For many people, their average daily consumption of calcium from food and drinks is often less than the recommended intake. (1) For those with more acute bone health needs, calcium supplements are an easy way to increase the amount of calcium consumed on a daily basis. There are plenty of products out there that are created from different types of calcium, many are manufactured with different minerals, and some that aren’t even pills at all.
In order to find out which type of calcium supplement is right for you, we combed through the top options available for shoppers and compared them to each other.
Best Calcium Supplements
- Best Overall: New Chapter Calcium Supplement
- Best Added Vitamin D Option: Nature Made 600mg Calcium Tablets with Vitamin D
- Best Absorption: Vitafusion Calcium Supplement Gummy Vitamins
- Easiest to Swallow: Nature’s Bounty Absorbable Calcium 1200mg Plus 1000IU Vitamin D3
- Best Added Magnesium Option: Citracal with Calcium D Slow Release 1200
Editor’s note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning a new fitness, nutritional, and/or supplement routine. Individual needs for vitamins and minerals will vary.
Many pills and supplements customers encounter have bulky, round, or thick tablets that are difficult for some to swallow. The slim tablet shape of these pills is designed to help the supplements go down easy every time. New Chapter uses Vitamin D3 and Vitamin K2 to help your body absorb calcium efficiently and directed to your bones, where it is typically most needed.
This calcium supplement is a plant-based source of 770mg of calcium. It also provides Vitamin K2, which has been shown to promote bone health, and is fermented with vitamin D3, which can help your body absorb calcium.
Many calcium supplements on the market source their calcium from rock, specifically limestone, creating a flat molecular architecture that can lack other nutrients. New Chapter extracts calcium from plant sources, allowing for other vitamins to combine with the calcium in a natural honeycomb structure. This is great for those hoping to benefit from additional key vitamins and trace minerals such as magnesium.
Who Should Buy New Chapter Calcium Supplement
- Those who find it easier to swallow sleeker pills.
- Anyone who needs to increase their Vitamin D3 or Vitamin K2.
- People who only want nutrients from plant-based sources in their diets.
Who Shouldn’t Buy New Chapter Calcium Supplement
- Anyone who is put off by having to take three pills per day.
- Those who need physically sturdy pills that can travel well.
While those accustomed to supplements may not think twice about the directed dosage, many will not be used to taking pills throughout the day — a pill during lunch and two during dinner is recommended. Due to the febrile nature of calcium and the slim design of the supplements, there may be some pills in the bottle that are broken before even opening. Users may have to combine two halves to complete the suggested dosage, although this shouldn’t be an issue if your vitamins are stationary in one location (travelers beware).
Aside from that, these are a great choice if you specifically want a calcium supplement in pill form and is the overall top pick.
Best Added Vitamin D Option
Although the 600-milligram serving size is not the full daily recommended intake of calcium, this supplement allows the user to receive the rest of their calcium through the food and drink they consume during the day on their regular diet, be it keto, carnivore, paleo, vertical, or vegan. This prevents ingesting too much calcium, which can lead to side-effects such as constipation.
This calcium tablet from Nature Made has a 220 day supply of calcium and vitamin D3. This pill is recommended to be taken once or twice daily, making it an easy supplement to integrate into a wellness routine.
This supplement only contains calcium and Vitamin D3 as key ingredients. Many other supplements, whether calcium or not, will have several if not dozens more vitamins or minerals. This is one of the more inexpensive calcium tablets available on the market right now. A bottle with a whopping 220 pills can cost less than some competitors’ bottles of less than 100 pills.
Who Should Buy Nature Made 600mg Calcium Tablets with Vitamin D
- Those who want a lower dosage of calcium to allow for their diet to fill in the rest.
- Anyone who wants simple ingredient list of just calcium and Vitamin D3.
- People who need to maintain a tight budget for supplements.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Nature Made 600mg Calcium Tablets with Vitamin D
- Those who find swallowing larger pills uncomfortable.
- Folks who need easy to cut pills to manage more specific doses.
When it comes to a simple calcium supplement with only Vitamin D added rather than a whole host of other ingredients, this is a great choice. This supplement does sport a lower dosage than many competitors, but that might be to the advantage of those who don’t need a full day’s worth of added calcium to their diet.
While traditional calcium pills can raise a curious eyebrow due to their unique smell, these chewable gummies are quite enjoyable from a scent and taste perspective. They are a great choice for those who aren’t always comfortable swallowing pills or simply need some extra motivation to maintain a strict supplement regime.
These calcium gummies contain 500 milligrams of calcium per serving and 1000 IU of Vitamin D3. This supply of calcium comes in a tasty array of fruit and cream flavors all in the same pack.
Some manufacturers shy away from gummies because the vitamins and minerals aren’t as easily absorbed as when in pill form. Thankfully, the gummy supplements from Vitafusion have the bio-equivalency of standard pills in terms of absorbing key ingredients with the clinical trials to back it up.
Who Should Buy Vitafusion Calcium Supplement Gummy Vitamins
- Those who want supplements that taste good.
- People who appreciate Vitafusion’s clinically proven aborption.
- Anyone who needs tot take it easy on their wallets.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Vitafusion Calcium Supplement Gummy Vitamins
- Those who are looking for avoid adding any sugar to their diets.
- Folks who would prefer an extremely chewy gummy.
The main downside to taking gummies as opposed to pills is the added sugar required to get the vitamins into gummy form. If the sugar isn’t a put off, then the price tag might incentivize this to be moved up to the top of your consideration list as each package comes with 100 gummies.
Easiest to Swallow
If pills and gummies are not your cup of tea, Nature’s Bounty pills come in a rapid-release soft gel. They are designed to be easier to swallow due to their flexible soft outer layer and pack a large 1,200 milligram dose of calcium per serving — each pill contains a very high 600 milligrams. For anyone on the lookout for a daily dose of calcium in one serving, this should be a potential pick.
