Choosing the Best Calcium Supplements – Top 10 Brands

Best Calcium Supplement Brands

We have a large number of vitamins, minerals and compounds in our body and there is no shortage of research, articles, ads, diets and supplements for all of these various compounds. Minerals in particular are key elements for a variety of functions and include iron, zinc, potassium and many more.

While each is important in its own right, there is no mineral with more use in our body and certainly in larger amounts than calcium. We have more calcium in our body than any other mineral. It is most commonly associated with our bones, but it is critical for a variety of functions. While it can be found in quite a few different foods in our general diet, we don’t always consume enough or foods that should have calcium have been diluted through manufacturing processes.

Taking calcium supplements can be a very important element of a balanced diet and overall health, in particular for improved bone health and other key functions. In this guide, we’ll break down exactly what calcium is and its function in the body, the best uses for it as a supplement and the best products on the market today.

What is Calcium?

Calcium outpaces iron, zinc, potassium and any competitors as the most abundant mineral in the human body. It is primarily associated with bone growth, but it actually has quite a few key functions including nerve function, muscle contraction and usage and hormonal secretion. Calcium is absolutely vital to helping our blood vessels contract as well and is a key player in the process that makes our muscles contract, as the impulse from our nervous systems must interact with calcium to kick start the muscle contraction process.

Only 1% of our present calcium levels attribute to those functions, while 99% of calcium goes to helping our bones grow and maintain a high level of density. Calcium is found in both bones and teeth and critical to their structure. It plays a key role for children in bone growth, in adults in maintaining bone health and density, and for older populations in preventing bone decay.

Calcium is found in a variety of foods, most notably dairy products like milk and cheese. It can also be found in leafy greens, fish and enriched products such as cereal.

What Is Its Biological Role?

Calcium is most closely associated with the proper formation and maintenance of strong, healthy bones. However, this is an oversimplification of the role this absolutely essential mineral plays in our health. Calcium is indeed necessary to grow strong bones [1] that can stand up to the stressors of everyday life.

Without it our bones would become porous; porous bones are weak and brittle which makes them prone to breakage. Our bones also act like a storage system [2] for calcium–because calcium is needed for other things in our bodies, our body will sometimes take calcium out of our bones to supplement blood levels with calcium if we are not getting enough from our diet.

This is why it’s important to ensure we are constantly getting enough calcium. Other than healthy bones, calcium is also partly responsible for proper function of our cardiovascular, nervous, and digestive systems.

It assists here by helping to regulate blood pressure, protect against intestinal cancer, regulate clotting of blood, and help to reduce certain types of inflammation.

Benefits of Calcium

The health benefits of calcium are many and cannot be understated. Calcium has a host of potential benefits for users ranging from improving our general everyday health to preventing chronic lifelong diseases.

The most important benefit of proper calcium intake is its role in bone maintenance and growth. One of the common misunderstandings of our bones is that they are not static structures once we finish growing. Most people are aware of course that our bones grow during childhood until we reach our physical maturity, and accordingly that calcium is a vital mineral for children.

However, even as fully-grown adults our bones do not remain constant. They are constantly breaking down, building back up and remodeling. This process is minute and not something we would readily observe; however, it is a necessary part of our skeletal function and one in which calcium plays a key role. As grown adults, calcium helps to maintain this function, however as we age after a certain point our bone deterioration begins to outpace our bone replenishment. At that point and time, having enough calcium is critical to maintaining bone health for as long as possible.

Common Forms of Calcium Supplements

The primary ingredient of any calcium supplement is, of course, calcium. However, every product will have differing levels of calcium, an important measure to keep track of will be the grams of calcium per dose as that will inform on the potency of the product in each serving.

Additionally, calcium is naturally found in high amounts in many foods we eat regularly as well as other vitamin and supplement products, so you may want to evaluate if you need one of those products or a purer calcium-only supplement. It also tends to be combined with other minerals such as iron or potassium, which may be a factor in which product is best for you.

