium Citrate with Vitamin D Plus Magnesium, Coated Tablets

Product description:

Citrucal® is for active and multitasking women. It ensures that women who have a hectic and active life have strong bones, which is essential for daily activities. This supplement along with a healthy diet and regular exercise, keeps young adult women’s bones healthy and prevents the risk of osteoporosis in their later lives. Along with citracal, this supplement also consists of magnesium and vitamin D.

It has been shown by studies that proper quantity of Calcium is essential for essential biological functions. Magnesium is needed for proper cell operation and sustaining a nervous system which is healthy.

USP

Citrucal® is for active and multitasking women. It ensures that women who have a hectic and active life, have strong bones, which is essential for their daily activities.

Pros

  1. Prevents the risk of osteoporosis in the later lives of women.
  2. This supplement also consists of magnesium and vitamin D which are needed for healthy nervous system and proper cell operation.

Women suffering from osteoporosis are not getting proper treatment

osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is often thought of as a disease which frail elderly women develop, however the damage from osteoporosis begins much earlier in life. It is a disease characterized by low bone mass and loss of bone tissue that may lead to weak and fragile bones. It increases the risk for fractured bones, particularly in the hip, spine, and wrist. Calcium supplements, in such cases, can effectively meet the regular calcium requirement.

What causes thinning of bones?

There are often no symptoms of osteoporosis before a victim breaks a bone that is why it is a very dangerous disease. Osteoporosis occurs when an imbalance occurs between new bone formation and old bone resorption. The body may fail to form enough new bone, or too much old bone may be reabsorbed, or both. If calcium intake is not sufficient or if the body fails to absorb enough calcium from the diet, it may affect bone density.

Women are at a greater risk

Eighty percent of those with osteoporosis are women.

They are at a greater risk than men, especially women who are thin and those of advanced age. Women who are postmenopausal, including those who have had early or surgically induced menopause, or abnormal or absence of menstrual periods are more prone to the disease. 

What can be done to prevent thinning ones?

Peak bone density is reached at approximately age 25 years hence, it is important to build strong bones by that age, so that the bones will remain strong later in life. Adequate calcium intake is an essential part of building strong bones. Pharmacists have a vital job to play in helping patients understand the importance of why they are prescribed these preventative medicines, and what the consequences can be if they don’t take them.

Must have foods to improve bone density

A balanced diet is essential for maintaining good health and when you want to improve bone density, then it becomes all the more important to have a balanced diet which contains all the essential nutrients, minerals and vitamins. If you want to have stronger bones, then your diet should contain high amounts of whole grain cereals and at least 5 servings of vegetables and fruits. The consumption of fat and sugar should be kept at minimum levels. We should maintain good bone density ratios when we are young as it will be beneficial in older age when there are chances of getting osteoporosis and other bone related problems.

A poorly balanced diet can lead to loss in bone density. A diet should contain good amounts of calcium as it gives the bones rigidity and strength. With increase in age, the process of skeletal renewal slows down thereby decreasing the bone density. This results in the expansion of the inner mesh of the bones which causes the bone to be more fragile. We can maximize the bone mass in early years of life by consuming a healthy diet and reduce the age effects on bones. Below is a list of food items that can improve bone density and give you healthier bones.

Dairy products are rich in calcium and protein

There is a huge variety to choose from – cheese, milk, yogurt, etc. Low fat substitutes are also easily available for the calorie conscious. Dairy products have abundant of calcium and protein, thus they help in building strong bones. Low fat milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, and reduced-fat cheese are loaded with proteins and calcium, but dairy product like ice cream cannot be put under this category. You will be amazed to know that a single cup of low fat yogurt would take care of one third of your daily calcium needs along with 17 percent of daily protein requirements.

Onions

Studies conducted after the year 2005 point out that onions can slow down the resorption rates of bones. Resorption is the process of breaking down and removal of old bone cells by osteoclasts. With the increase in age many people develop the medical condition of osteoporosis. After the age of 35 years, the bone building cells of the body, called as osteoblasts, start functioning at reduced rates but the osteoclast cells, which remove the old bones cells, work at the same level. This results in lowering of bone density level and porous or thin bones start getting formed in the body.

The bone building effect of onion can be due to the presence of silicon in it as silicon aids the conversion of calcium into bone mass.

Prunes

Prunes can be highly useful in overcoming osteoporosis and bone loss. Prunes contain a fiber by the name inulin which helps the body to absorb calcium in a more efficient manner. You can also resist arthritis by eating prunes. Prunes can help in increasing bone density particularly in the spine and forearm region. Prunes can slow down the bone re-absorption rates and restore the bone tissues with the help of its contents which include vitamin C, vitamin K, antioxidants and phytochemicals. Prunes also contain boron, a mineral which helps in calcium absorption and improves the density of bones.

