Is Your Calcium Supplement a 3 Dressed Up As a 9?

Algaecal / Calcium / Nutrition / October 18, 2012

Pills displayed in the form of a sad face

Since calcium is the 5th most-abundant element by mass in the earth’s crust, calcium, like salt or wheat, has historically been considered a commodity.

Commodities are generally perceived by consumers as equal in quality, regardless of how they’re packaged. So buyers typically reached for the cheapest calcium supplement available, as they felt ‘calcium is calcium’.

But as health and wellness took on a much greater significance in peoples’ lives, big business reacted by ‘line extending’ with all sorts of product variations on what were once simple commodities.

So now there are literally hundreds of calcium supplements on store shelves. They all are marketed in a flattering light to attract your attention and money, by convincing you that one is better than the other. Each tries to create distance from competing products by any means possible.

When overloaded with hundreds of options that claim to improve your health, it’s common to reach for a more expensive product, trusting that the extra cost will translate into extra benefit. Many people are convinced ‘you get what you pay for’ which makes shopping easy. You simply buy the most expensive product you can afford.

But ‘caveat emptor’ (buyer beware) is a much older expression- by a few centuries- and has lingered for good reason. Let’s consider this, and examine:

The 4 Clues Your Calcium Supplement May Be a “3 Dressed Up as a 9”

It says ‘calcium carbonate’ or ‘calcium citrate’ on the label.

This means your calcium supplementis derived from limestone or marble, which needless to say, is not what your body expects or wants. Our bodies are not designed to eat rocks. The proof is in the results: all calciums from rock statistically don’t increase your bone growth. They only slow down your bone loss.

As well, you may have noticed infamous headlines in the last two years announcing that calcium supplements can lead to cardiovascular complications.

The studies cited all involved calcium products sourced from rock.

On the label there is no trace of any co-factor nutrients like magnesium, manganese, vanadium and silica.

This is a problem, because your bones are made of not only calcium, but a combination of calcium and crucial trace minerals. Without these minerals present in your supplement, your bones just won’t be as strong as they could be.

Your supplement comes in tablet form.

Tablets are an outdated delivery system because they require the ingredients to be super heated, glued and pressed together, making absorption very difficult. Other known side effects of this extreme processing are bloating and constipation.

Your supplement has no added vitamin D, or provides an inadequate 800 IU per day or less.

Countless studies confirm that vitamin D is necessary to assist in calcium getting to the bones. And inadequate vitamin D levels are one of the main reasons that rock based calcium ends up collecting not in the bones where it should, but on artery walls, which can lead to cardiovascular issues.

Many calcium products have either no vitamin D added, or an amount that is too little. Numerous studies suggest that 1000 IU per day is the minimum that we should take, especially in winter months when the sun’s rays are weak.

Any less and your calcium supplement can actually do you harm.

The Proof is in the Label

Single element rock based calcium tablets have been proven to do more harm than help, as the risk of developing cardiovascular issues far outweighs the benefits of a decrease in the rate of fractures.

But they also provide a dangerous false sense of security, as some will neglect their diet, figuring that their supplement has them nutritionally covered, when often it does not.

So if your calcium supplement is guilty of any of the above listed 4 downfalls, you better shop around. Or else you’re spending your hard earned money on a “3 dressed up as a 9.”

Author: Monica Straith, BS

Linda Zarnowski
Linda Zarnowski

Hi Lara,

Recently I bought your book and then learned of your new edition. Is the additional information worth me purchasing it again or is it just a reprint of your previous book?
Also, I am confused about the correct amount of calcium to take. I believe that your book mentioned, as well as my doctor, that 1200-1500 mg is the appropriate amount daily. However, following the Algae Cal suggested does of 2 capsules AM and 2 capsules PM only equal to 720 mg daily. What do you recommend?

Gita Majid
Gita Majid

I wanted to mention that it is so important to do weight resistance or weight workouts to strengthen bones.
I would recommend using a weight vest . I like the one by NYKNYC it fits a womans body very well and feels like you are not weight training but your bones will get stronger as you walk in this vest. I have been using the nyknyc vest for a year and my doctor said my bones are already growing stronger and getting more dense!
see its not expensive either.

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