Stay Strong and Healthy: The Best Calcium Supplements of 2018 | Smarter Reviews

Stay Strong and Healthy: The Best Calcium Supplements of 2018

Maintaining healthy bones is important for all ages. Getting strong and staying strong as we age is essential to an improved well-being.

Stay Strong and Healthy: The Best Calcium Supplements of 2018

Are you considering taking a calcium supplement? Calcium is absolutely essential for good bone health, yet it is a mineral that we often forget about.

Calcium is crucial for bone health and is a must for good bone health throughout your life. Too little calcium as a child can prevent you from growing to your full adult height. Too little calcium as an adult can lower your bone mass, a condition known as osteopenia.

To help you decide if you should invest in a calcium supplement, here is a quick look at why you need one, as well as information on what to look for and what to avoid in a calcium supplement.

Why Do You Need a Calcium Supplement?

Not everyone needs a calcium supplement, especially if you eat a varied, healthy diet. But they are essential for a calcium-deficient diet. Here's why:

Strong bones

Osteopenia increases your risk of developing osteoporosis. Osteoporosis weakens your bones, making you more prone to fractures and delaying their healing time.

These fractures may be caused by the slightest thing, such as bumping into furniture or coughing. Around 1 in 4 women and 1 in 17 men over the age of 65 have osteoporosis. (1)

Many did not know this until they broke a bone. While osteoporosis is primarily seen in the elderly, it can affect adults as young as 20 years old. (2)

Proper Muscle Function

When your calcium levels are low, your muscles can cramp. This is because calcium is necessary for nerve impulses to transmit information between nerve fibers.

Flexibility

The better shape your bones are in, the easier it is for your body to be flexible. Increased flexibility becomes increasingly important as we age to help prevent injuries, especially from falls.

What to Avoid in a Supplement

When shopping for a calcium supplement, here are a few reasons why you should check the label, and maybe try another brand.

Ingredients that may contain lead

Avoid supplements that contain certain ingredients. This includes dolomite, coral, bone meal, and unrefined oyster shell. They could contain lead or other toxic metals.

include considerably more calcium than you need

While calcium is crucial for your health, too much calcium has been known to cause kidney stones and the calcification of soft tissue.

require you to take a large dose at one time

It’s best to take small doses (no more than 500 mg) several times throughout the day. (3) This facilitates absorption and can help alleviate side effects, such as bloating, constipation, and gas.

What to Look for in a Calcium Supplement

There are several things you should consider when selecting a calcium supplement. Following the tips below will help you narrow down your options.

Look at the form of calcium

Typically calcium is available in combination with a second substance, primarily citrate or carbonate. (4) Citrate is more easily absorbed by your body, but it is only 21% calcium, meaning that you likely have to take a greater number of pills to meet your daily requirements.

On the other hand, carbonate contains the highest amount of elemental calcium (around 40% by weight), but it does require stomach acid for proper absorption. This means it is best taken with food.

You’ll have to decide which is best for you. However, if you frequently forget to take your supplements with meals, you will probably get the most benefit from calcium citrate.

Opt for a supplement that contains vitamin D

Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. Although they don’t necessarily have to be taken together to work, taking a combination supplement will likely be easier than taking two different supplements.

Magnesium and zinc are two other minerals that help with bone health, so look for these as well.

Pay attention to the amount of elemental calcium

This is the actual amount of calcium in the supplement. Look at the serving size so that you know exactly how much is in each tablet.

OUR SPECIALIZED RANKING SYSTEM

Now, that you have a better understand of calcium supplements and how you can benefit from their use, it’s time to look at some of the most popular products on the market. At Smarter Reviews, we employ a comprehensive evaluation system to analyze and measure the full value of products. This is based on component quality, safety, potential effectiveness, return policies, and overall customer satisfaction. We call our method the Smarter Reviews Ranking System.

TOP 5 Calcium SUpplements

Now, it's time to look at five of the calcium supplements.

1. Calcium Citrate Magnesium Plus Vitamin D3 Caplets

Total Ranking

621 votes

9.7/10

A+

Overall Grade

  • Product Safety
    8.4 Avg.

