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Ten Calcium Myths and Facts

People are no stranger to calcium deficiency because the internet has made it easy for anyone to get any kind of information on the topic. However, there are many plausible rumors, misunderstandings and myths about calcium supplement. This article combines all kinds of arguments and clarifies all incorrect rumors. We hope everyone can learn the proper information and knowledge regarding calcium, and be able to prevent themselves from calcium deficiency.

Myth 1 : Too much calcium can cause kidney stones?

Although most kidney stones are calcium-containing stones, taking calcium supplements usually does not increase the amount of urinary calcium, nor will it cause kidney stones. Kidney stones are mostly calcium oxalate stones, and excessive intake of oxalic acid is the culprit of kidney stones. A foreign study found that more water supplementation can reduce the risk of kidney stones from 13% to 31% as well.

Myth 2 : The most effective way to supplement calcium is to drink milk?

100 grams of milk contains about 110 milligrams of calcium. If you only compare the amount of calcium in 100 grams of food, there are more foods better than milk. Two main reasons to explain why milk stands out from the crowd. First of all, milk is very convenience to get. It is a regular stock in most home refrigerators and is easy to buy. Moreover, calcium cannot be made by human body and must be replenished through daily intake of food. However, even if you eat calcium-rich foods, if it’s unable to be absorbed effectively, it is meaningless. The protein in milk will produce a substance called casein phosphopeptide (CPP) during digestion, and this substance can promote the absorption of calcium efficiently. However, there is no need to drink milk in order to supplement calcium. A healthy and balanced diet is the only way to maintain good health.

Myth 3 : Coffee could affect calcium absorption?

Eating habits are closely related to human calcium absorption. Coffee, excessive drinking, heavy taste, and love to drink carbonated drinks are all accomplices to accelerate the loss of calcium. Many studies have found that coffee consumption increases the risk of calcium loss. For example, in a 2006 study showed people who drink 2-3 cups of coffee a day have a 39% increased risk of calcium loss. However, does this mean we should not drink coffee at all? In fact, as early as 1994, the literature of the Journal of the American Medical Association mentioned that drinking enough milk can get enough calcium to offset the calcium loss problem caused by coffee. In fact, there are many nutrient factors that interfere with the efficiency of calcium absorption. In the modern days, people eat outside of the home regularly, high-oil and high-sodium diets may be the main accomplice to the low efficiency of calcium absorption.

Myth 4 : Bone broth can make up for calcium loss?

Many people are accustomed to drinking bone broth, and believe they can eat bones to help bones. Unfortunately, the amount of calcium in the bone soup is not only extremely small, but the bone soup also could increase the intake of fat and sputum, and potentially add the risk to our body. Many doctors have pointed out that the calcium contains in the bone soup is actually not much; it will be more beneficial to drink milk and take calcium supplements instead. As for how to effectively supplement calcium, doctors suggested to drink more milk, eat more dried fish, black sesame or tofu. If you happen to have lactose intolerance, you can change to cheese, yogurt or low-lactose milk. Vegetarians can also eat red leeks and kale to achieve good amount of calcium needs.

Myth 5 : Taking calcium supplements can avoid calcium loss from body?

The calcium that people intake is not absolutely absorbed, and the calcium absorption will decline with age. After adulthood, the body’s calcium absorption will decrease sharply at an average rate of 5-10% every 10 years. Research has pointed out that the average healthy adult is at an average calcium absorption rate of 25%, and the minimum for women before and after menopause is only 17%. This shows most of calcium we ingest every day is not absorbed and utilized, but directly excreted. However, getting enough calcium supplements can really lessen the chance of calcium deficiency. The fact is calcium cannot be used immediately after entering the body; vitamin D is indeed the one plays an important role in preventing calcium loss. When eating calcium-containing foods, the vitamin D in the body is like a porter, responsible for moving the calcium into the large warehouse of our body where calcium stores.

Myth 6 : Young people don’t need to take calcium supplements?

Puberty is the stage that our body demands for calcium the most, about 1300mg / day. Even in adulthood, the basic need is at least 1000mg / day. The risk of serious calcium deficiency in later years is often due to insufficient calcium intake in the growing stage. Because of the eating habits, our intake of meat, egg and milk does not meet the calcium needs of the human body. The calcium we usually get from food is not enough, so we need to get extra supplements. If you don’t get enough calcium in youth, you are likely to suffer from calcium deficiency when you get old. The key is to establish strong mass before the age of 30 to prevent fractures in later life.

Myth 7 : The higher the calcium content and absorption rate, the better?

When choosing calcium supplements, it should not only to look at the amount per serving, but to consider its absorption rate and the level of bioavailability. The higher the bioavailability, the more it will be absorbed and utilized by the body. Experts suggested that the absorption of calcium in a single capsule is about 500 mg. If the calcium product emphasizes a calcium content of 1000 mg, our body is unable to absorb the extra 500 mg. Therefore, it is recommended to divide into two or three times a day, 300 mg of calcium once is better for calcium absorption and concentration.

Myth 8 : Fractures Prevention = Calcium + Vitamin D + Sunlight?

When it comes to reach the good calcium level, people often choose only one approach – to take calcium and vitamin D supplements. However, the absorption and utilization of calcium requires a synergistic effect of multiple nutrients, including proteins to strengthen support, and minerals such as magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc that would work together with calcium to enhance hardness. A balanced diet plus moderate exercise can also increase density effectively.

Myth 9 : Supplement calcium is enough, there is no need to take medicine?

To treat the illness that causes by calcium deficiency, calcium and vitamin D are only the raw materials, and you need special drugs to increase the density. Your physician will determine a suitable treatment based on the evaluation of your bone mineral density (BMD) and bone metabolic markers. While treating the illness, if you pair with the corresponding exercise therapy, get proper sunlight and calcium-rich diet, the symptoms and discomforts can surely be improved in a long run.

Myth 10 : Calcium deficiency will happen to elders anyway, so there is useless to see a doctor?

Calcium loss can lead to an increase in the probability of fracture after a fall. It is indeed an important health issue. By studies, over the age of 60, the prevalence rate of calcium loss disease in Taiwan is 16%, and the ratio is quite high. Among which, nearly 80% are women. Older people are prone to vitamin D deficiency, thinner skin, light-weighted, and often have a higher risk of fractures. In addition, women have less protection after menopause, which increase the chances of fractures significantly. Therefore, to women over the age of 65 and men over age of 70, it is recommended to have bone mineral density (BMD) once a year, regardless of whether there is a risk for calcium deficiency.


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