These Vitamin D3 supplement packs both 1200 milligrams of calcium and 1000 IU of vitamin D3. For those with acute calcium needs, this will provide the needed dosage in a compact serving.
Formed with calcium carbonate (rather than other forms of calcium, such as citrate, phosphate, and lactate), these pills are more potent than many competitors on the market. Additionally, these pills are smaller, making them easier to swallow.
Who Should Buy Nature’s Bounty Absorbable Calcium 1200mg Plus 1000IU Vitamin D3
- Anyone who prefers a soft gel rather than a pill or gummy.
- Folks who want a full day’s worth of calcium from a single serving.
- People who want smaller pills that are easier to swallow.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Nature’s Bounty Absorbable Calcium 1200mg Plus 1000IU Vitamin D3
- Soy content. Though not a concern for every customer, some users may not want to have a product that has soybean oil as one of the main ingredients. There are other products available that aren’t made of soy for you to choose from if this is the case.
- Cost. While these are easy to swallow and pack a punch, they are not cheap. Expect to spend more per pill with these than many competitors.
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Best Added Magnesium Option
The added magnesium is known to have a wide array of health benefits when taken daily. Aside from helping your body create protein and convert food into energy, studies have shown magnesium may help regulate blood pressure. (2)
Citracel has a unique manufacturing technique that creates pills that are designed to be slowly absorbed by the body over an eight-hour period. This can be a more efficient way to ensure your body is getting the calcium it needs.
Citracel’s Slow Calcium and Vitamin D supplements have 1200 mg per serving, 1000 IU of vitamin D3, and 80 mg of magnesium. They have been manufactured to have a slow release of the core ingredients, making the asbortion through the body more evenly spread out throughout the day.
Another nod to the design of these pills is the rounded, softer texture they have. Though these pills are not the smallest pills you will ever take, but they are designed to be swallowed easily, unlike other pills on the market that are shaped with sharper corners.
Who Should Buy Citracal with Calcium D Slow Release 1200
- Anyone who wants a magnesium boost as well as calcium.
- People who want a slower release supplement to better ensure absorption.
- Folks who want an easier to swallow pill.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Citracal with Calcium D Slow Release 1200
- Anyone who doesn’t need a full day’s dose of calcium in one serving.
- Those who get easily upset stomachs.
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How We Decided Our Picks
Adding a supplement to your daily routine can take an adjustment. Given the serving frequencies required by some calcium supplements, customers should find the version of calcium that best fits their lifestyle. We used several criteria to evaluate what type of calcium supplement might be right for you. Here are the categories we used to judge these products:
Ease of Use
Calcium supplements can be designed to take several different forms and shapes. Some supplements, based on the type of calcium they were formed from, need to be in a larger pill form, which could be hard for some to swallow. These types of products, however, tend to have higher amounts of calcium per serving. Some soft gel versions of calcium supplements are easier to ingest, as are calcium gummies. If you have a hard time swallowing hard pills, or even any kind of pill, perhaps a soft gel or gummy is the way to go.
Many different supplements, whether calcium or other crucial vitamin or mineral, typically have several other ingredients that either help the key vitamin or mineral to be absorbed into the body, or even have other unrelated health benefits. Look out for calcium supplements that have Vitamin D3 or Vitamin K2, as both of these may aid the body’s process of absorbing calcium. Some calcium supplements are designed to pair the calcium with other minerals, such as magnesium.
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Calcium supplements are available at a wide range of costs. Some products are simplified to only containing a serving of calcium with Vitamin D to help with absorption. Products that have a higher content of calcium may also be more expensive. Pay attention to the amount of calcium per pill as often times a bottle will have a lot of pills per package, but have a serving size of two or three pills per day. These bottles can run out quickly, even though they may seem like a better value at first glance.
Calcium supplements that are part of a gummy obviously taste a lot different than a calcium supplement in pill form. Calcium supplements in pill form can have a fishy smell or an otherwise neutral, though not aromatic, scent. Soft gels that contain tiny pieces of calcium supplements surrounded by the outer layer often don’t have the same taste, aftertaste, or smell of straight calcium supplement pills. Those who have a hard time swallowing pills or tasting medicine may opt for a gummy or soft gel.
Before You Buy
How Much Calcium Do You Need?
Some calcium supplements have half of the recommended daily value, while others can have 100 percent, if not more, of the recommended daily intake. Depending on your health needs, you may need more than the daily recommended value, an amount that typically applies to a wide range of people. If you eat a diet high in calcium, that may play a role in how much calcium you take as a supplement, as you won’t need as high of a dosage. Make sure to speak with your doctor or medical professional if you have any questions about your personal calcium requirements.
What Is Your Budget?
Some customers may only be looking to start taking calcium as a holistic way of improving their personal wellness. If you don’t mind swallowing big pills or having to take multiple pills a day, then most calcium supplements on the market will suffice and not hurt your wallet too much.
How Good Are You At Taking Pills?
Many people have a hard time swallowing big pills, especially when needing to take two at once or right after one another. There are options for people like this, such as calcium supplement gummies or soft gels, which are more flexible and can go down the throat easier. If you are no stranger to large pills and can easily wash down most large-sized pills with water, then this shouldn’t be too big of a concern for you.
- Straub DA. Calcium supplementation in clinical practice: a review of forms, doses, and indications. Nutrition in Clinical Practice. 2007; 22(3):286-96.
- de Baaij JH, Hoenderop JG, Bindels RJ. Magnesium in man: implications for health and disease. Physiological Reviews. 2015 ;95(1):1-46.