Calcium is an important nutrient that helps the body maintain strong bones. If you feel that you are not getting enough calcium from your diet, you may want to consider supplementing to compensate. However, your body absorbs calcium better from food rather than from tablets, which is why you need to make sure you get as much calcium as possible from the dietary supplement you are taking.
Part 1 of 2: Increase the rate of calcium absorption
Step 1. Increase your magnesium intake
Magnesium helps your body absorb calcium. In addition, it contributes to the health of your bones. Make sure you get enough magnesium in your diet to help absorb calcium from your supplements.
- To increase your magnesium intake, eat whole grains, vegetables like squash, green beans, broccoli, cucumbers and spinach, as well as nuts and seeds.
- Adult women under 30 need 310 mg per day, and women over 30 need 320 mg. Men under 30 need 400 mg per day and those over 30 need 420 mg. Thirty grams of almonds contain 80 mg of magnesium.
Step 2. Take smaller, but more frequent doses of magnesium
If you need more than 500 mg of calcium per day including how much you get from your diet, divide the dietary supplement. Your body will only be able to process 500 mg of calcium at a time.
It can be dangerous to take more calcium than you need. This increases the risk of developing kidney stones and could contribute to heart problems
Step 3. Get enough vitamin D or take a dietary supplement that contains it
Vitamin D also helps in the absorption of calcium in your body. Because of this relationship, most milks contain vitamin D to help you absorb calcium.
- Many dairy products such as butter, cheese and milk contain vitamin D. Fortified grains and fish are also good sources of this vitamin.
- For adults under the age of 70, 600 iu of vitamin D per day is sufficient. Adults over 70 should consume 800 iu. To get the recommended amount, 100 g of swordfish contains 566 iu while one cup of milk contains between 115 and 124 iu.
Step 4. Take calcium carbonate with your food
This kind of calcium, which is ready to eat, is best taken with your food. It needs stomach acids to be absorbed properly, and food activates the production of stomach acids.
Other types of calcium, such as calcium citrate, don't necessarily have to be taken with your food. This kind of calcium is generally more expensive than calcium carbonate. It is a particularly good type of calcium for people who suffer from stomach problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome
Step 5. Space your intake of iron and calcium supplements by at least two hours
The same goes for multivitamin dietary supplements that contain iron.
- The body processes iron and calcium similarly, which is why you may interfere with your body's ability to process them by taking them at the same time.
- The same rule applies for the foods and drinks you consume with these two dietary supplements. Calcium supplements should not be taken with foods rich in iron such as liver or spinach. Iron supplements should not be taken with foods rich in calcium such as milk.
Step 6. Avoid eating foods that contain phytic acid or oxalic acid
These acids bind to calcium and prevent it from being absorbed. Many foods high in magnesium are also high in these acids. So while it is important to eat these foods to get the magnesium you need, you should avoid taking your supplements with these foods.
For example, spinach, many nuts and many seeds, rhubarb, sweet potatoes, beans, and cavalier cabbage are rich in phytic and oxalic acids. Whole grains and wheat are also high in these acids, but they don't seem to affect absorption as much as other foods in this category
Step 7. Don't drink too much
Alcohol can decrease your body's absorption of calcium. Drink no more than one glass per day.
Part 2 of 2: Knowing how much calcium to absorb
Step 1. Calculate the amount of calcium in your diet
To calculate the amount of calcium in your diet, you need to track what you eat by writing it down in a journal. In fact, you have to write down everything you eat every day, not forgetting the portion size. You can then calculate how much calcium you have consumed.
For example, a pot of yogurt contains 415 mg of calcium. So if you ate a pot and a half in a day, you consumed 622.5 of calcium with the yogurt
Step 2. Find out how much you need
If you are under 50, you need 1000 mg of calcium per day. If you are over 50, you should take 1200 mg per day.
Limit your calcium intake to a maximum of 2,500 mg. Although you can get more calcium than you need per day, you shouldn't get more than 2,500 mg from your diet and supplements
Step 3. Talk to your doctor about whether you need any dietary supplements
Your doctor will help you know if you need any dietary supplements based on your diet. They can also recommend the right type of calcium for you and advise you on a dietary supplement that will not interfere with any medications you may be taking.
Step 4. Learn about the risks
Some people need more calcium. For example, if you have osteoporosis or are at high risk of having it, you need to be more careful about how much calcium you consume on a daily basis, as it will help keep your bones healthy..
- Your body absorbs calcium better from food than from dietary supplements. If possible, consume the necessary calcium through your diet rather than taking dietary supplements. In addition, the foods you eat that contain calcium also contain other nutrients, including those that help you better absorb and use calcium.
- Foods rich in calcium include canned fish with bones like sardines, beans, legumes, oats, almonds, sesame seeds, and dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt, among others..
- Don't drink too much caffeine. If you drink more than two drinks a day that contain caffeine, you should decrease this amount because it decreases the amount of calcium in your body.
- If you have thyroid dysfunction, you should allow four hours between taking calcium, iron and magnesium supplements and taking anti-thyroid medications to optimize absorption.
- Some calcium supplements, especially calcium carbonate, can cause bloating, gas, and constipation. If this is a problem for you, try calcium citrate instead.