Calcium has numerous structural and metabolic roles in the body. Most of the dietary calcium we absorb goes into our bones and teeth, while the rest is important for muscle and nerve function, energy production and blood clotting. You can browse Healthspan's calcium supplement range below.
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What is calcium?
Calcium is an important mineral that can't be made in the body, so we must obtain it from our diet. The best-known dietary sources of calcium are dairy products – milk, yoghurt and cheese – but it is also found in eggs, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, tofu, tinned salmon and fortified foods such as orange juice, plant milks and cereals.
Around 99% of our body's calcium is stored in our skeleton as hydroxyapatite, with the rest stored in our blood and soft tissues. Calcium is only absorbed from the small intestine when sufficient vitamin D is present.
Calcium is vital for the maintenance of normal bones and teeth, especially as we age, and contributes to normal blood clotting, muscle function and nerve function, and energy-yielding metabolism. It also plays a part in ensuring cell division and specialisation, and the proper function of digestive enzymes.
The nutrient reference value (NRV) for calcium is 800mg per day.
Read more about the function and benefits of calcium.
The best calcium supplements
Calcium supplements can contain various forms of calcium, including calcium carbonate, calcium citrate, calcium lactate and calcium gluconate. Healthspan's supplements contain calcium carbonate, which is the purest form of the mineral and usually well tolerated.
Healthspan offers a range of calcium supplements, combined with other vitamins and minerals for a synergistic effect. One of our most popular calcium supplements is Calcium & Vitamin D, which provides 400mg of calcium and 6.7 micrograms of Vitamin D3 in chewable, vanilla-flavoured tablets (pack of 240 tablets).
Vitamin D is vital for the absorption of calcium, and regulates calcium metabolism and normal blood levels by increasing absorption in the small intestines and regulating calcium reabsorption in the kidneys.
Healthspan also offers Osteo Complete (240 tablets), a premium bone health complex containing calcium and vitamin D, alongside magnesium, which work together to maintain the musculoskeletal system.
Calcium tablets for women
Women are more prone to osteoporosis than men because their bones are less dense, and during and after menopause oestrogen levels fluctuate and drop, which speeds up bone loss.
Calcium supplementation can also be important during pregnancy, as deficiency can cause developmental problems in the child. Some studies have suggested that 1,200mg of calcium and 20 micrograms of vitamin D per day are the most effective doses for preventing bone loss in post-menopausal women. Therefore, it's important for women to look for a high-strength, good-quality calcium supplement that also contains vitamin D.
Calcium tablets for men
Although osteoporosis is less prevalent in men than women, older adults can still be at risk from bone density loss. Men over 50 – particularly those on a plant-based diet – should consider a high-strength calcium supplement combined with vitamin D to maintain their bone health.
Do you need calcium supplements?
Calcium is vital for building strong bones and helping to prevent bone loss in later life. Calcium supplements may be beneficial for certain groups of people, such as middle-aged and older adults (in particularly pregnant or post-menopausal women), people who are lactose intolerant and those on a plant-based or vegan diet.
When intakes of calcium are low, the body attempts to replenish blood levels by leaching calcium from your bones, leading to thinning. As well as osteopenia and osteoporosis (loss of bone density), other signs of calcium deficiency include muscle aches and pains, twitching, spasm and cramps, heart palpitations, high blood pressure, gum disease and loose teeth.
The upper safe level for long-term use from supplements is suggested as 1,500mg calcium per day. Calcium tablets are best taken with meals, and those taking a high dose should divide it into smaller doses spread throughout the day.
Pregnant women, people taking prescribed medications and people with a known tendency to form kidney stones should seek medical advice before taking calcium supplements.
If you need expert advice on which calcium supplement is right for you, please get in touch.