In addition, there are different kinds of calcium that can be found in supplement form. As calcium is generally extracted for use, the form of calcium found in a supplement may vary depending on the source. One is not necessarily better than the other, and in general a balance of different calcium through diet and supplementation is best. Some of the common forms of calcium that can be found include calcium citrate, calcium carbonate, and calcium chelate, among others.

Who Is Calcium Best Suited For?

In short, just about everyone who doesn’t get enough calcium in their regular diet. While as a generality this probably includes most of us, it would specifically apply to those who are especially active and thus require more nutrients, such as athletes or gym enthusiasts, and those who do not get much naturally occurring calcium in their diet, for example someone who gets very little dairy or leafy greens on a daily basis.

Calcium is absolutely best suited both for children who need calcium for bone growth and may not get enough in their regular diet. Likewise, it is key for older populations as well who need more calcium to maintain their bone density and fight the effects of aging on bon replenishment and density.

Finally, calcium can be an excellent choice for anyone who is especially active as calcium does play a role in muscular and vascular contraction and with hormonal secretion. Serious weight lifters, fitness enthusiasts and athletes may potentially benefit from additional calcium as well.

How Does It Help Bodybuilders and People Who Work Out?

When you sweat, part of that sweat contains some of your body’s calcium supply. For a lot of fitness enthusiasts or even competitive athletes, the measure of a good workout is making sure you get good and sweaty.

This can, unfortunately, also reduce your body’s stores of calcium. In response your body will pull more calcium out of your bones to replenish the blood’s calcium supply. Over time this cycle can results in loss of bone density, which leaves you at higher risks for bone breakage.

Studies on this phenomenon have shown that calcium supplements can help prevent this loss of bone density. Interestingly, the study also showed that calcium supplements for this purpose were most effective when taken about half an hour prior to exercising.

What Foods Contain Calcium?

Calcium is most commonly found in dairy products, including all varieties of milk, cheeses, and yogurts. It is worth noting that whether a dairy product contain full-fat, 2%, or skim milk has no effect on the amount of calcium it contains.

Other dietary sources of calcium include collard green, kale, canned salmon, and fortified products. For vegetarians, certain brands of soymilk or tofu products are fortified with calcium in the same way breakfast cereals are.

This can be a good way for anyone who doesn’t consume dairy regularly to boost their calcium intake.

How Much Calcium Do You Need?

As with any supplement or health-related product, it is always advised to consult with a medical professional on if it is the right choice for you, and it is also always advised to follow the recommended dosing strategy by the product.

When taking a calcium supplement, there are minimal to no side effects when staying within the recommended dosage ranges. The dietary intake recommendations for calcium are lower for children, and for most grown adults are 1,000mg. As adults progress into later stages it is recommended they increase their calcium intake as well, with suggestion ranging from 1,200-1,500mg per day. The most common side effects with fiber is gas or bloating, these are essentially your body’s way of telling you you’ve had too much and it doesn’t need the excess, though over time you may be able to adapt and gradually increase the dosage.

If you do take too much calcium there can be some side effects. In mild cases if you take too much calcium for a short interval of time or it is slightly too high, side effects can include an upset stomach, some level of acid reflux or reaction or constipation as your body has to work to expel the excess calcium. In rare instances of chronic overuse of calcium then there can be more serious side effects.

If you are unsure what the proper dosage is, consult with your medical professional and check the product packaging for the RDA (recommended dietary allowance) as well. The RDA will vary depending on age, gender and in general your activity level as well.

Are There Risks Associated With Consuming Too Much Of It?

Calcium can cause constipation; if taking as a supplement it is generally useful to also supplement magnesium to help avoid this problem. Consistently high calcium intake can lead to loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and increased urination. This can eventually cause problems with proper kidney function and even cause irregular heartbeat.

Are There Risks Associated With Consuming Too Little Of It?

Calcium deficiency can cause a wide array of symptoms. Typically these will begin with more minor symptoms such as muscle cramps, lethargy, and numbness in the body. This can progress to more serious symptoms such as confusion, skin rashes or irritation, and even skeletal malformation. Calcium deficiency in infants can cause rickets, and calcium deficiency in older adults is known to be a contributing factor for osteoporosis.