Banana

Banana

Banana helps to improve the bone density and can make the human body more efficient in absorbing calcium and other nutrients. This helps the body to produce healthier bones.

Banana contains a compound by the name fructo-oligosaccharides. This compound can nourish the bacteria in colon and increase the production of digestive enzymes for enhancing the absorption of calcium, magnesium and other bone strengthening minerals and vitamins.

The green bananas contain the SCFA or short chain fatty acids in addition to fructo-oligosaccharides which make them even more better for bones. SCFA also helps in absorption of bone friendly nutrients from the food during the digestion process.

Banana is found to contain electrolytes that can prevent calcium loss from the body. In addition to it, banana can also help the body to metabolize protein and can boost the functioning of the immune system.

Broccoli

This floret can provide you minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus and a good amount of vitamin C as well. Magnesium is important for increasing bone density as studies show that those who consumed higher amounts of magnesium had higher bone density. Broccoli can provide you the magnesium mineral in good amounts. Broccoli also contains vitamin C which can enhance the skeletal strength by crating the bone matrix. There are many varieties of broccoli like kale, cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprout. These all have similar qualities and you consume 200 gram of the floret daily to get desired results.

Leeks

Leeks look similar to onions but are sweeter and milder in comparison to onions. The folic acid present in leeks can help to reduce the amino acid homocystein. Homocystein weakens the bones and can also cause heart attacks. Therefore, eating leeks can give multiple heath benefits.

Leeks can avoid the occurrence of calcium deficiency in the body as the food is rich in calcium. By eating leeks on regular basis, you can enhance the strength of your bones and teeth. The calcium present in leek can also help in other processes like blood clotting and in functioning of muscles and nerves. Leek has high fiber which can help in proper digestion and metabolism.

Oysters

Oyster shell is a natural source of calcium and is rich in other elements as well. The calcium provided by oyster shell can be used by the body in forming new bones and maintaining the old ones.

The oyster shell electrolysate can raise the calcium levels in serum and is favorable in osteoporosis condition as it provides a readily available source of calcium to the body. Calcium along with vitamin D can help to increase the bone mass during early years of life and calcium can also help in reducing bone loss that occurs in later years of life. The presence of calcium and vitamin D in the body can help to avoid osteoporosis.

Oysters also contain zinc, a mineral necessary in the formation of collagen’s basic bone structure.

Walnuts

Walnuts contain omega 3 fatty acids. Studies that were conducted on animals show that the omega 3 fatty acids can promote bone formation and can also help in increasing the bone density. These fatty acids are also beneficial in enhancing and maintaining the heath of the bone. The omega 3 fatty acids can increase the absorption of calcium, reducing the amount of calcium that get removed from the body and can enhance collagen synthesis and improve the strength of the bone. Walnuts also contain other elements like boron, manganese and copper which are beneficial for bone health. Boron can reduce the excretion of magnesium and calcium excretion. Copper has a very important role to play in the development of joints, bones, skin and blood vessels. Manganese is required for synthesizing the connective tissues that are present in cartilages and bones.

Kiwis

Kiwis can protect the bone potassium, just like bananas. One or two kiwis can be consumed each week. The skin of kiwi should not be peeled off while eating as it can provide nutrients that can be good for the body.

You can get 89% of the daily intake amount of vitamin K by eating one cup of kiwi fruit. Vitamin K helps in bone metabolism. Its deficiency can lead to decrease in bone density and the deficient person can also develop a higher risk of osteoporotic fracture in the deficient person.

A single serving of kiwi can fulfill around 4 percent of your daily calcium require
ments. Kiwi can bolster the bone strength and can increase the density of the bone as well.

Food rich in vitamin D

Vitamin D is necessary for absorbing calcium. The body can maintain the right amount of calcium in the body by just being in the sun for about 15 minutes at least two times a week. This is so because sun rays can help the body to synthesize vitamin D which can help in absorbing calcium. The duration can be longer in colder climates. Other sources of vitamin D include food items like eggs, liver, oily fish, tuna and salmon, cereals and dairy products like milk that fortified with vitamin D. You can also consult your doctor and take the vitamin D and calcium supplements. These can be taken in combination with each other or separately.

