It is very well-established that when you take a calcium supplement, you will experience best results if you consume no more than 500 mgs at a time. It is also best to be consumed with food, since food stimulates changes that increase Calcium absorption. The most important point to remember with Calcium is that best absorption requires consumption of 500 mgs or less at one time. If you must take more, simply divide it up throughout the day. I have emphasized this for over a decade and despite government and medical recommendations stating the same, products still exist that provide more than 500 mgs of Calcium in a single dosage. It is even more shocking to me to see multivitamins that include 800 mgs or even 1,200 mgs of Calcium in a single dose – which not only insures that the Calcium won’t be well-absorbed, but that it can also interfere with the absorption of other nutrients and contribute to a high risk of stomach upset. It amazes me that companies can be so ignorant of the basic science and research on Calcium. In any event, given Calcium’s central role in reducing the risk of osteoporosis, it is critical to know that when it comes to supplementing Calcium, more is not better and in fact, too much at one time is actually much, much worse.
Please note that my Complete multivitamin for Women provides the recommended 500 mgs of Calcium and even my separate Calcium Intensive Care has for 30 years always provided 500 mgs of Calcium in each recommended dosage. Of course, if you want to consume 1,000 mgs of Calcium daily, you don’t take your Complete and your Calcium Intensive Care at the same time, since they each deliver 500 mgs of Calcium – you simply take them at separate meals. By the way, my new Calcium-Magnesium Intensive Care also now contains 500 mgs of Calcium (up from 400 mgs of Calcium) and will be available on Friday July 9th as my Today’s Special.
The Science is the sole reason why these products contain 500 mgs per recommended dosage. Unlike other manufacturers, I formulate my products based upon the research. The basic reason the science (I will attach some links below) instructs you to take less than 500 mgs at one time is taking more offers no additional benefits. If you take too much at one time, then it will not be effectively absorbed and you will be wasting your money. Even worse, you will not absorb the levels your skeleton requires and that your doctor had recommended. Also, as you go above 500 mgs of Calcium, you drastically increase the risk of stomach upset and high levels of Calcium can interfere with the absorption of other essential nutrients. In short, take 500 mgs or less of Calcium at one time. If you need more, divide it with meals throughout the day.
I can go on at length discussing the various Calcium forms and their solubility, but my focus here is even more simple and more important. Regardless of the form of Calcium you use, do not consume more than 500 mgs at a time. If you need to take 1,500 mgs, then divide it to be consumed with three meals throughout the day. No more than 500 mgs at one time and always with a meal. I have also found it to be simple common sense to deliver Calcium using the enhanced solubility of an ultra-fine powder in a capsule rather than as a large, difficult to swallow and difficult to dissolve tablet. The capsule and powder create a more soluble, mild, gentle formula. I have found that if you want to increase the likelihood of stomach upset, then put your Calcium in a big tablet.
Lastly, and without getting too deeply into the discussion of Calcium forms, experience has shown me that there is one form of Calcium I would avoid, since it is extremely insoluble and also increases the risk of stomach upset. That form is Dicalcium Phosphate and sadly, it’s not just a cheap form of calcium but it is also commonly used to make tablets. In short, it is my least favorite Calcium source. As far as Calcium Carbonate, it is affordable, effective and an excellent form of Calcium, but you don’t want to take too much of it at one time. Calcium Carbonate gives the greatest yield of all the Calcium sources in terms of elemental Calcium content, but because it can suppress its own absorption, it underscores the importance of Calcium’s “Magic Number” of 500 mgs. Of course, forms such as Calcium Malate, Calcium Citrate, etc are also excellent and extremely soluble forms of Calcium. As mentioned above, I have found that with any form of Calcium, it is best to consume it as a powder in a capsule rather than a tablet to enhance its solubility.
Best of Health.
The following technical references underscores the scientific validity and exceptional importance of limiting any single serving of Calcium to no more than 500 mg.
Nutrition in Clinical Practice
“The maximum dose of elemental calcium that should be taken at a time is 500 mg.”
Journal of Bone and Mineral Research
“Results indicate that 0.5 g of calcium is the optimum dose….”
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
“If an adequate calcium intake is not possible in the diet, a calcium supplement may be required and should optimally be taken in doses ~500 mg at a time to maximize absorption, because absorption decreases with greater calcium loads.”
“You can take calcium supplements at any time of day. However, it’s important to note that calcium is absorbed most efficiently when it’s taken in amounts of 500 milligrams (mg) or less. If you take 1,000 mg of calcium a day, split it into two or more doses over the course of the day.”
National Institutes of Health
“The percentage of calcium absorbed depends on the total amount of elemental calcium consumed at one time; as the amount increases, the percentage absorption decreases. Absorption is highest in doses ≤500 mg. So, for example, one who takes 1,000 mg/day of calcium from supplements might split the dose and take 500 mg at two separate times during the day.”
