The Best Calcium for Osteopenia and Osteoporosis?

by in Calcium, Osteoporosis, Reader Questions June 11, 2008

nicolesundene.jpgQ. What calcium to you recommend for osteopenia?

A. The best calcium for those with osteoporosis and osteopenia, in my opinion, is calcium citrate. Although calcium carbonate (found in coral calcium and chewable antacids) is cheaper, it also neutralizes the stomach acid. If you have low bone density, it is worth the extra couple bucks a month to switch to calcium citrate.

Calcium requires a low pH in the stomach in order to be absorbed properly. If you are on a prescription medication to suppress stomach acid or have constant acid reflux please read my article “Stomach acid or No Stomach Acid” on the importance of hydrochloric acid, as this may be contributing to your inability to properly absorb your minerals.

Maldigestion and malabsorption are important factors to address for those with osteoporosis and osteopenia. It doesn’t matter how much calcium you are taking every day if your body is not properly absorbing or utilizing it. Calcium carbonate also typically causes constipation.

The body can only absorb 500mg of calcium at a time, so someone with osteopenia or osteoporosis should take calcium citrate- 500mg three times daily with food.

Don’t forget the vitamin D! Those with osteoporosis should be taking in the ballpark of 800-1000 IU daily. Magnesium at 400mg daily, and other trace minerals important for bone health that you can read about in our article on “Osteoporosis Prevention and Management”.

~Dr. Nicole Sundene

Naturopathic Physician

One Comment
  1. re taking calcium citrate 3x/day – how far apart (how many hours in between) should these be taken (supposing one doesn’t have 3 meals a day).

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