7 Tips to Increase Calcium Absorption

Published on 18 March 2012 by Verena in Blog

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Seven tips to increase your calcium absorption:

  1. Get sufficient vitamin D from sun light
  2. Eat calcium-, magnesium-, chlorophyll-, and mineral-rich foods, especially grains, legumes, leafy greens (including cereal grasses and micro-algae), and seaweeds.
  3. Avoid calcium inhibitors (chocolate, coffee, alcohol, sugar and excess consumption of any sweetener (e.g. honey, rice syrup, etc.), excess meat consumption)
  4. Exercise regularly and moderately to halt calcium loss and increase bone mass.
  5. Presoak grains, legumes, nuts and seeds before cooking/consumption to neutralize their phytic acid content, which otherwise binds the calcium, zinc, iron and other minerals in these foods.
  6. Use oxalic acid foods sparingly – rhubarb, cranberries, plums, spinach, chard and beet greens
  7. If dairy is used, they fermented forms are easier to digest – kefir, etc.

Calcium is not only an important mineral that is essential to strengthen and build our bones.

Calcium also

  • calms the nerves
  • relaxes the liver and
  • benefits the heart.

Absorption and Utilization of Calcium

When we want to improve our calcium status to maintain a healthy bone mass it is not only crucial to eat calcium rich foods. We need to make sure that we absorb and utilize the calcium from foods effectively. As all the minerals in the body are in a delicate and dynamic balance, an improvement in calcium absorption will also improve the effective use of other minerals in the body. Calcium absorption requires adequate dietary magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin A, C and D. Without certain of those nutrients, it appears that calcium can not be absorbed at all.

Dairy Foods as the Synonymous for Calcium

Calcium in our diet is perceived as almost synonymous to the use of dairy products. However, dairy foods are generally not of good quality and this is perhaps one of the main reasons that so many people in the Western World, who consume large amounts of dairy (25% of the average diet), still have widespread calcium deficiency problems such as osteoporosis and arthritis. In China and areas of Southeast Asia where diary consumption is minimal, arthritis and bone deteriorations are not the major health problems as they are in the wealthier countries.

References

Regtop, H. Is magnesium the grossly neglected mineral? International Nutrition Review? International Clinical Nutrition Review 3: pp 18-19, July 1983

Levine, B. and Coburn, J. Magnesium: the mimic/antagonist of calcium. New England Journal of Medicine 310: pp 1253-1255, May 10, 1984

Pitchford, P. Healing with whole foods: Asian traditions and modern nutrition (ed 3). Berkley: North Atlantic Books, 2002

56 Responses to “7 Tips to Increase Calcium Absorption”

  1. Hannah Sinclair says:

    Thank you for this article Verena. This is very helpful information for my brittle bones. Hannah

  2. Diana says:

    I was told that if I need calcium and must take supplements, I should avoid carbonated beverages at all costs. I LOVE my sodas–any chance that the carbonation DOESN’T cancel out the calcium I’m taking? I’m really HOPING…..

    Thank you.

  3. I seldom leave comments on blogs, but you really impress me, also I have a few questions like to ask, what’s your contact details?

    -Johnson

  4. Verena says:

    Dear Johnson,
    Thank you for your nice feedback. You can contact me at verena@drverena.com. Best regards. Dr Verena

  5. Rick Isabelle says:

    You mention leafy greens as a good thing but – while searching the net I found the following: “Spinach also has a high calcium content. However, the oxalate content in spinach also binds with calcium, decreasing its absorption. Calcium and zinc also limit iron absorption.[16] The calcium in spinach is the least bioavailable of calcium sources.[17] By way of comparison, the body can absorb about half of the calcium present in broccoli, yet only around 5% of the calcium in spinach.

    Your thoughts?

  6. Josphat kigorwe mugambi says:

    A good helpful article for the wellbeing of our Health keep it up

  7. In 7 Tips to Increase Calcium Absorption, you surprised me by saying that dairy is not a high quality source of calcium. What are the ideal foods and food combinations you recommend. I have osteopena, am physically active, take Actonel, and will take whatever’s best for me. Please advise.

    George A.

  8. Verena says:

    Milk has only 119 edible portions Calcium (Ca) in mg compared to Hijiki or Wakame that have 1400 mg or 1300 mg, respectively. They are sea vegetables and you can purchase them in any health food store. I also recommend garnishing your meals with Kelp (1099 mg Ca). Barley grass or wheat grass are also high in Calcium as well as Nori, almonds, Amaranth, Hazelnuts, Parsley, Brazil nuts, Sunflower seeds, Watercress, Quinoa, Kale, Spirulina. Those foods all contains the calcium co-factors that are necessary for its absorption. Dr Verena

  9. Azharuddin says:

    Hi Doctor,

    My nail surface is rippled or pitted.

    Can you advise why this is hapening and what is the solution for this

    Thanks,
    Azhar

  10. hiresh says:

    dear doc
    my 30 days baby is admitted in hospital for low calcium
    clcium-6.2 phosphorus-10.5magmesium-1.9
    what to do

  11. Gary says:

    Your 7 tips to increase calcium are very helpful. I am disabled. How much exercise do I need to help my bone density? Also, my doctor has prescribed Calcium + Vitamin D. I heard there was something that I could eat, to help with absorption. If this is true, what is it? Please reply.

