Fact Checked

This Dr. Axe content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure factually accurate information.

With strict editorial sourcing guidelines, we only link to academic research institutions, reputable media sites and, when research is available, medically peer-reviewed studies. Note that the numbers in parentheses (1, 2, etc.) are clickable links to these studies.

The information in our articles is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by our trained editorial staff. Note that the numbers in parentheses (1, 2, etc.) are clickable links to medically peer-reviewed studies.

Our team includes licensed nutritionists and dietitians, certified health education specialists, as well as certified strength and conditioning specialists, personal trainers and corrective exercise specialists. Our team aims to be not only thorough with its research, but also objective and unbiased.

The information in our articles is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

Calcium Deficiency: Are Supplements the Answer?

by Jillian Levy, CHHC

Published: September 24, 2018

Calcium deficiency - Dr. Axe

When people think of calcium, bone health is usually the first thing that comes to mind — but calcium’s benefits go far beyond helping to build and maintain a strong skeletal structure. Calcium is also needed to regulate heart rhythms, aid in muscle function, regulate blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and is involved in numerous nerve signaling functions, and much more. That is why a calcium deficiency can be so detrimental to health.

Research is now even suggesting that calcium, in combination with vitamin D, may have the ability to help protect against cancerdiabetes and heart disease too — three of the biggest threats to American’s health and the health of many other nations too.

Despite that calcium is such an important mineral, many adults and children are at risk for calcium deficiency. What are the symptoms of a calcium deficiency? Some of the most common ailments linked to low calcium levels include having brittle, weak bones that are prone to fractures, abnormal blood clotting, weakness, and delays in children’s growth and development.

Aside from dairy products like milk or yogurt, calcium can also be found in a variety of plant foods. For example, leafy green vegetables, like collard greens and kale, are great sources of calcium, as are other plant foods like almonds, sesame seeds, okra and a variety of beans. Getting some of these foods in your diet regularly can help prevent a calcium deficiency while adding a whole host of benefits. Read on the learn more about calcium deficiency symptoms, causes, risk factors and the best ways to naturally overcome and/or prevent a calcium deficiency.


What Is Calcium? Calcium’s Role in the Body

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body, stored mostly in the bones and teeth. About 99 percent of our calcium is found inside the skeletal system and dental structures (bones and teeth), mostly in the form of calcium deposits. The other remaining 1 percent is stored throughout bodily tissue. (1)

We all require a relatively high amount of calcium in comparison to many other trace minerals. In fact, we are thought to have enough calcium in our bodies to constitute 2 percent of our total body weight.

Calcium is needed to control levels of magnesium, phosphorus and potassium in the blood, since these minerals all work together to balance one another. This is why it is so important to avoid calcium deficiency and strive to consume calcium-rich foods on a regular basis. Eating a variety of mineral-rich foods helps you avoid electrolyte imbalance and allows you to reap the most benefits from these nutrients.

Hypocalcemia is the medical term for calcium deficiency (or having low levels of calcium in the circulating blood). How much calcium do you need in a day? To stay within the normal calcium range and avoid having low calcium levels, most health authorities recommend 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily for adult men and women under the age of 50. (2) Calcium needs increase to 1,200 milligrams daily for adults over 50. Children need between 200–700 milligrams per day depending on age, while teens need about 1,300 milligrams per day of calcium to support their growing bones.


Calcium Deficiency Symptoms, Risks and Causes

What are the symptoms of calcium deficiency in adults? Some of the most common calcium deficiency symptoms include: (3)

  • Brittle, weak bones and higher risk for bone fractures or osteoporosis
  • Problems with proper blood clotting
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Muscle spasms
  • Feeling “pins or needles”
  • Irritability
  • Delays in children’s growth and development
  • Heart problems involving blood pressure and heart rhythms

Part of the reason that low calcium levels can cause a range of negative symptoms is that your body pulls calcium from “calcium reserves” that are stored within your bones when your diet does not include enough. It does this to maintain enough calcium in your blood, which is needed at all times and is crucial for ongoing blood vessel and muscle function.

