The 7 Best Calcium Supplements of 2020

Build strong bones and prevent disease with a daily dose of calcium

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First Look

Best Overall: Nature Made Calcium at Amazon

"This highly-rated, cost-effective calcium offers 600 mg of calcium carbonate plus D3, to help with absorption."

Best for Osteoporosis: Nature’s Bounty Calcium at Amazon

"Users love these liquid filled capsules that are on the larger side but soft enough for easy swallowing."

Best for Women: Caltrate 600 + D3 Minis at Amazon

"The standout feature about these pills is their easy-to-swallow size."

Best Vegan: Garden of Life My Kind Organic Plant Calcium at Amazon

"Unlike other calcium products on our list, this one is made with real fruits and vegetables, with 800 mg of calcium from organic algae."

Best for Kids: L’il Critters Calcium Gummy Bears at Amazon

"These gummies will make your children excited to take their vitamins."

Best Powder: NOW Calcium Carbonate Pure Powder at Amazon

"One half teaspoon of this kosher, vegan, non-GMO, and soy-free powder offers 600mg of calcium carbonate."

Best Tasting: Viactiv Calcium Plus D Milk Chocolate Chews at Amazon

"Many people opt to take them after dinner—a two-in-one dessert and supplement."

Calcium is a critical micronutrient. Not only is it the primary mineral, along with vitamin D, involved in bone density, but is crucial in the health and development of other tissues, cells, muscles, cardiac function, clotting, and even your teeth, explains D. Barry Boyd, MD, MS, a Yale Medicine hematologist, oncologist, nutritionist, and author of The Cancer Recovery Plan. “It's involved in cellular signaling and the level in your blood is critical for normal physiologic function and is carefully controlled by the body,” he explains.

Many people get the calcium they need without taking a supplement, as it is abundant in food—and this should always be the preferred source, according to Dr. Boyd. “The best source of foods for calcium are dairy products, including yogurt, milk, and cheese. Not only are they high in calcium, but are well absorbed. Green leafy vegetables, nuts, and other foods contain calcium but are less efficiently absorbed. In addition, non-dairy milk and other foods including cereals are often supplemented with calcium, adding to dietary sources," he explains. 

However, some people have issues in terms of absorption. “In many individuals, with inadequacy of calcium intake, it may be necessary to take a supplement,” Dr. Boyd says.

He explains that choosing a calcium supplement carefully is of the utmost importance due to the potential of over supplementation

The amount of calcium your body needs is age and gender-dependent, but fluctuates between 1000 and 1200 milligrams a day. When supplementing, this doesn’t mean you should opt for a supplement with that daily recommended amount—you need to consider how much you are consuming in the diet and how your body is absorbing from those food sources first, he explains. For example, if you need 1000 mg per day and take in 500 from food, you should stick with a supplement offering around 500 to bring your daily total to 1000. 

Over supplementation can result in a variety of health consequences, ranging from mild side effects such as GI distress (“constipation is a common side effect”) to cardiovascular disease (“there have been reports of associations between calcium and cardiovascular complications, including heart attack and stroke,” he says. “If you have thyroid issues or parathyroid issues, a history of renal or kidney stone disease you should definitely speak with your doctor before taking a calcium supplement.”

Once you have decided to take a supplement, he suggests starting with smaller amounts of calcium and working your way up. Always take supplements with food, as “they're absorbed better” this way, and drink plenty of fluids. “One of the dilemmas with calcium is that a small percentage of the population is vulnerable to kidney stones, and patients who have risk of kidney stones can have some difficulty with calcium supplementation,” he points out. 

When shopping for supplements you will notice that many of them also include vitamin D, and Dr. Boyd explains this is because it is critical to the utilization of calcium. 

There are also many types of calcium—calcium carbonate (40 percent elemental calcium), calcium citrate (21 percent elemental calcium), calcium gluconate (nine percent elemental calcium), and calcium lactate (13 percent elemental calcium). The two most popular forms are carbonate (which is the cheapest) and citrate. 

You will also notice many forms, including tablet, capsules, powder, and even chewable or gummy. Dr. Boyd reveals that calcium in chewable or gummy form may be more easily absorbed due to the fact that it is getting broken down into small particles. 

Remember, before taking calcium—or any other supplement for that matter—you should always clear it with your doctor first.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Nature Made Calcium

Nature Made Calcium
Courtesy of Amazon.

Nature’s Made is a high-quality, affordable brand that has been making scientifically-backed supplements for over 40 years. This highly-rated, cost-effective calcium offers 600 mg of calcium carbonate plus D3, to help with absorption. It is the perfect option for the average person, who needs a boost of calcium to supplement their intake from food. As far as value, you aren’t going to do much better—one bottle offers 220 days of supplementation for right around $10.