    9.8/10

  • Projected Effectiveness
    8.1 Avg.

    9.8/10

  • Value
    8.2 Avg.

    9.6/10

  • Return Policy
    8.8 Avg.

    9.5/10

  • Customer Satisfaction
    8.0 Avg.

    9.6/10

    Vote and Review

Vote and Review

5/10

PROS

  • At less than 25 cents per caplet, this is an affordable, high-quality calcium supplement
  • Well-established reputation for manufacturing excellence
  • Readily available online

CONS

  • Pills are “giant with hard edges” that make them rough to swallow
  • You have to take 4 of them
The Bottom Line

A family-owned supplement business in Texas, this Bluebonnet Calcium Citrate Magnesium Plus Vitamin D3 supplement is made with non-GMO ingredients and is vegan and gluten free. It does contain high potency calcium citrate, which is easy for your stomach to absorb because it is an acidic molecule. (5)

Bluebonnet is known for highly effective supplements and this one contains 200% of your daily recommended vitamin D3, 100% of your daily recommended calcium (as calcium citrate), and 100% of your daily recommended magnesium. In other words, it has the ingredients necessary to be effective and customers vouch for its effectiveness.

Most customers not only rave about this product, but report they have been using it for years because their “bloodwork shows it works.” Comments frequently include “high quality,” “good value for the money,” “best calcium supplement therapeutically,” and “highly satisfied.” A few users did report some stomach upset when they first started taking the supplement, while others complained about the large caplet size.

Not only does the supplement contain 100% of your daily recommended calcium, but it also includes magnesium and vitamin D3. Best of all, Bluebonnet puts their supplements through a rigorous verification process in terms of the ingredients and formula to make sure you only receive the best supplements. When you also consider the consistently high customer satisfaction ratings, it is easy to see why this ranks at the top of our calcium supplement list.*

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

Learn About Our Top Pick

2. Calcium With Vitamin D3

Total Ranking

315 votes

9.4/10

A

Overall Grade

  • Product Safety
    8.4 Avg.

    9.5/10

  • Projected Effectiveness
    8.1 Avg.

    9.4/10

  • Value
    8.2 Avg.

    9.3/10

  • Return Policy
    8.8 Avg.

    9.4/10

  • Customer Satisfaction
    8.0 Avg.

    9.3/10

    Vote and Review

Vote and Review

5/10

PROS

  • Large dose of calcium
  • Contains vitamin D3 to improve calcium absorption
  • Coating helps with swallowing

CONS

  • Calcium carbonate should be taken with food
  • Pills are large
  • Not gluten-free (contains soy)
The Bottom Line

Nature’s Wonder Calcium with Vitamin D3 contains a large dose of calcium carbonate in each serving. 1200 mg of calcium, or 92 percent of the average daily value, is a good amount, but it also comes with 1,000 IU of vitamin D3, which, as mentioned earlier, helps the body absorb calcium. This combination should prove to be quite a powerful duo.

While Nature’s Wonder is not the most well-known of brands, it does create its products in FDA-audited facilities and packages them under Good Manufacturing Practice standards. That said, there is not a glut of information on Nature’s Wonder available in online reviews.

Of those customers who did leave reviews, most are positive. They remark that the vitamin D3 and calcium combination works well, but also note that, since the calcium is in carbonate form, it’s important to always take the supplement with food.*

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

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3. 600+D3 Plus Minerals Minis

Total Ranking

328 votes

9.2/10

a-

Overall Grade

  • Product Safety
    8.4 Avg.

    9.3/10

  • Projected Effectiveness
    8.1 Avg.

    9.2/10

  • Value
    8.2 Avg.

    8.9/10

  • Return Policy
    8.8 Avg.

    9.2/10

  • Customer Satisfaction
    8.0 Avg.