When your body is forced to prioritize its use of available calcium, it uses it for nerve and muscle functions, like those that control your heartbeat, rather than for supporting your bones. So, ideally you want to continue to incorporate these calcium sources to keep your calcium at optimum levels and avoid calcium deficiency.

 

Calcium Deficiency

 


Calcium Deficiency Statistics and Facts

What puts you at risk for having low calcium? Each day, we lose calcium through our skin, nails, hair, sweat, urine and stool. We also cannot make calcium ourselves within our own body, so ideally every day we must replenish our body’s supply in order to avoid calcium deficiency.

  • The people at highest risk for experiencing a calcium deficiency are children, adolescent girls and postmenopausal women. (4)
  • After infancy and childhood, calcium absorption decreases during adulthood (though it is increased during pregnancy) and continues to decrease with age. This means that adults need to consume more calcium since they absorb less.
  • What interferes with the absorption of calcium? If you eat lots of foods that contain “antinutrients” like phytic acid and oxalic acid, found naturally in some plants, these will bind to calcium and can inhibit its absorption.
  • Consuming large amounts of protein or sodium or receiving long-term treatment with corticosteroids can also block absorption.
  • Since dairy products are one of the most common sources of calcium, people who are lactose intolerant or who do not eat dairy for ethical reasons (like vegans and some vegetarians) are also at an increased risk for having a calcium deficiency.
  • It’s believed that calcium also may not be absorbed properly due to low levels of vitamin D and other essential nutrients.
  • Another theory is that the soil used to grow conventional crops that are normally high in calcium has become depleted of minerals to a certain extent — therefore calcium levels in foods are declining.
  • Other people who have digestive disorders that make it hard to break down and use calcium are also at a higher risk for calcium deficiency.

Experts believe that most adults in the U.S. — and many other developed nations too — do not get enough calcium on a daily basis. This is true despite the fact that most of these populations, including Americans and Europeans, consume plenty of dairy products. This means that there’s evidence that having several servings of dairy products per day is not enough to prevent low calcium levels and that a varied diet that includes plenty of plants is also important.

According to the 2006 and 2018 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the mean dietary calcium intakes for males over the age of 1 ranged from 871 to 1,266 milligrams per day depending on life stage and between 748 to 968 milligrams per day females. More than 50 percent of boys and girls aged 9–13 years, girls aged 14–18 years, women aged 51–70 years, and both men and women older than 70 years are believed to suffer from calcium deficiency. Overall, women are believed to be more likely to suffer from low calcium than men. (5)


10 Calcium Benefits

1. Supports Bone Health

Calcium is involved in the growth and maintenance of bones. Calcium, together with other essential minerals like vitamin K and vitamin D, is needed to maintain bone mineral density and prevent weak, brittle bones and fractures. It helps form a part of hydroxyapatite, the mineral complex that makes your bones and teeth hard and maintains bone density and helps bones heal. (6)

Without enough calcium present in the body, bones are susceptible to becoming pliable, and therefore they’d be more prone to fractures and breaks. That being said, consuming high levels of calcium alone, or taking calcium supplements, does not protect against bone problems like osteoporosis and fractures. In fact, it may even slightly increase the risk for bone fractures. Calcium needs to be obtained from natural food sources to have the most benefits, and because of this, the use of calcium supplements for preventing bone-related diseases is now being rethought.

2. May Help Prevent Osteoporosis

Calcium aids in bone strength as the bones build up calcium stores over time. Calcium supplementation has been one of the standard treatment methods used to prevent and decreases cases of osteoporosis for decades. (7)

Osteoporosis is a disease most common in women (especially postmenopausal women) that results in weak, fragile bones over time due to bone deterioration and loss of bone mineral and mass. What really occurs when someone has osteoporosis is that the bones become porous (hence the name).