9 Side effects of excess calcium in a woman’s body

The possibility of excess intake of calcium can happen occasionally more so because of supplements that can cause the calcium levels in the blood to rise and result in undesirable side effects. Some of them are as follows: 

Tremors

Tremors are uncontrollable and involuntary shaking of the body which can affect any one part of the body. The feet and legs are rarely affected by tremors, however, in certain cases tremors might strike the entire body. Tremors can also be a result of some other medication that you might be taking, so it is safe to consult a doctor before coming to any conclusion. Certain blood pressure medicines also interfere with the absorption of calcium, leading to intense tremors. The daily consumption of calcium should not be more than 2500 mg in a day. If you feel that you have exceeded the daily dosage of calcium accidentally, then immediately get in touch with your doctor or dial for emergency medical assistance.

Reduces iron absorption

menstruation cycle

Excess calcium in the body prevents iron from getting absorbed by the body. This can result in acute anemia in women due to low hemoglobin levels. Iron is extremely important for transportation of oxygen throughout our body and its absorption is impaired if we have excess calcium in our bodies. Iron is extremely important for women who are going through menopause and for those who undergo menstruation cycles. Hence, exceeding the normal prescribed intake of calcium can most definitely lead to iron deficiency as well.

Kidney problems due to hypercalcemia

loss of appetite

Too much calcium in the blood can also lead to a hypercalcemia that has symptoms such as loss of appetite, fatigue, persistent thirst and vomiting. All this can have an adverse impact on the kidney functions. The excess calcium in the body can lead to stone formation in the kidney due to high levels of urinary calcium. The role of the kidneys is to filter out all the excess calcium that is unused by our bones. However, if there is an abnormal amount of calcium that the body cannot handle, then it eventually deposits in the form of kidney stones, apart from disrupting the functioning of the kidney leading to other issues.

Renal damage

renal stones in the part of the kidney

Another serious side effect of excess calcium in the body is renal damage due to the formation of renal stones in the part of the kidney that collects the urine also known as the renal pelvis or urethra. Due to calcification, some of the kidney stones may pass inside the urinary tract and then get stuck there causing acute pain to the person. Renal stones can obstruct your kidneys and prevent them from getting rid of the waste materials. Furthermore, some stones have edges that are rough and sharp, which can cause damage and scarring to the renal area too. The renal stone can also block the flow of urine leading to tear in the urinary tract and bleeding. In such cases, immediately consult your doctor for help. In extreme cases, when the kidneys have been adversely impacted, this can also lead to renal failure.

Calcification in other body parts

blood flow

Another symptom of excess calcium in the body is calcification or abnormal calcium deposits. Our kidneys play the role of filtering out an eliminating excess calcium and phosphorus from the body. However, an abnormal increase of calcium in the body can disrupt the functioning of the kidneys leading to calcification in different parts of the body which is a serious health problem. Calcification can occur on the soft tissues, blood vessels leading to a blockage in blood flow. A disruption in blood circulation can lead to painful joints, lung and heart disease. Excess of calcium in the blood can cause plaque to accumulate on the arteries that can impact the heart muscle leading to the probability of heart attack.

Constipation

One of the most common and prevalent side effects of excess calcium in the body is constipation. It is normally the side effect of taking too many calcium supplements that is accompanied by gas and intestinal bloating as well. Hence, if you are on calcium supplementation, then increase liquid and fiber intake which might relieve you from acute constipation. In fact, you should refrain from taking calcium supplements altogether.

Stomach problems

Stomach problems

One of the most common symptoms of excess calcium which is both annoying and embarrassing is flatulence or gas formation. This is a very mild side effect of excess calcium as there can be other serious stomach problems as well such as abdominal cramping, vomiting and nausea. Taking calcium in the form of supplements such as calcium carbonate has these symptoms as side effects as well.

Changes in heart rate

heart rate

Having excess calcium in your blood can also adversely impact your heartbeat, as the electrical impulses of the heart that are responsible for controlling the heart rhythm get disrupted leading to heart problems and even heart attack.

Malfunctioning of brain

 

Excess calcium in the body leads to hypercalcemia which, in severe cases, can cause the brain to malfunction. This can manifest itself in various forms like emotional disturbances, hallucinations, confusion, delirium and coma. These brain issues can be resolved with appropriate hydration and the dropping of blood calcium level to normalcy. Calcium is very important for vital body functions that include the transmission of nerve impulses and exceeding calcium level in the blood can disrupt the function leading to malfunctioning which can be extremely life threatening. In milder cases, the disruption in the nervous system can lead to mild concentration problems and confusion and if untreated, it can lead to coma, fits, uncoordinated muscles, hallucinations and even death.

Related Articles

Back to top button