    9.3/10

    Vote and Review

Vote and Review

5/10

PROS

  • Mini tablets are much easier to swallow
  • Includes several other essential vitamins and minerals
  • Very positive customer reviews

CONS

  • Contains potentially hazardous red 40 lake
The Bottom Line

Caltrate 600+D3 Plus Minerals Minis contains 400% of your daily recommended vitamin D3 and 60% of your calcium. It even contains large amounts of manganese, magnesium, zinc, and copper.

According to Caltrate’s official website, this is the #1 selling brand of calcium supplements in the US and is considered one of the most trusted, carefully developed calcium supplements on the market. (6) However, it is worth noting that the supplement does contain at least one ingredient, red 40 lake, that has been linked to potential health hazards. (7)

Customers who have reviewed this supplement appreciate its “small size that’s easy to swallow.” Reviews often include comments such as “great product that performs to expectations” and “great value for your money.” Several customers pointed out that the tablets had a “chalky taste” and left their stomach upset.*

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

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4. Super Calcium

Total Ranking

581 votes

8.8/10

b+

Overall Grade

  • Product Safety
    8.4 Avg.

    8.9/10

  • Projected Effectiveness
    8.1 Avg.

    9/10

  • Value
    8.2 Avg.

    9.1/10

  • Return Policy
    8.8 Avg.

    8.8/10

  • Customer Satisfaction
    8.0 Avg.

    8.7/10

    Vote and Review

Vote and Review

5/10

PROS

  • Low price
  • Contains vitamin D3 and other minerals
  • Free of preservatives and artificial flavors

CONS

  • Very large pills
  • Contains added ingredients, including sugar, salt, wheat, and yeast
The Bottom Line

Although the ‘Schiff’ name isn’t as well-known as some of the other brands on this list, it has been around since 1936. That said, Schiff Super Calcium has not been around for that long. This supplement contains safe amounts of calcium (in carbonate) as well as vitamin D3, since calcium carbonate can be difficult for the body to absorb. (8)

Unfortunately, there is not a consensus when it comes to customer satisfaction. For every person that refers to it as an “excellent product at a good price,” there is another who states it is a “huge horse pill.” One reported they could not tell either way how well the supplement worked because it was simply “too big to swallow." That said, it is very affordable.*

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

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5. Calcium (Citrate)

Total Ranking

576 votes

8.4/10

b-

Overall Grade

  • Product Safety
    8.4 Avg.

    9/10

  • Projected Effectiveness
    8.1 Avg.

    8/10

  • Value
    8.2 Avg.

    8.4/10

  • Return Policy
    8.8 Avg.

    8.5/10

  • Customer Satisfaction
    8.0 Avg.

    8.4/10

    Vote and Review

Vote and Review

5/10

PROS

  • Hypoallergenic
  • Contains calcium in citrate form
  • High-quality, pure ingredients

CONS

  • High price
  • Small dose compared to other supplements
  • Some reviewers say the pills are "hard to swallow"
The Bottom Line

Unlike the other supplements on this list, Calcium (Citrate) by Pure Encapsulations only contains calcium (as calcium citrate) with no vitamin D3. Each serving provides 23% of your daily recommended value. It is an effective low-dose source of calcium.

Pure Encapsulations is known for manufacturing supplements that are hypoallergenic and contain zero hydrogenated fat, artificial sweeteners, gluten, coatings, magnesium stearate, and artificial colors. Their supplements are created using the highest quality ingredients and with the help of experienced healthcare professionals. In other words, Pure Encapsulations supplements are about as safe as they come.

Customers are mostly positive about their experiences with this supplement saying they were of "excellent quality" and "blood tests show improvement in calcium levels."*

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

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Citations

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/features/osteoporosis
  2. https://www.iofbonehealth.org/new-review-outlines-screening-strategies-osteoporosis-young-adults
  3. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-Consumer/
  4. https://www.health.harvard.edu/nutrition/choosing-a-calcium-supplement
  5. https://www.livestrong.com/article/350025-difference-between-calcium-citrate-carbonate/
  6. https://www.caltrate.com/frequently-asked-questions
  7. https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/is-red-dye-40-toxic#hazards
  8. https://labdoor.com/article/calcium-carbonate-vs-calcium-citrate-which-is-better-for-human-health

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