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If Calcium Supplements Aren’t Safe, What About Calcium in Food?

In 12 short years, government panels have gone from suggesting widespread calcium supplementation may be necessary to protect our bones to “do not supplement.” What happened? I explore this in my Are Calcium Supplements Safe? video.

It all started with a 2008 study in New Zealand. Short-term studies have shown that calcium supplementation may drop blood pressures by about a point. Though the effect appears to be transient, disappearing after a few months, it’s better than nothing. Further, excess calcium in the gut can cause fat malabsorption by forming soap fat, reducing saturated fat absorption, and increasing fecal saturated fat content. Indeed, if you take a couple Tums along with your half bucket of KFC, up to twice as much fat could end up in your stool. With less saturated fat absorbed into your system, your cholesterol might drop. Given this, the New Zealand researchers were expecting to lower heart attack rates by giving women calcium supplements. To the researchers’ surprise, however, there appeared to be more heart attacks in the calcium supplement group.

Was this just a fluke? All eyes turned to the Women’s Health Initiative, the largest and longest randomized, controlled trial of calcium supplementation. The name may sound familiar—it’s the same study that uncovered how dangerous hormone replacement therapy is. Would it uncover the same for calcium supplements? The Women’s Health Initiative reported no adverse effects. However, the majority of the participants were already taking calcium supplements before the study started. So, effectively, the study was just comparing higher versus lower doses of calcium supplementation rather than supplementation versus no supplementation. What if you go back and see what happened to the women who started out not taking supplements and then were randomized to the supplement group? Those who started calcium supplements suffered significantly more heart attacks or strokes. Thus, high dose or low dose, any calcium supplementation seemed to increase cardiovascular disease risk.

Researchers went back, digging through other trial data for heart attack and stroke rates in women randomized to calcium supplements with or without vitamin D added, and they confirmed the danger. Most of the population studies agreed: users of calcium supplements tended to have increased rates of heart disease, stroke, and death.

The supplement industry was not happy, accusing researchers of relying in part on self-reported data—that is, simply asking if people had had a heart attack or not, rather than verifying it. In fact, long-term calcium supplementation causes all sorts of gastrointestinal distress, including twice the risk of being hospitalized with acute symptoms that may have been confused with a heart attack. However, the increased risk was seen consistently across the trials, regardless of whether the heart attacks were verified or not.

Okay, but why do calcium supplements increase heart attack risk, but the calcium you get in your diet doesn’t? Perhaps because when you take calcium pills, you get a spike of calcium in your bloodstream that you don’t get from just eating calcium-rich foods. Within hours of taking supplemental calcium, the calcium levels in the blood shoot up and can stay up for as long as eight hours. This evidently produces what’s called a hypercoagulable state. That is, your blood clots more easily, which could increase the risk of clots in the heart or brain. Indeed, higher calcium blood levels are tied to higher heart attack and stroke rates. So, the mechanism may be that calcium supplements lead to unnaturally large, rapid, and sustained calcium levels in the blood, which can have a variety of potentially problematic effects.

Calcium supplements have been “widely embraced…on the grounds that they are a natural and, therefore, safe way of preventing osteoporotic fractures.” However, it is now becoming clear that taking calcium in one or two daily doses is not natural, in that “it does not reproduce the same metabolic effects as calcium in food,” the way nature intended. Furthermore, the evidence is also becoming steadily stronger that calcium supplementation may not be safe. This is why most organizations providing advice regarding bone health, now “recommend that individuals should obtain their calcium requirement from diet in preference to supplements.”

We actually evolved getting lots of calcium—from eating lots of green leafy weeds, not popping Tums. See Paleolithic Lessons for more on this. How else can we combat osteoporosis? See my videos Prunes for Osteoporosis and Almonds for Osteoporosis.

I’ve discussed whether calcium supplements are safe, but Are Calcium Supplements Effective?

For more on calcium and bone health, see my videos:

Calcium supplements aren’t alone in their lack of efficacy. It is a story consistent with disappointments surrounding many other supplements, which you can learn more about in the following videos:

And be sure to watch Should Pregnant Women Take Calcium Supplements to Lower Lead Levels? and Lead in Calcium Supplements

In health,

Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:


Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.

225 responses to “If Calcium Supplements Aren’t Safe, What About Calcium in Food?

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  1. The problem is that when a dogma is formed, like the one of taking calcium supplements or drinking milk for bones health, it takes decades before that medical doctors actually become aware of it and change their daily recommendations and prescriptions.