Although recently there are many studies pointing to the fact that calcium alone may not directly positively influence osteoporosis risk, eating foods with plenty of calcium along with protein, vitamin K, and vitamin D can help reduce your risk for bone-related problems.

3. Helps Lower High Blood Pressure

Calcium is involved in regulating heart functions because of its role in dilating blood vessels and sending chemical nerve signals from the brain to the heart. This is important for regulating heart rhythms, blood pressure and circulation.

Supplemental dietary calcium has been shown to help lower levels of high blood pressure, whereas restricted calcium diets tend to elevate blood pressure. (8) In studies, patients have experienced a statistically significant decrease of systolic high blood pressure with calcium supplementation. (9)

It’s believed that calcium may alter blood pressure by changing the metabolism of other electrolytes and by playing a part in blood vessel activity and muscle strength. (10) However, some studies show that the effect is too small to support the use of calcium supplementation for preventing or treating hypertension at this time.

4. Defends Against Cancer

According to studies, there is a highly significant association between calcium and vitamin D intake and a lowered risk of death from at least 15 types of cancers. (11) Of these, colon, rectal, breast, gastric, endometrial, renal and ovarian cancer studies all exhibit a significant inverse relationship between cancer incidence and oral intake of calcium.

Experimental studies have shown that calcium has anticarcinogenic effects due to its participation in regulating cell proliferation, cell differentiation and inducing cell death (apoptosis) in cancerous cells. (12)

However, it’s important to note that high calcium supplementation is not currently used as a preventive measure for cancer. More evidence is still needed, and some studies even show that a high intake of calcium from certain sources, like dairy products, may actually increase prostate cancer risk.

5. Supports Muscle and Nerve Function

Calcium is involved in the release of neurotransmitters in the brain that control muscle movement and nerve signaling. Calcium helps cells communicate in order to relay nerve responses and activates certain proteins in the body that are needed by muscles to move and contract. (13) Calcium also helps with the control and release of glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream, which is used by the muscles for “fuel.”

 

Calcium benefits - Dr. Axe

 

6. Helps with Weight Loss

Increasing dietary calcium may positively affect weight and fat loss. In studies, participants experienced an increase in the percentage of fat lost from the trunk (torso) region of the body when they consumed more calcium. (14)

7. Can Help Prevent Diabetes

Vitamin D and calcium consumed together may be beneficial in optimizing glucose metabolism and helping to prevent diabetes, according to studies. (15) Vitamin D and calcium may have direct effects on the pancreatic cells that control insulin secretion and therefore blood sugar levels. Calcium is an essential component of cellular processes that occur within insulin responsive tissues like skeletal muscle and fat tissue.

In the famous 20-year Nurses’ Health Study, researchers followed 83,779 women who had no history of diabetes and vitamin D and calcium intake from diet and supplements was assessed every two to four years. During 20 years of follow-up, the study observed that a combined daily intake of more than 1,200 milligrams of calcium and more than 800 international units of vitamin D was associated with a 33 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes. (16)

8. Needed to Maintain Dental Health

Calcium is stored partially in the teeth and is needed for tooth health and maintenance. Calcium may help defend against tooth decay and has been correlated with increased dental health for similar reasons that it protects bones. (17)

9. Helps with Indigestion

Calcium is used in over-the-counter antacid tablets that help digestion by reducing heartburn and symptoms of an upset stomach. (18) But antacids often just reduce your stomach acid, which is the opposite of what you need. In fact, in nearly 80 percent of acid reflux cases, low stomach acid is the case. The reflux is actually cause by food that has been sitting in the stomach without enough stomach acid, so it ferments, creating gas and pressure that reopens the LEM muscle that is the valve between your esophagus and the stomach. This allows acid to travel up and causes the burning or pressure in your chest.

Eating calcium-rich foods can help reduce these symptoms because calcium helps the LEM valve that controls food moving into the stomach and when malfunctioning causes acid reflux. Taking calcium improves the LEM muscle function and can often help reverse the symptoms associated with GERD or acid reflux.

