“Bone up,” yeah funny, but getting enough of the right kind of calcium absorption is no laughing matter! Calcium absorption varies between sources of calcium and it’s important to know what you’re getting. Good thing there are plenty of foods that contain calcium, even if you are avoiding dairy. Food sources should always be your first choice for nutrition, but what if that’s not enough or your body isn’t processing it properly?
Did you know that the average woman needs between 1000[minimal] and 1200mg[optimum] of calcium a day? Or that your body can only absorb about 500-600mg at a time? How are those foods in the chart stacking up for your diet? If you’re not getting enough, you might want to supplement your calcium.
Supplementing calcium becomes even more important if you are post-menopausal, pregnant, breastfeeding, or are at risk or diagnosed with Osteopenia or Osteoporosis.
The kind of calcium you supplement with is important too. Gluconate, lactate, and phosphate are less absorpable forms of calcium. Don’t even get me started on calcium carbonate, which comes from limestone and requires a more acid environment to break down and be absorbed in the body. We usually aren’t trying to have a high acid environment in our body, especially as we age. High acid environments have been linked to many health issues; digestion issues, cancer growth, etc.
For most people a calcium citrate is a good choice. It can be taken any time, not requiring food, as long as it is in divided dose of 500-600mg at a time and has a 2-1 ratio with magnesium and about 800 mg of vitamin D with it. Another excellent choice is RAW Calcium from Vitamin Code, which has a high absorption raw food and algae sourced calcium. Its also loaded with trace minerals and is NON-GMO making it my choice.
If you fall into the over 50, post-menopausal or Osteopenia or Osteoporosis group however, you might want to consider an even better calcium absorption rate . I highly recommend Jarrow’s Bone Up formula as it contains calcium hydroxipate, one of the highest absorpable forms of calcium available in supplement form.
Here is a visual way of thinking about calcium absorption and how calcium works. Most calcium forms a protective barrier around the bone, coating and bonding with it. Calcium hydroxipate goes a step further and fills in cracks and holes, strengthening it from the inside out. Like filling the holes of a sponge. If you’ve been diagnosed with Osteopenia [week bones] or Osteoporosis [degrading bones] and have a higher risk for fracture and deforming bones, then you’ll benefit from the higher absorption of calcium hydroxipate. You can check out your risk factor with this FRAX risk assessment calculation tool. [The tool is on the menu at the top, choose country, then ethnicity and calculate based on your answers.]
Other factors to consider with calcium is how it affects medication you may be taking [take at different time of day from thyroid, seizure, antibiotic medications and iron or zinc supplements. Do not take more than 2000mg daily, it’s a safe supplement but can build up and health risks such as kidney stones and constipation can occur.] In addition to eating a diet high in calcium rich foods and supplementing with an appropriate calcium in divided doses of 500-600mg, you can help build bone density by strength training and weight bearing exercises [example, any exercise where your body bears its own weight like walking or running, not swimming, where the water bears your weight.]. Cutting back on caffeine and alcohol and not smoking also improves bone density.