It looks like all of those milk commercials you saw as a child were right–it is definitely important to get your daily dose of calcium and vitamin D! Yes, for healthy bones. Also, though, for so much more.

Keeping your heart healthy, along with many other important jobs. Calcium is a crucial part of any diet aimed at helping you feel your best. While supplements can help with this, as always it is helpful to get the majority of your required nutrients from whole foods that already have everything you need smartly packaged to be as bioavailable as possible.

How to Pick a Good Calcium Product

Most calcium products will have little variability in their ingredients, generally it will just be calcium, therefore you’ll have to identify which version of calcium is the right choice for you and look for that option. Calcium comes in capsule forms, powders to mix with drinks, drops and more. It is also often combined with other minerals which is a factor consider.

Be sure when selecting a product to review any additional ingredients aside from calcium, such as additional supplements, fillers, artificial additives etc. as these may carry their own side effects or dilute the quality of the product.

Finally, as with any good product decision, look for reputable brands that are backed by strong scientific backgrounds, as well as offering a strong value. A good rule of thumb in terms of comparing price and value is to evaluate the price per dose rather than overall dose, as most products will have varying sizes.

Top 10 Calcium Products

We have put together a list of our top 10 recommended calcium supplements. Each one has a short breakdown of its highlights, primary ingredients and usages, as well as a brief profile for the company who makes the product.

Check out all 10 and look for the best option that not only comes highly recommended but fits your individual needs and desires for a calcium supplement. We hope you enjoy and find the best product for you!


1. Solgar Calcium Magnesium with Vitamin D3

Solgar Calcium Magnesium With Vitamin D3

This calcium supplement also contains solid amounts of magnesium and vitamin D. These three particular nutrients work together within the human body, thus combining them into one product makes them even more effective. This product contains 100% of the recommended daily value of each one, making it an excellent calcium supplement.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • 1000mg calcium citrate per serving
  • 500mg magnesium, a combination of magnesium oxide and magnesium citrate
  • 400iu vitamin D3
  • 100% of the recommend daily value of all 3 nutrients
  • Well-known and established brand

Company Profile:

Solgar is one of the oldest, most respected and trusted brands in the health and supplement industry. Having started in 1947, they have been producing “top-quality, innovative, science-based nutritional supplements to support their total health and well-being” for decades. They utilize the Solgar Gold Standard to ensure their manufacturing practices are a high quality.

Why We Recommend It:

This calcium supplement delivers a solid dose of calcium as well as magnesium and vitamin D. With these three synergistic ingredients together, this makes for a strong and effective supplement for improved overall health. Solgar is an excellent and established brand, thus this is an effective and trustworthy option for additional calcium.

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2. Rainbow Light Calcium Citrate Mini-Tablets

Rainbow Light Calcium Citrate Mini Tablets

Mini tabs from Rainbow Light are high quality calcium supplements, with 800mg of calcium citrate in each serving. Calcium citrate is one of the best forms of calcium for its high absorption and this product not only uses it but also includes boron, spirulina and other ingredients for superior absorption.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • 800mg calcium citrate per serving
  • 900iu vitamin D3
  • Boron, spirulina, horsetail extract and more for improved absorption.
  • Mini tabs make it an easy to swallow options
  • One of the more affordable options on the market
  • Well-known brand for micronutrients

Company Profile:

Rainbow Light is the producer of Calcium Citrate Mini-Tablets and is a large nutritional supplement company. Unlike some of the compatriots on this list, they are less geared towards serious lifters, fitness enthusiasts and athletes, and more towards overall good health and wellness.

Why We Recommend It:

This is an excellent product for calcium that provides superior absorption. Rainbow Light has a great reputation, so you know you are getting a quality product and effective calcium for an affordable price, which makes this one of our best values available for a calcium product.

