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Call us toll-free† at 1-877-510-510-2 to speak directly with a Registered Dietitian.
Getting enough calcium each day is important to keep your bones and teeth strong, and your body working properly. You may be wondering if you would benefit from a calcium supplement. Read on to learn more.
The total amount of calcium you need (from food and supplements) depends on your age and gender. Find your recommended calcium requirements here.
If you are healthy and eat a balanced diet according to Canada’s Food Guide, you do not need to take a calcium supplement. Aim for 2 to 3 servings of Milk and Alternatives each day. You can also choose non-dairy calcium sources.
If you avoid dairy products and other calcium-rich foods, you may find it difficult to meet your calcium needs from food alone. Speak to your health care provider to find out if you would benefit from a calcium supplement and how much to take.
Your health care provider may also recommend a calcium supplement based on your specific needs, medical history and any medical conditions you may have.
There are two main types of calcium supplements:
Calcium supplements are available in pills, chewable form, liquids, powders, gel capsules and tablets that dissolve in water. Choose the form that’s right for you.
When choosing a calcium supplement, look for the amount of “elemental” calcium in each tablet. Elemental calcium is the amount of calcium that your body absorbs. For example, a 1250 mg tablet of calcium carbonate may have 500 mg of elemental calcium.
Some calcium supplements contain other vitamins or minerals like vitamin D and magnesium.
When choosing a calcium supplement, check for a Natural Product Number (NPN). This means that the product has been assessed by Health Canada and is considered safe, effective and high quality.
Avoid buying supplements over the Internet or outside of Canada. There is no guarantee that they have met the safety standards set by Health Canada.
Most people are able to meet their calcium needs by eating a balanced diet based on Canada’s Food Guide. However, some people may benefit from a calcium supplement. Speak to your health care provider about your calcium needs.
Have more questions about supplements? Call EatRight Ontario and speak with a Registered Dietitian for free at 1-877-510-510-2 or send an email.
What you need to know about calcium
Food sources of calcium
Calcium and kids
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Dietitians of Canada acknowledges the financial support of EatRight Ontario by the Ontario government. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Province.