Best for Osteoporosis: Nature’s Bounty Calcium

Osteoporosis, a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both, causes bones to become weak or break. Adding calcium and vitamin D to your diet is a great way to not only take preventative measures against the disease, but to supplement any treatment medications. Nature’s Bounty Calcium is another popular calcium supplement on the market, and great for fighting bone loss. Each bottle contains 120 rapid release softgels, with each serving (two capsules) containing 1200mg calcium carbonate plus 1000IU vitamin D3 for absorption. Users love these liquid filled capsules that are on the larger side but soft enough for easy swallowing. 

Best for Women: Caltrate 600 + D3 Minis

There are so many reasons why women love Caltrate Minis, which are derived specifically for women in mind. First, each serving offers an ample amount of calcium carbonate—600 mg—enough vitamin D for proper absorption, and additional essential minerals like zinc, copper, and manganese, which will aid in further collagen production. However, the standout feature about these pills is their easy-to-swallow size. The biggest complaint that many people have with other supplements is that the pill or capsules are too large to comfortably go down. However, these tablets are 35 percent smaller than average—while still offering all the calcium you need to get through the day. 

Best Vegan: Garden of Life My Kind Organic Plant Calcium

Garden Of Life is one of the go-to brands for vegans seeking high quality supplements and vitamins made without any animal products. Unlike other calcium products on our list, this one is made with real fruits and vegetables and contains 800 mg of calcium from organic algae. It is also certified organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, and vegan. These easy-to-swallow pills are on the smaller, requiring three pills for one serving. 

Best for Kids: L’il Critters Calcium Gummy Bears

It might be hard to get your children to swallow a vitamin or supplement. However, getting them to eat candy seems to be effortless. This is why L’il Critter Calcium Gummy Bears are a no brainer for the young. Keep in mind that each gummy contains much less calcium than the average adult supplement—just 110 mg—which is partially due to the fact that children under the age of nine need 1,000 mg or less per day. That, paired with the fact that the majority of children get most of their calcium from food, means that they don’t need to take as much in supplement form, per Dr. Boyd. Aside from the fact that these gummies will make your children excited to take their vitamins, you will also appreciate that they are free of high fructose corn syrup, synthetic dyes, and gluten.

Best Powder: NOW Calcium Carbonate Pure Powder

Some people prefer getting their daily dose of calcium in powder form. After all, it can be easily added to any drink or food for an extra boost. One half teaspoon of this kosher, vegan, non-GMO, and soy-free powder offers 600mg of calcium carbonate. However, keep in mind that just like the name says, Calcium Carbonate Pure Powder is just pure calcium in powder form, so you may need to take vitamin D separately to maximize absorption. 

Best Tasting: Viactiv Calcium Plus D Milk Chocolate Chews

While your average chocolate bar isn’t going to offer up all the calcium you need in a day, two chocolate flavored Viactiv chews get the job done. While these delicious nutrient-packed treats seem too-good-to-be true, fans attest they are the real deal, providing 100 percent of the daily recommended calcium carbonate in addition to vitamins D (63 percent daily value) and K (33 percent daily value). As far as sugar goes, they have half the sugar compared to the leading calcium gummy vitamins and supplements and will add just 15 calories to your daily total. Many people opt to take them after dinner—a two-in-one dessert and supplement.

Final Verdict

Nature Made Calcium is a high-quality, science-backed option that will give you the most bang for your buck. It has everything you need—an ample amount of calcium carbonate for the average person and just the right amount of vitamin D to ensure proper absorption. Out of all the calcium supplements on Amazon, it is the best-selling and one of the most highly rated for a reason. However, if you are looking for a more specialized product or prefer taking your supplements in chewable or powder form, there are a variety of other effective calcium supplements to choose from. 

What to Look for in a Calcium Supplement

Type of Calcium: As previously mentioned, there are a few types of calcium, all of which will get the job done. However, the two most popular are carbonate, the cheapest, and citrate. 

Other Ingredients: Nearly every supplement we picked offers vitamin D as well to help with absorption. If you opt for a product without it, you should seriously consider taking vitamin D separately. Additionally, some products—especially gummies—have added sugar, while others are made with animal products. If you have specific dietary restrictions, be sure to check the ingredients before purchasing. 

Dosage: It’s important to remember that you don’t need a supplement to fulfil 100 percent of your recommended calcium intake. As Dr. Boyd explained, most of us get a significant amount of calcium from the foods and drinks we consume. To avoid over supplementing, try and calculate how much you are absorbing this way, and stick to a supplement that gives you exactly what you need. 

Type: Do you prefer your supplements in capsule, tablet, powder, or gummy/chewable form?  As with most supplements, calcium can be taken a variety of ways. If you have trouble swallowing a large pill, you should look at only those smaller in size or a chewable or powder option. Chewables are generally better for children, as they are a more motivating option. 

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As an internationally recognized health writer and product guru, Leah Groth understands that nobody wants to waste their time or money on products that fail to rear results. Over the years, she has interviewed the world's top health experts and reviewed hundreds of items, to help readers like you discover the most effective health gadgets, goops, and aids that will help you look and feel your very best.

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