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3. Bluebonnet Calcium Citrate Magnesium and Vitamin D3

Bluebonnet Calcium Citrate Magnesium And Vitamin D3

Bluebonnet Calcium Citrate Magnesium and Vitamin D3 delivers on its name with effective ingredients calcium, magnesium and vitamin D3. These three synergistic ingredients are also chelated for superior absorption and at an affordable price, making it one of the best products available.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • 1000mg calcium citrate
  • 400mg magnesium aspartate
  • 800iu vitamin D3
  • Chelated for better absorption
  • Very affordable

Company Profile:

Blue Bonnet Nutrition was founded in 1991 and have continued to grow and progress into a reputable company for supplements and nutrition. They specialize in creating natural and effecting supplements by combining science and nature, which has helped them create a wide variety of products.

Why We Recommend It:

This is an excellent calcium supplement, using natural sources to provide 100% of the recommended daily value of calcium, as well as including magnesium and vitamin which work in synergy with calcium for optimal health. It is also an affordable product, making it a great value.

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4. GNC Calcium Plus 1000

Gnc Calcium Plus 1000

GNC Calcium Plus 1000 is another excellent calcium product made by a well-known retailer of supplements and nutritional products. It also includes magnesium and vitamin D, which helps the body to more readily absorb calcium.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • 1000mg calcium carbonate per serving
  • 500mg magnesium
  • 800iu vitamin D3
  • Comes from a very well-known retail brand
  • Very affordable and easy to take

Company Profile:

GNC is best known as a popular retailer of a variety of fitness and nutritional supplements, often found in malls and other similar retail areas. They do have their own products as well, and as a brand associated with health and fitness they take pride in excellent products and customer service.

Why We Recommend It:

This is an excellent choice from a very well-known retailer for a calcium supplement that supplies 100% of the recommended daily value. With added magnesium and vitamin D for improved absorption, it has everything you need from an effective calcium supplement.

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5. Kirkland Signature Calcium Citrate Magnesium and Zinc

Kirkland Signature Calcium Citrate Magnesium And Zinc

This calcium supplement from Kirkland Signature is a unique offering that not only includes the requisite amounts of calcium, magnesium and vitamin D, but also includes zinc, copper and manganese for a more complete micronutrient package.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • 500mg calcium citrate
  • 80mg magnesium oxide
  • 800iu vitamin D3
  • 10mg zinc
  • Also includes copper, manganese, and boron
  • Two capsule serving size
  • Very affordable

Company Profile:

Kirkland signature is the Costco store brand known for a variety of products, vitamins and supplements among them. Costco works with other reputable companies for help producing their products and then sells them under the Kirkland name, ensuring quality and effectiveness.

Why We Recommend It:

This is an excellent product that includes several additional ingredients beyond the normal calcium, magnesium and vitamin D package. Unfortunately, it does not have as high an amount of the three primary ingredients in each dose, especially calcium at only 500mg per serving, but overall is an effective product.

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6. Solaray Calcium Magnesium Zinc

Solaray Calcium Magnesium Zinc

This supplement from Solaray says exactly which minerals it contains with calcium, magnesium and zinc. While many products combine calcium and magnesium with vitamin D, this product combines it with zinc, a mineral we often do not get enough of.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • 1000mg calcium, a mix of calcium citrate, calcium carbonate, calcium chelate, and calcium hydroxide
  • 500mg magnesium, a mix of magnesium oxide, magnesium citrate, and magnesium chelate
  • 25mg zinc
  • Well-known and longtime brand
  • Serving size is 4 capsules
  • More expensive than most

Company Profile:

Solaray is a division of Nutraceutical and has been in business since their founding in 1973. In 1993, they were acquired by Nutraceutical, and have continued to grow over the years. They are committed to maintaining rigorous quality and consistency standards yet continuing to keep their prices affordable and reasonable.

Why We Recommend It:

This is a great calcium and magnesium product, but also an excellent choice for additional zinc as well. Unfortunately, it does have a bulky serving size and is more expensive than some alternatives, but overall it provides all the nutrients needed in a calcium product.

7. Swanson Calcium Citrate & Vitamin D

Swanson Calcium Citrate Vitamin D

This product from Swanson delivers 630mg of calcium per serving using the citrate formula for improved absorption. It also has vitamin 2 and is a simple yet effective calcium supplement option.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • 630mg calcium citrate per serving
  • 400iu vitamin D
  • Serving size is 2 capsules
  • Reputable brand

Company Profile:

Swanson Health is a GMP-certified supplement producer that creates health products for a variety of needs and issues. They focus on creating high quality and effective products that focus on quality, purity and consistency. Coupled with excellent service for customers they are a quality company.