  12. sofiyaa says:

    dear doc

    my mom is having lack of calcium in her bones because of that she is having pain in her legs and back ace always and feels always irritated any she cannot eat
    calcium tablets too becuz she is alergic too sulphur please can u tell me what diet she shoud eat and any home made herbal medicine………please help me

  13. SL says:

    Dear Dr. Verena- I wrote you a long history of my Advanced- condition of the Osteoarthritis situation have been dealing with since was a Soph. in H.S.- then some- how lost the entire commentary- !- Have survived all these years- Am now 83 yrs. young — Of course this is on-going- but as long as I rest when needed- life is grand- in that one learns- to pace one’s self- out of the shear determination to survive the elements- so to speak- Am using a Ca.suplement– 1200 units / day- Have for many many years- now- What BLESSING !!!!- By GOD’S GRACE- along with- sheer determination / tenacity / & such get through- each day-My husband of 62 years- (in June) Have been Caregiver- since then- in our home here in Odessa , TX. He also has a Congestive Heart Failure- As a result from the Double Pneumonia of 12 / 26-29- 11 He is doing remarkabley well- & we have Home Hospice coming in several times a week as well- WHAT A BLESSING THIS IS- ! I was diagnosed in 1954 with Severe Spinal Osteoarthritis ( Spurs through my entire spine) that of a 90 yr. old person)– Diet is so crucial – in these senior yrs.- as is weight along with everything else- Have been swimming regularly- until- moved over to TX- 4 YEARS AGO THIS COMING JULY- Relocating then w / my husbands’ situation- Have not done” land-therapy” routine- in over a year-so am walking again / the water temps- @ the Fitness Center 15 min. from us- are either too hot- or to cold- Am really not that strong my goal- of resumption of all the needed therapy that is in the future-! Eventually- my Hope, is getting on- with LIFE- ! Dr.Verona- I would BE SO VERY – GRATEFUL For Any suggestion you might have in my behalf- At your convenience !- Thanking you , I am SL

  14. Ahmed says:

    Dr,

    I m 23 Yrs old and i always having pain in my legs. According to the blood test for calcium, Calcium is low in my and and my pain too much increased after having sex.

    Please advise me.

  15. Sundari says:

    Dear Doc:
    Can you please suggest diet besides sea-food, that allows adequate Calcium absorption?

  16. asmi says:

    dear doc i myself mrs asmi actualy dr i have lack of calcium i m havng pain in bck and ful legs n my toes n foot pain 2 much i eat tablet also and my calcum is smtng 8 so plz advce me sme medicne whch wil recover so wil b vry thankful 2u

  17. Lawrence says:

    I eat a good diet and take all kinds of calcium supplements to maximize absorption; however, I have severe osteoporosis and my muscles have become painful with little activity. I added CHIA Seed to my diet and it made all the difference in the world. My back muscles relax quickly and I feel no pain in my back. A tablespoon of CHIA seed in a cup of water 3 to 4 times a day gets me through my day. I have been using CHIA seed for 6 months now and I am looking for many more happy days.

  18. shakeel says:

    Dear Doc.
    Due to lack of calcium I have very pain in my body such as: backache,foot, also pain and swealling in ankels,and dry skin,and my nails are white.
    So, pls help and advice

  19. Gurpreet says:

    hiiiiiiiii dr.
    In starter of winter or starter of summer some pain rotion in my both knee. m just 25 year old..m never heard about that pain rotions in this age group..so plz help me and tell me wht can i do to remove pain..

  20. karthik says:

    Does masturbation lose my calcium in the body… Coz I use to lose weight day by day… My age izz 22 and my weight izz 55 wtf ?? :( pls help me with these calcium…

  21. Sreekanth says:

    I want to understand Why & how calicum reduces from the body. presently i am consuming medicin to increase the calcium level. our Dr. has give one month course for that. after the one month what will be the problem and how to maintain the good calium level.

  22. Priyanka says:

    Dr Verena, your tips are very helpful…although my query is a bit different….I’m 32 yrs old and I gave birth to my daughter last year and it was a natural birth….I also breastfed her for over 9 months….but I forgot and wasn’t able to care for myself after the baby was born…I missed my calcium supplements during those months I didn’t take any post natal care in my diet…now after almost an year I seem to be suffering from lower back ache and knee joint pains as well as cramps in my legs….what is your diagnosis and how can I help decrease these issues in my body through nutrition…I’ll be so grateful for your advice as I can’t afford a doctor as of now and I live in India. Thankyou.

  23. Rose says:

    How can I increase my bone density?

  24. Mary says:

    Can a lady with Bone density level less than -1, conceive and give birth to a baby?

  25. Sunil Parte says:

    I am heart patient . Can I need to improve the calcium in body?????

  26. irene says:

    I was diagnosed with osteoporosis in June of last year, -4.5 in my spine and -2.5 in hips and femur. I have been on Forsteo (teriparatide)for 5 weeks, and feel very unwell, this is good reading to try and do it naturally, since July I have been seen once by a consultant, feeling very let down by the u.k national health.

  27. RAMACHANDRAN.S says:

    This is very useful article for peoples . Keep such as articles:-)

  28. Azmat says:

    How Can i increase my calcium plzzz help me :( :(

  29. Danish says:

    Doctor,
    I had got my calcium checked it was 65% please suggestion are required to increase it fast…..

  30. kulwinder says:

    Hi doc,I am 54yrs old woman.I have lumber osteopenia.I took fossamax and calcium+vit d for 5 yrs.Last year my calcium level was10.3and i stopped calcium and fossamax.But recently when i did my blood work my calcium level is 10.7.I got menopause at age40.Please advise me,what i should do?

  31. Attorneys says:

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  32. Pradeep says:

    Dr,

    I m 32 Yrs old and i always having pain in my legs. According to the blood test for calcium, Calcium is low in my and and my pain too much increased after having sex.

    Please advise me.

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