Calcium

If your calcium supplement says 600 mg, you assume you are getting 600 mg of pure calcium, right?

“Not necessarily the case,” says Doug Burks, RPh, pharmacist at Winneshiek Medical Center. “Your body can only absorb elemental calcium, and many supplement tablets contain other products – carbonate, citrate, lacate or gluconate. These other products increase the weight of the tablet, and can make the label deceiving.”

Understanding information on the nutritional label is the key. To make sure you are taking the correct amount of calcium for your body, talk to your pharmacist or a dietitian before choosing a supplement.

Burks adds, “Our calcium needs change as we age. As with any supplement, consult with your health care provider before including it in your diet.”

Calcium rich foods

(Foods listed in alphabetical order, not amounts of nutrients provided)
Almonds
Apricots
Bok choy
Brazil nuts
Broccoli
Cheese
Dried figs
Ice cream
Kelp
Milk
Molasses (blackstrap
Peas
Pudding or custard
Rice milk
Salmon with bones
Sardines with bones
Seaweed
Sesame seeds
Soy milk, fortified
Tofu
Yogurt

Vitamin D rich foods
Cereals, fortified with vitamin D
Cod liver oil
Custard
Egg
Herring, kippers
Mackerel
Margarine, fortified
Milk, fortified with vitamin D
Milkshake (fast food)
Orange juice, fortified
Pudding, made with milk
Salmon
Sardines
Soy milk, fortified with vitamin D
Sunshine – 20 minutes (without sunscreen), 3 times a week at a minimum
Tuna
Yogurt with vitamin D added

* Re-printed with permission of Julie M. Cull, R.D. “Food for Life”. 2003

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