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DisclaimerThis article is intended for informational purposes and is not intended to replace a one-on-one medical consultation with a professional. WLM researches and shares information and advice from our own research and advisors. We encourage every woman to research, ask questions and speak to a trusted health care professional to make her own best decisions.

What is it

Calcium is the most common mineral associated with the formation and metabolism of bone. Bones and teeth act as a reservoir (storage) of calcium in the body. Menopause is associated with osteoporosis (weakening of bones) and so calcium is one of the most important supplements during and after menopause. Calcium is also important for nerve conduction, muscle contraction, bone, and joint health preservation, as well as hormone secretion during menopause. The main sources of calcium are dairy products (milk, curd, and cheese), sardines, salmon, grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Foods like cereals, bread, juice, snack bars, and soft drinks are fortified with Calcium in some countries like the US but in many Asian and developing countries this may not be the case.  Calcium tablets are made from oyster shells and coral reefs by the manufacturing companies. Most calcium supplements have Vitamin D in combination for better absorption from the intestine.

How does it help

Osteoporosis. During menopause, women have lower levels of estrogen circulating in the body. Estrogen normally prevents bone resorption (the absorption of cells or tissue into the circulatory system) and maintains the normal strength of the bone. Increasing calcium intake through supplementation may help decrease the rate at which bone is resorbed and contributes to healthy and strong bones.


Calcium supplements can alter the level of commonly prescribed medicines like levothyroxine (used to treat hypothyroidism), dolutegravir (used to treat HIV), lithium (used to treat bipolar disorder), or antibiotics like ciprofloxacin. It is important to correctly adjust the dose or timing of medicine intake if you are taking any of these medicines.

Side effects

Calcium tablets can cause gas, bloating, and even constipation. If you develop these symptoms then it is advisable to divide the dose and take multiple smaller dose throughout the day or change the type of calcium you are taking.

Scientific Evidence

What else you should know

There are mainly two types of calcium in dietary supplements: Calcium Carbonate and Calcium Citrate. If you are taking the carbonate form then you need to take it along with the food for the best absorption. The citrate form of calcium can be taken either on empty stomach or along with the food. Older people can take citrate form rather than carbonate form of calcium for easier absorption from the stomach.

Ayurveda. Ayurveda also suggests the use of calcium supplements in post-menopausal women. It recommends calcium from natural animal sources like shankh (conch), coral, pearl, and herbs like asthishrikla, Shatavari (asparagus), shigru (Drum-stick plant), shilajit (asphaltum), amla (Indian gooseberry), sesame seeds, etc. Ayurveda believes calcium supplements not only increase bone quality but also improve the overall health of the body.

Traditional Chinese Medicine. There is no description of calcium supplementation in traditional Chinese medicine.


What are supplements

“Supplements” is an umbrella term encompassing vitamins, minerals, and botanicals that support our body’s functions


Garg MK, Mahalle N. Calcium Supplementation: Why, Which, and How? Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2019 Jul-Aug;23(4):387-390. doi: 10.4103/2230-8210.268505. PMID: 31741894; PMCID: PMC6844170.

Ross AC, Manson JE, Abrams SA, Aloia JF, Brannon PM, Clinton SK, et al. The 2011 report on dietary reference intakes for calcium and Vitamin D from the institute of medicine: What clinicians need to know. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011;96:53–8

Sesikeran B. Jamai-Osmania PO, Hyderabad: National Institute of Nutrition, Indian Council of Medical Research; 2009. Nutritional Requirements and Recommended Daily Allowances for Indians: A Report of the Expert Group of the Indian Council of Medical Research

600-1300 milligrams
Written & Reviewed By
Dr BalKrishna Subedi
Dr BalKrishna Subedi
Last Updated
September 6, 2022 9:04 AM