  2. What about vitamin K2 which prevents calcium from collecting in the arteries and encourages calcium deposition in the bones? ” Recent scientific evidence, however, suggests that elevated consumption of calcium supplements may raise the risk for heart disease and can be connected with accelerated deposit of calcium in blood-vessel walls and soft tissues. In contrast, vitamin K2 is associated with the inhibition of arterial calcification and arterial stiffening. An adequate intake of vitamin K2 has been shown to lower the risk of vascular damage because it activates matrix GLA protein (MGP), which inhibits the deposits of calcium on the walls. ”

    1. This is a key issue. Many supplement studies done by mainstream medicine researchers do not use protocols that more cutting edge doctors use and these appear to be prime examples. Dr. Gregor points out the growing evidence that calcium supplements in isolation may have risks, but this was noted some time ago by many in alternative health and K2 supplementation is now routinely suggested with any calcium. Same thing with calcium combined with Vitamin D.
      You can see this trend over the last couple years in a publication such as Life Extension. Not saying we know for sure that this addresses the issue, but it is a possibility. Unfortunately it takes the researchers some time to catch up on evolving science. Yup, nutrition is so darn complex!

      1. Life Extension gets the bulk of its inconme from selling supplements. It may not present the full warts-and-all picture of what the evidence shows about supplement use.

        Also, calling something ‘cutting edge’ may just be a fancy way of saying unproven or speculative.

    2. Great link and helpful post! Note that Dr. Fuhrman’s multi contains K2 as MK7, the most active form (as well as vegan D3). Cf. Table 1 in the article. One can also get vitamin D with K2 but the ones I have seen include MK4, which is less well absorbed and less active.

    3. Julie: I’ve heard in Nutrition Action Newsletter that Vit K is necessary to form an enzyme which is necessary to lay down an atom of Calcium inside the bone. I get my Vit. K from Organic Parsley Flakes. I hadn’t heard before that Vit. K will keep excess Calcium from building up in the blood vessels. Thank you for the link.

      1. Sydney, you get vitamin K1 from leafy greens like parsley.
        That is not the kind that regulates calcium absorption.
        That is K -2-, completely different nutrient.
        They probably should have given K2 another name, as that has confused many people.

        1. May I ask for a source, from where do you get this information?

          At the link supplied by Julie:

          It says: Both forms of vitamin K, K1 and K2, are essential in maintaining blood hemostasis and optimal bone and heart health through the role they play in inducing calcium use by proteins. Vitamin K, particularly vitamin K2, is essential for calcium use, helping build strong bones and inhibiting arterial calcification

          I would appreciate more info on this.

          1. Sydney, two articles you may be interested in.
            Pubmed, “Proper Calcium Use: Vitamin K2 as a promoter of Bone and Cardiovascular Health”.
            Also look up the Rotterdam Study, scroll down to the abstract for the bottom line on heart, prostate cancer and bone.

          2. @Sydney, Vitamin K1 is more involved with blood coagulation. K2 is more closely involved with calcium finding its way to bones and teeth. K2 is like a traffic cop, directing the calcium to the bones and teeth instead of the blood vessels. Cows can convert K1 from grass into K2 in their stomachs, so dairy used to have plentiful K2. That is no longer the case, as most cattle, at least in the U.S., now eat feed instead of grazing. I often wonder if the lack of K2 from its absence in dairy is partially driving the escalating rates of arteriosclerosis in the U.S. If you are vegan (I am) supplementing is really the only option for K2, although some supplements are made from the fermented Japanese soybean food natto, which has the highest amount of K2 in any known plant source.

        2. My understanding is that bacteria in our gut convert K1 to K2. The bacteria also modify some of that K2 into theother vitamin K types.

          Consequently, if you are eating plenty of green leafy vegetables every day, vitamin K supplementation should be unnecessary. (IMHO there is also the risk – as with vitamin D supplementation – that the high doses found in supplements may have adverse effects different from the effects found with the sustained release and manufacture of vitamin K types in our guts from food. However, I am not aware of any evidence so far that vitamin K supplement use produces adverse effects).

          Soybeans can also provide vitamin K as can grapes for that matter.

      1. Take a look at this from Joel Furhman, M.D.: Elsewhere, he notes that Dr. Greger now supports DHA/EPA supplements (algae oil) to prevent brain shrinkage by getting enough Omega 3s.

        Here’s an excerpt from the K2 section:

        Vitamin K2
        There are two forms of vitamin K, K1 and K2. Vitamin K2 seems to be more important to supplement – vitamin K1 is abundant in leafy green vegetables, so those on a healthful diet would not need to supplement with K1. Vitamin K2 is produced by microorganisms and is low in plant foods. Also, vitamin K2 supplementation may offer additional health benefits: Vitamin K2 supplementation has been shown to reduce the risk of fracture, reduce bone loss, and increase bone mineral density in women with osteoporosis.10

        In several studies, vitamin K2 intake was associated with reduced risk of heart disease or coronary artery calcification (an indicator of increased cardiovascular risk), whereas no such association was found for K1.11 The human body can synthesize some K2 from K1, and intestinal bacteria can produce some usable K2, but these are very small amounts.12 Therefore, it is likely important to supplement with K2.

        1. Joy

          I get plenty of K2 from four organic omega 3 eggs/day and from four to eight ounces of 100% grass fed ground beef/day.