10. Can Help Prevent PMS Symptoms

Calcium has been shown to be useful in relieving PMS symptoms, including bloating, cramps, headaches, breast tenderness, muscle aches, fatigue and moodiness. (19) Calcium levels fluctuate during the menstrual cycle because as estrogen levels increase, calcium concentrations drop, therefore consuming enough calcium helps to balance this relationship and reduce painful symptoms.


Calcium in Ayurveda, TCM and Tradition Medicines

Many traditional systems of medicine recognized the need for a healthy diet that provided calcium for bone health and other anti-aging effects. In addition to eating foods like fish, green vegetables, nuts and beans, other natural remedies for bone strength included the use of herbs, exposure to sunlight, avoiding unnecessary drugs and tobacco, and leading a physically active lifestyle.

The Ayurvedic approach to obtaining enough calcium is to include calcium-rich foods in your daily diet, especially vegetables, herbs, spices and legumes/beans. It’s also equally important to make sure that the foods you eat “do not cause or aggravate dosha imbalances,” meaning they absorbed well and do not cause discomfort or side effects. (20)

For Vata dosha types, who tend to have bones that are thinner and more fragile, calcium foods that are recommended most include yogurt, sweet potato, beets, watercress, sesame seeds, pistachios and figs. For Pitta dosha types, who may be athletic but want to strengthen their bones naturally, calcium foods like mung beans, celery, cilantro, kale, prunes, strawberries and oranges are most recommended. Finally, Kapha types who may have sturdier bones but are prone to weight gain, bone spurs or aches/pains, calcium-rich foods that can help bring balance include pumpkin seeds, okra, black beans, watercress, Brussels sprouts, mustard sprouts and rhubarb.

Dairy was not included in many Traditional Chinese Medicine diets. Instead, dairy-free foods to prevent low calcium levels include sesame seeds, chia seeds, greens like mustard greens, wheatgrass, seaweeds, bone marrow and black beans. (21) Nuts, seeds and seaweed are encouraged if someone is lactose intolerant or has a lot of phlegm and mucus that dairy can increase. Silicon-rich foods are also recommended to aid calcium absorption, which includes horsetail tea (the herb, not actual horse’s tail), oatstraw, kelp, kombu, lettuce, parsnips, buckwheat, millet, dandelion greens, celery, cucumber, carrots and apricots.

In TCM, calcium is said to help with fire/water imbalances in five element tradition and to support the bones, kidney and heart most. It’s useful for preventing “kidney yin deficiency,” which can result in menopausal hot flashes, diabetic symptoms, and other “flaming and burning bone” syndromes. (22)


How to Overcome Calcium Deficiency + Best Foods for Calcium Deficiency

What foods are high in calcium? Consuming the foods listed below is the best way to naturally add more calcium to your diet (the following percentages are based on the recommended daily allowance of 1,000 milligrams for adult men and women under the age of 51): (21)

  1. Sardines (canned with bones included) — 1 cup: 569 milligrams (57 percent DV)
  2. Yogurt or Kefir — 1 cup: 488 milligrams (49 percent DV)
  3. Raw Milk plus (whey protein, made from milk) — 1 cup: 300 milligrams (30 percent DV)
  4. Cheese — 1 ounce: 202 milligrams (20 percent DV)
  5. Kale (raw) — 1 cup: 90.5 milligrams (9 percent DV)
  6. Okra (raw) — 1 cup: 81 milligrams (8 percent DV)
  7. Bok Choy — 1 cup: 74 milligrams (7 percent DV)
  8. Almonds — 1 ounce: 73.9 milligrams (7 percent DV)
  9. Broccoli (raw) — 1 cup: 42.8 milligrams (4 percent DV)
  10. Watercress — 1 cup: 41 milligrams (4 percent DV)

What foods help you absorb calcium? It’s very important to note that magnesium is key to calcium absorption. Why do you need magnesium to absorb calcium? These two work in a very special relationship with each other in the body. Many times, if you have a calcium deficiency  or imbalance, then you also may have a magnesium deficiency. And often a magnesium deficiency can be a precursor to later calcium issues.

