Having enough calcium in our body is important for optimal bone health throughout your entire life. Our body doesn’t produce calcium, so we must get it through other sources.
Even though a proper diet is an ideal way of providing your system with enough calcium the best calcium supplement could be an option if you are not able to get enough calcium by foods only.
This oftentimes is the case when you follow a vegan diet, you consume large amounts of protein or sodium (causes your body to excrete more calcium), folks with lactose intolerance, who limit dairy products, people who have osteoporosis, receiving long-term treatment with corticosteroids, or/and suffer certain bowel or digestive diseases (inflammatory bowel disease or celiac disease).
But do calcium supplements work? Before purchasing any calcium supplement that you can find online let’s find out about the best calcium supplement for you, the benefits of calcium supplement, and the calcium supplement side effects.
Benefits of calcium supplement
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. While there are many benefits of a calcium supplement it is important to understand how it will help you as an individual based on your needs and training.
Let me help you to find the best calcium supplement which by the way is only one of the many supplements for runners to consider. These are the benefits of calcium supplements for you:
- Build and maintain strong bones
- Calcium is vital for bone health
- Calcium helps regulate muscle contraction
- Calcium is crucial for blood clotting
- Along with vitamin D, may benefit from calcium supplement beyond bone health (protecting against cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure)
- Your cholesterol values may improve
Does calcium help you sleep?
Always discussed along when talking about the best calcium citrate supplement is sleep. Calcium also helps your brain use the amino acid tryptophan to manufacture the sleep-inducing substance melatonin.
Humans who have a low level of calcium, they likely to have disturbed sleep patterns and, particularly in the REM sleep phase as well.
If you normalize your blood calcium levels by eating enough calcium-rich food or taking the best calcium supplement, this can help to restore the natural course of sleep.
What is the best form of calcium to take?
There are many ways to optimize your calcium levels, but if you’re looking for the best calcium citrate supplement, make sure to understand the best form of calcium to take.
Each has benefits and downsides. By talking to a doctor you may find out the best one that works for you. Important to know is that elemental calcium is a pure mineral. Calcium in its natural form exists with other compounds though.
Calcium supplements as part of essential vitamins for runners have different proportions of calcium compounds and elemental calcium.
- Calcium carbonate: This type of calcium supplement is commonly available. It is relatively cheap and convenient. It contains 40% elemental calcium and should be taken with food so that the stomach acid helps the body absorb it. Calcium carbonate supplements tend to be the best value.
- Calcium lactate: This calcium supplement contains 13% elemental calcium.
- Calcium gluconate: It only contains 9% elemental calcium.
- Calcium citrate: Calcium citrate supplements contain 21% elemental calcium. It can be consumed with or without food. Oftentimes used especially by people who suffer from inflammatory bowel disease, achlorhydria, and some absorption disorders. Calcium citrate supplements are absorbed more easily than calcium carbonate. Calcium citrate is only 21% calcium, which means you may need to take more tablets to get your daily requirement.
Based on advice from the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), your body needs the following amounts of calcium. Here you’ll find out how much calcium is too much:
- 0–6 months: 200 mg
- 7–12 months: 260 mg
- 1–3 years: 700 mg
- 4–8 years: 1,000 mg
- 9–18 years: 1,300 mg
- 19–50 years: 1,000 mg
- 51–70 years: 1,000 mg for males / 1,200 mg for females
- 71 years and above: 1,200 mg
The absolute best calcium supplement for athletes
Now since you know the best form of calcium may be for you and you also know how much calcium you should consume per day, here are my personal best calcium supplements.
You don’t like swallowing pills? I can also recommend a liquid calcium supplement. My recommendation is also the best calcium supplement for women.
From my experience calcium supplements for men and calcium supplements for women can be the same products.
Are there calcium supplement side effects?
Unfortunately, even the best calcium supplement isn’t for everyone. Make sure to avoid calcium supplements if you have a health condition that causes excess calcium in your bloodstream (hypercalcemia).
There is some evidence that calcium supplements increase the risk of kidney stones.
Some studies show a link between calcium and heart disease, or also prostate cancer. Overall, some folks experience occur gas, constipation, and bloating. Switch brands if you’re having these symptoms.
How to take calcium for best absorption?
In order to benefit from the calcium supplement, it is necessary that your body is able to absorb it. So how should you take calcium for best absorption?
- Mostly all calcium supplements are better absorbed when taken in small doses (500 mg or less) with food
- Calcium citrate is an exception and is well absorbed with or without food. Great for folks with low stomach acid, inflammatory bowel disease, or absorption disorders.
- Which form of Calcium is best absorbed? Note that Calcium citrate supplements are absorbed more easily than calcium carbonate.
- Make sure that you’re also taking vitamin D, which supports your body to absorb calcium. You do not need to take vitamin D at the same time as a calcium supplement.
When should you take calcium supplements?
Once you found the best calcium supplement for you, read the label carefully, and check what kind of calcium the supplement contains.
Calcium citrate can be taken with or without food whereas calcium carbonate should be taken with food. Also, remember that calcium is best absorbed when it’s taken in smaller doses. This can be less than 600 mg at a time. So rather split your daily dosage into two.
Last Updated on 6. January 2022 by Sabrina Wieser
Sabrina Wieser is a running expert based in New York City and the founder of Runningbrina - She is a certified running coach and experienced marathon runner. Her expertise in enhancing running performance through training and nutrition has been recognized by many within the running community and different media outlets such as Huffington Post, the Dr Oz Show and adidas running.
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