9 thoughts on “Calcium’s Magic Number = 500! When It Comes To Calcium More Is Not Better.”
I am post-menopausal and have low vitamin D. I have been taking your calcium supplement, and my calcium ranges are normal. I also take Fosomax. I have also been taking your vitamin d. I have completed a 3 month prescription for 50,000 units of vitamin d once a week and have increased my intake of your vitamin d to 2000 per day. I have raised my vitamin d from 13 to 26 during that 3 months. I am currently only taking your capsules. Any sugggestions for keeping this up? I have had Melanoma in the past, so my sun exposure must be limited. I have been told that this is a metabolic issue.
Also, what do you know about moringa? I have friends who tellme that it is a cure-all.
Dear Andrew, please explain about MK7 and Calcium. I see that your Calcium TSV supplements doesn’t have it. Thanks
My family has used your products with good results since your QVC days, and I have two questions and two ideas you might consider.
1. How is that QVC lawsuit going?
2. Re: magnesium and calcium, about a year ago I found myself in need of that product (having previously purchased it), but the only thing you were presenting was the calcium only product (I purchased the large size only because calcium/magnesium was not available). So, now I have a large amount of calcium on hand but would have preferred the calcium/magnesium (and won’t buy the combo until the calcium is gone), if magnesium is so important to the utilization of calcium why did you opt to sell (recently) the calcium only product?
3. Your donations of vitamins gave me an idea you might consider: donate stress and general wellness products (especially ones in packets) to troops who are forward deployed and therefore have very little and are under constant stress (perhaps distribution could be through the U.S.O. or through the contacts of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Association). ‘Just an idea you might work with.
4. HSN and ProCaps Labs should take some step(s) to help make sure the vitamin containers are recycled (e.g. buy back or partner with recycling companies for buy back).
Some people are unable to tolerate Magnesium, it may interfere with Prescription Medications, cause Irregular Heart Rate and even Diarrhea. Andrew is a brilliant Biochemist and Supplement Producer,, he offers variations in certain Supplements.
Should you need the additional Magnesium, then do your personal research or consult with your Physician, to determine how much you may need. Then purchase the Magnesium or D3 or whatever is lacking in the current Product which you chose to purchase and take it. Do not wait for the next Deal / or Sale, that would not be wise and it may disrupt chemistry in your body, which you have previously been providing.
Also, as an added suggestion ALWAYS read the Ingredient Panel on all Supplements, prior to purchasing as, they may change with additions or deletions to the Formulas being Compounded and to ensure, that you are purchasing the correct Supplement for your needs.
There are many Recyling Centers available, please check with your local Waste Disposal in your area if, you do not have Weekly Recycling for your Home.
Good Health & Peace to you!
I am a very loyal customer of yours, and worry I may be "overdosing" on many suppliments, since a lot of them are repeated ingredients in your products. I am aware that the body only absorbs so much and the rest is wasted, but I am out of touch with which suppliments and their suggested daily allowances. Is there a "magic chart" that you could direct me too for reference? I am a 45yr old female, 5’9" and 170#. Very active maintaing 20acre farm, and work 12hrs/day running our roofing company office.
Here is a list of the suppliments I have, and on an average, take one capsule each daily—with the exception of the Calcium/Magnesium which I take 3. Calcium Magnesium Intensive Care; CoQ10-100; Digest Assure; Ultimate Eye Support; Fibermucil; Healthy Hair Skin & Nails; Imune Factors (only during cold & flu season);Memory & Brain w/ Acetyl L-Carnitine (twice a week); Essential Omega-3; PC Liver & Brain; Vitamin B12-500; Womens Wellness.
I absolutely adore your products and the fact they are manufactured by solar power—KUDOS to you! I will continue to use your products, but don’t want to waste them—any advice will be much appreciated.
I have a huge supply of calcium/phospohorus tablets that is past the expiration date. How long after that date am I able to use the tablets? I’d hate to throw them away if I can still use them for my continued good health.
Many thanks for your reply.
Why do capsules provide better absorption than tablets? I always take my calcium supplement separate from my multi-vitamin because I get an upset stomach when I take them together. Thank you for explaining why that happens.
OK, I’m unsure of where to obtain the responses from all the comments in this"blog" thing. Can anyone offer any suggestions as to where to find Mr. Lessman’s responses??
Andrew, I have been taking your vitamins and other supplements (but only yours) since I can remember. I have much respect for your excellent research !!! It amazes me and I am so glad you make your incredible knowledge available to all of us. Thank you so very very much for your lifetime of dedication to wellness and feeling great!