The relationship between calcium and magnesium is why calcium food sources are the most effective when eaten with magnesium-rich foods.What fruits and vegetables are high in calcium and magnesium? Some of the best are leafy greens like spinach or Swiss chard, almonds, sesame seeds, dairy products like raw milk or yogurt, and fish like salmon, sardines or tuna. To maximize absorption of calcium and magnesium from these foods, lightly cook leafy green vegetables and soak nuts and seeds prior to eating to decrease antinutrient content.


Calcium Recipes

How can you increase your calcium intake? Try some of these recipes featuring calcium-rich foods:


Is Dairy Really the Best Source of Calcium?

Many studies have investigated whether or not dairy, and cow’s milk in particular, is the ideal source of calcium. Results have been mixed, with some observational studies showing that dairy has a positive effect on bone health, while others show that it has no effect or even potentially harmful effects in certain cases.

One of the reasons that dairy products are often promoted as being the best source of calcium is because not only do dairy products contain calcium, but full-fat, grass-fed dairy foods are also a good source of  vitamin K, phosphorus and to some degree vitamin D too. These nutrients are all equally important in supporting bone health as calcium is, because they work together to maintain bone mineral density. (24)

Another positive aspect of getting calcium from high-quality dairy products is that dairy foods are high in protein. Although the opposite was initially thought to be true, recently many studies have found a significant positive relationship between higher protein intake and increased bone mass or density. According to researchers who conducted a 2011 study to investigate the effects of protein on skeletal health: (25)

The recommendation to intentionally restrict dietary protein to improve bone health is unwarranted, and potentially even dangerous to those individuals who consume inadequate protein.

Recent research shows that a diet high in calcium and also high in protein and other essential nutrients can positively impact bone health by aiding in more calcium absorption due to several biological mechanisms. Therefore for optimal bone health, it’s advised to eat high levels of calcium along with other important co-founding minerals and substantial protein too. Most of these nutrients can be found in high-quality dairy products like organic whey protein, raw unpasteurized milk, organic goat cheese and kefir. (26)

One source of calcium that is almost ideal is raw milk. Raw milk is different from the normal cow’s milk, or even organic cow’s milk, that you’d find in the grocery store because it is just that — it’s fresh, raw, unpasteurized and non-homogonized. This is what distinguishes raw milk from regular milk: The processes that it doesn’t go through retain its nutrients.

Raw milk also comes from healthy cows that are grass-fed and obtain more nutrients than conventional dairy cows, therefore their milk is higher in nutrients too. Only a small population of people choose to take advantage of raw milk’s benefits, while many more consume pasteurized dairy that is lower in nutrients and may actually harm bone health. This is the case because dairy milk becomes acidic when it goes through pasteurization and homogenization processes, and acidic substances actually harm bone health by forcing the body to leach alkaline substances from the bones in order to balance the pH level of the blood. Raw milk, on the other hand, in its all-natural state is an alkaline food that supports bone health.

That being said, it’s also possible to get enough calcium without consuming dairy products. Vegetarians and vegans who eat a well-rounded whole foods diet, for example, can acquire calcium from plant sources, including sea vegetables, beans and leafy greens.


Calcium Deficiency: Are Supplements the Answer? Calcium Supplements and Dosage

If you get enough calcium from healthy foods that you eat, which also have plenty of other nutrients to provide, then you won’t need to take a supplement. Always try to aim to get the recommended daily amount of calcium you need from foods first, and supplement only if needed to make up for any serious shortfall.

Real food sources of calcium come perfectly packaged with all the enzymes, minerals, vitamins and other nutrients that the body needs to properly digest and absorb these vital nutrients. When we take supplements, on the other hand, we are often missing the complex system of key ingredients found in real foods — plus we may be consuming low-quality, synthetic and harmful filler ingredients that the body doesn’t recognize or respond well to.

