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Which Calcium Forms Should You Avoid?

Lara Pizzorno is the author of “Your Bones: How You Can Prevent Osteoporosis and Have Strong Bones for Life – Naturally” and a member of the American Medical Writers Association with 29 years of experience specializing in bone health.

Recently we asked Lara if she would help us provide a series of short, ongoing videos to help you (our customers and readers) stay up to date on the latest facts and science related to bone health.

In this latest video, Lara talks about the types of calcium forms that you should avoid. Watch the video below (or read the transcript provided) and let us know what you think in the comments.

Hello, I’m Lara Pizzorno and I’m here to talk with you today about how to have healthy bones. Specifically, our topic today is calcium.

In a prior video we talked about how to determine whether you were getting enough calcium from your diet or whether you needed to supplement to get the calcium you needed every day. In this video clip we are going to discuss some of the different forms of calcium supplements that are available and how to determine what one might serve you best. In this clip, I’m going to talk about the ones to avoid, and in the next clip I’m going to talk about the ones that might serve you better and what the differences between them are. So, which calcium supplements might not serve you well. Ok, these are the ones that you don’t want to buy at the health food store or order online and I’ll explain the reasons why.

These are: calcium hydroxyapatite it’s a form of calcium and then calcium from bone meal. Those are the two primary ones that I think you want to avoid. Let’s talk about hydroxyapatite first.

Hydroxyapatite is a mineral complex that is derived from cow bones, in which calcium is bound up with phosphorous and it sounds like that might be a good idea because calcium phosphate is the principal form of, in which calcium is stored in bone. The problem however is, when you ingest calcium in the form of hydroxyapatite, It will be broken down in your intestines. The phosphorous will be disassociated from the calcium, you will then absorb the calcium and you will absorb the phosphorous. Even tho it comes prepackaged it doesn’t stay that way in your body. Hydroxyapatite is very expensive and there are a number of reasons you do not want to consume extra phosphorous. In fact, I just wrote a review article for integrative medicine and clinicians journal on this issue because Americans and people in the UK are now getting so much extra phosphorous in the form of phosphate additives in processed foods and in processed meats that it is increasing our risk in all-cause mortality. Not just kidney disease and cardiovascular disease or even in people with kidney disease who have to avoid excess phosphorous consumption. This is going on in the general population now. We are consuming way too much phosphorous and you certainly don’t want to add to it with your calcium supplement, who will be providing you with more phosphorous. So too much phosphorous for our own good already – avoid hydroxyapatite.

The next form of calcium that I think you should avoid is calcium from bone meal. This fell out of favor back in the 1980s when it was found to be contaminated with lead, arsenic, mercury and cadmium, all of which are body poisons that will not only destroy your bones but your overall health. So you do not want to ingest calcium derived from bone meal.

Two other forms that while they are not harmful are not easy to use because you have to take a lot more calcium tablets are calcium lactate and calcium gluconate. You may still see these in stores but they’ve fallen out of favor because calcium lactate contains only 13% elemental calcium and calcium gluconate contains even less only 9% elemental calcium per capsule or tablet. So you have to take so many of these calcium gluconate or lactate tablets that you need handfuls of them to meet your daily needs.


Pizzorno L. Canaries in the phosphate-toxicity coal mines. Integrative Medicine, Vol. 13, No. 6, December 2014.

Straub DA. Calcium supplementation in clinical practice: a review of forms, doses, and indications. Nutr Clin Pract. 2007 Jun;22(3):286-96. PMID: 17507729

Author: Lara Pizzorno, MDIV, MA, LMT

Best-selling author of “Your Bones: How You Can Prevent Osteoporosis and Have Strong Bones for Life – Naturally” and a member of the American Medical Writers Association with 30+ years of experience specializing in bone health. Lara is the Editor of Longevity Medicine Review ( as well as a Senior Medical Editor for SaluGenecists Inc., and Integrative Medicine Advisors, LLC.