Why We Recommend It:

These are quality calcium pills that are simple and effective. They provide only calcium and vitamin D with superior absorption and bioavailability. They do have less calcium than many of their competitors so if you are looking for a stronger calcium supplement than these may not be the best choice, but they are still a quality product overall.

8. Citracal Calcium+D3, Slow Release

Citracal Calcium And D3 Slow Release

This product from Citracal is one of the strongest sources of calcium and vitamin D available on the market. With 1200mg of calcium and 1000iu of vitamin D3, it is a potent supplement, and it uses a slow release formula for long lasting effects.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • 1200mg calcium blend of calcium calcium carbonate and calcium citrate
  • 1000iu vitamin D
  • 80mg magnesium hydroxide
  • Slow release formula
  • 2 tablets serving size

Company Profile:

Citracal is a smaller component of Bayer. Bayer is one of the largest and oldest pharmaceutical and supplement companies in the world, dating back it to is German roots in 1863. They make a massive range of products in the health, medicine and nutrition industries.

Why We Recommend It:

If you are looking for a potent fiber and vitamin D supplement, this is the product for you. It has more than the recommended daily serving and its slow release formula means it will deliver long lasting results over time.

9. Amway Nutrilite Cal Mag D Advanced

Amway Nutrilite Cal Mag D Advanced

Amway Nutrilite Cal Mag D Advanced is a simple and effective calcium supplement that also includes zinc and manganese. It has a small serving size of tablets and is perfect for those looking for a lighter version of calcium.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • 200mg calcium
  • 200iu vitamin D
  • 7mg magnesium
  • Additional zinc and manganese

Company Profile:

Amway is one of the largest multi-level marketing companies in the world with products across nearly every business and product category. They have a nutrition and health product line an distribute it through their network of small business owners.

Why We Recommend It:

This is a quality product, although it has far less calcium per dose than its competitors. That can be a benefit for those looking for smaller doses of a calcium supplement or who are more sensitive to it, it can also be a benefit for those looking to customize their dose.

10. Nature’s Bounty Coral Calcium

Natures Bounty Coral Calcium Plus Vitamin D3 And Magnesium

Nature’s Bounty Coral Calcium delivers the standard calcium, magnesium, vitamin D combo with a slight twist, as their calcium source comes from coral calcium. It has 1000mg coral calcium, though the actual mineral content is actually 370mg, making it a smaller and safer dose.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • 370mg calcium, extracted from 1000mg coral calcium
  • 400iu vitamin D3
  • 56mg magnesium from magnesium oxide and magnesium citrate
  • An affordable option with good reviews

Company Profile:

Nature’s Bounty is one of the largest supplement and vitamin manufacturers in the world. Founded in 1971, their products can be found in many local stores and retailers. They have been producing quality products for decades and continue to produce quality vitamins and supplements.

Why We Recommend It:

The differentiator for this product is that its calcium content is derived from coral calcium, thus while the label says 1000mg further digging shows that it is 1000mg coral calcium which translates to 370mg of calcium mineral content, which is smaller than most. Nevertheless, it is an effective product and affordable.

References:

Beto,Judith A. The Role Of Calcium in Human Aging. National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, 2015.

Chronic Conditions Team. Is Your Body Stealing Calcium From Your Bones?. Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials, 2015.

National Osteoporosis Foundation. Calcium/ Vitamin D. National Osteoporosis Foundation, 2017.

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Carl Putman

Written by Carl Putman

Carl Putman is a strength and conditioning coach at the collegiate level and writer on fitness, health and supplements. Over the past decade, he has worked with a wide variety of clients ranging from professional athletes and world champions to youth and general population, as well as tactical practitioners. He is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Organizational Leadership. Based in Florida, he continues to train and coach as well as write with a passion for making a positive impact for his clients and readers.