If you are going to take supplements, which kind of calcium supplement is best? It’s most beneficial to find a high-quality, food-based supplement that includes calcium, vitamin D and magnesium (essential nutrients for calcium absorption). Can you take magnesium and calcium together? Absolutely. In fact, many quality supplements will include both to help with balance.

As mentioned above, the recommend intake of calcium is as follows:

  • 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily for adult men and women under the age of 50.
  • Calcium needs increase to 1,200 milligrams daily for adults over 50.
  • Children need between 200–700 milligrams per day depending on age, while teens need about 1,300 milligrams per day of calcium to support their growing bones.
  • Pregnant women or breastfeeding moms need about 1,200 to 1,400 milligrams a day.

 

 


Calcium vs. Calcium Citrate vs. Ionized Calcium

Ionized calcium is calcium in your blood that is not attached to proteins (it’s also called free calcium). Blood tests typically measure your total calcium level, which includes both ionized calcium and calcium attached to proteins. “Normal” results of a calcium test are: (27)

  • Adults: 4.8 to 5.6 mg/dL or 1.20 to 1.40 millimol/L
  • Children: 4.8 to 5.3 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or 1.20 to 1.32 millimoles per liter (millimol/L)

A test might show that you have either high or low ionized calcium in your blood. Causes of higher-than-normal levels of ionized calcium include hyperparathyroidism or hyperthyroidism, milk-alkali syndrome, multiple myeloma, sarcoidosis, thrombocytosis (high platelet count), or high levels of vitamin A or vitamin D. Causes of lower-than-normal levels may be due to hypoparathyroidism, malabsorption, pancreatitis, kidney/renal failure, rickets or vitamin D deficiency.

If your doctor agrees that you should be taking supplements to avoid developing problems due to low calcium levels, there are several kinds of calcium supplements available to consider. Each has its own type of calcium compound as the active ingredient. Always pay attention to the serving size (number of tablets) when determining how much calcium is in one serving. Some common calcium supplements include: (28)

  • Calcium carbonate (40 percent elemental calcium, which means that 1,250 milligrams of calcium carbonate contains 500 milligrams of elemental calcium)
  • Calcium citrate (21 percent elemental calcium)
  • Calcium gluconate (9 percent elemental calcium)
  • Calcium lactate (13 percent elemental calcium)

The two most popular types of calcium supplements are calcium carbonate and calcium citrate. (29) Calcium citrate is considered easy to absorb and is also inexpensive. However, calcium carbonate is the most constipating, so other type may work better for you. Start with a low dose, and work your way up. Also be sure to drink plenty of water with calcium to help minimize side effects.

Is it better to take calcium at night? Stomach acid produced while eating helps the absorption of calcium, so take calcium with meals. If you are going to take calcium supplements, aim to only take about 500 milligrams at one time, since your body cannot absorb much more than this at once. If you need a larger dose, plan to split up doses throughout the day. Calcium is usually better absorbed when taken with food (more on this below).


Calcium vs. Vitamin D

  • You must obtain enough vitamin D and magnesium to use the calcium that you obtain from foods and supplements.
  • Low vitamin D intake (which is obtained from food and produced by skin when exposed to sunlight) interferes with calcium absorption and increases risk for problems like weakened bones.
  • For bone loss prevention, vitamin D, vitamin K and protein are just as important as calcium is; therefore the three of these factors together can result in the best chances of protecting bones into old age. (3031)
  • You can lower your risk for vitamin D deficiency by exposing your bare skin to sunlight (unprotected/without sunscreen) for about 15–20 minutes per day.
  • Foods that can help prevent vitamin K deficiency include fermented/aged cheeses, leafy greens, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus and sea vegetables.

Can You Have Too Much Calcium? High Calcium Symptoms and Concerns

Taking more calcium than you actually need is not beneficial and will actually likely do harm.

  • Very high levels of calcium can cause symptoms including nausea, bloating, constipation (especially calcium carbonate), dry mouth, abdominal pain, irregular heartbeat, confusion, kidney stones and even death. If you do speak to a professional about taking calcium supplements, make sure to discuss the possible pros and cons.
  • There has been a lot of controversy surrounding how much calcium people really should acquire in recent years, especially when it comes to the potential negative effects of calcium supplements. While different experts have differing opinions in terms of calcium supplementation, what most agree on is that getting calcium from a healthy diet should be your first priority. The body absorbs calcium from food sources better than it does from supplements, and it’s much less likely that you’d reach very high, harmful levels of calcium from food sources alone.
  • More research is still needed, but some researchers have become concerned in recent years that there may be a link between high levels of calcium (mostly from supplements) and heart disease. (3233) There’s potential for calcium to form fatty plaque buildup in arteries and to add to hardening and stiffening of arteries, which is a dangerous heart condition called atherosclerosis. This can potentially lead to heart attacks or strokes, but again nothing is definitive at this point since studies have showed mixed results. Other controversies surrounding calcium are related to potential risks for cancer, including breast and prostate cancer. (34)
  • Studies investigating cancer and calcium have also been mixed, with some showing negative correlations, some showing positive correlations and some showing that calcium has no effect on cancer rates.

Because much is still unknown, it’s not recommended that most people take calcium supplements regularly, especially not high doses, without talking to a doctor first to weigh the pros and cons.

What vitamins are good for calcium if you’re hoping to avoid taking too much? Like with all nutrients, it’s never a good idea to obtain much more than you really need, so avoid any supplement that supplies more than about 1,000 milligrams per day. In this case, very high levels of calcium can interact with drugs intended to treat heart disease, diabetes, epilepsy and other conditions. Calcium can also increase risk for kidney stones when taken in high amounts and can interfere with the absorption of other important minerals, like iron, magnesium and zinc.


Final Thoughts on Calcium Deficiency

  • Calcium deficiency, also called hypocalcemia, can happen if someone doesn’t get enough calcium from the diet or doesn’t absorb calcium properly.
  • Risk factors for calcium deficiency include older age, being vegetarian/vegan, being lactose intolerant, taking corticosteroids long term, having vitamin D deficiency and having an inflammatory bowel disease that affects absorption.
  • What happens if there is not enough calcium in the body? Symptoms associated with low calcium levels can include brittle, weak bones and higher risk for bone fractures or osteoporosis, problems with proper blood clotting, weakness and fatigue, muscle spasms, feeling “pins or needles,”and irritability.
  • What are foods rich in calcium? Some of the best foods to boost calcium levels are raw milk, dairy products like kefir or yogurt, whey protein, almonds, leafy greens, beans, sesame seeds, sardines, and salmon.
  • How much calcium is required daily? Adults need at least 1,000 milligrams per day until the age of 50, then about 1,200 milligrams as they get older.
  • Which brand of calcium supplements are best? The two most popular types of calcium supplements are calcium carbonate and calcium citrate. Calcium citrate is considered easy to absorb and is also inexpensive. It’s most beneficial to find a high-quality, food-based supplement that includes calcium, vitamin D and magnesium (essential nutrients for calcium absorption).

Read Next: 9 Signs You Have Magnesium Deficiency and How to Treat It


From the sound of it, you might think leaky gut only affects the digestive system, but in reality it can affect more. Because Leaky Gut is so common, and such an enigma, I’m offering a free webinar on all things leaky gut. Click here to learn more about the webinar.

Josh Axe

Get FREE Access!

Dr. Josh Axe is on a mission to provide you and your family with the highest quality nutrition tips and healthy recipes in the world...Sign up to get VIP access to his eBooks and valuable weekly health tips for FREE!

Free eBook to boost
metabolism & healing

30 Gluten-Free Recipes
& detox juicing guide

Shopping Guide &
premium newsletter

More Natural Remedies Posts

Sponsored