          In addition, I am guessing, my intestinal microbes manufacture K2 from all the K1 I get from organic: parsley flakes, kale, collard greens and broccoli.

          1. Gosh, tell me if you still want to do that after watching the introductory videos at Or look up “beef” or “eggs” at

            Animal products like those are one of two key reasons that the Western diet causes heart disease and cancer.
            ​ (The other is highly-processed, high fat/high sugar meals.) High protein diets like yours stimulate the production of insulin growth factor, which is fine for children because they are growing, but helps tumors grow and turn from benign to dangerous.

            Take a look at this:

            1. Joy:

              About Beef

              I agree the American diet stinks. I wouldn’t touch 95% of the items in a supermkt. In fact I wouldn’t touch 95% of the items in Whole Foods. (Have you noticed how many items in Whole Foods have some form of sugar added?)

              However, the studies quoted by anti beef people have been done on corn/wheat fed beef. There have been very few studies done on people eating 100% grass fed beef.

              Anecdotally speaking: Back around 1980 I ate about 2 – 2 1/2 lbs of standard corn/wheat fed roast beef per day and my total cholesterol was 240. Then I switched to eating a mixture of ground turkey breast, oats and olive oil and my cholesterol went down to 170. But then I switched to eating 100% Grass Fed Beef and my cholesterol went down further to 140.

              Also: 100% Grass Fed Beef has far more (I think three times) the amount of conjugated linoleic acid than corn/wheat fed beed.
              Shock Shock: Conjugated linoleic acid is thought to fight/prevent cancer and CV problems.

              I have read in wikipedia that Dr Greger – in spite of his many good attributes – ignores studies that don’t fit his narrative, so I won’t ask what Dr Greger has to say about 100% Grass Fed Beef.

              But things are changing:



              CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid): A Detailed Review – Healthline


              1. There are countries in the world where all or most of the beef is from grass-fed cattle, In some countries like Uruguay, they also ban hormone use etc so the beef is over 90% grass-fed and organic.

                Nonetheless, they still have high rates of cancer and heart disease. And if you look at Uruguay, the evidence shows that the more grass-fed beef people eat, the higher the rates of cancer.

                Of course the grass-fed beef advocates never talk about the rates of heart disease and cancer in countries where the cattle are grass fed. It would undermine their claims. Even in the US, most of the cattle were grass-fed until the 1940s I understand. That didn’t stop the US having high rates of heart disease comared to other countries at the time.

                Sure, grass-fed beef may be less unhealthy than grain fed beef as hordes of opinionated people on YouTube and the internet generally claim. Their reasons are plausible (but I have not seen any actual evidence of lower rates of eg cancer, CVD etc). However, “less unhealthy” is not the same as “healthy” which is what these people seem to be claiming. That is verbal sleight-of-hand.

                1. Tom Goff

                  I actually read your first ink. It said nothing about the health effects of eating 100% grass fed beef.

                  I started reading your second link which refers to various types of meat including processed beef.

                  The WHO said processed beef is a carcinogen. Okay, I do not eat processed beef.

                  The WHO said beef cooked on high temperature is a carcinogen.
                  Okay, I am careful to cook 100% grass fed beef at low temperatures.

                  Neither of the links you provided address the issue of how beef is cooked in Uruguay.

                  BTW: A number of farmers have told me it is necessary that cows eat only grass their entire lives. To prepare for winter, fresh grass is wrapped in plastic so it doesn’t dry out so cows will have fresh grass to eat even in the winter.

                  1. Sydney

                    The first link showed that vitually all the beef produced in Uruguay is grass fed.

                    The second link showed that the more beef people eat in Uruguay, the higher the rates of cancer

                    By coincidence, I received the latest newsletter from Dr Mirkin earlier today.. It contained a link to an article of his on diet and colon cancer. Here;s how it concludes

                    “Researchers have proposed many possible mechanisms for the association between colon cancer and eating mammal meat, but there is no agreement at this time (Mol Aspects Med, Oct 2016;51:16-30). Proposed causal factors have included:
                    • TMAO (trimethylamine-N-oxide)
                    • certain bacteria in the colon
                    • high salt intake
                    • saturated fat
                    • environmental pollutants
                    • polycyclic aromatic carcinogens formed from high temperature cooking methods
                    • chemicals such as nitrates added to meats during processing
                    • heme iron
                    • Neu5Gc, a sugar-protein found in mammal meat
                    • possible infectious agents (not yet identified)

                    The recent research on types of gut bacteria attached to colon cancers suggests that this may be the most likely explanation for the long-observed association between meat and colon cancers. We await further research.

                    Checked 3/22/18”

                    Good luck with cooking your beef at low temperature. It may reduce cancer risk I suppose …. but there is still no evidence that it is either healthy or harmless.

                    1. Tom Goff

                      I agree that there have not been enough studies about 100% grass fed beef to definitively prove its health or harm. But I am satisfied it is important for me to eat small to moderate amounts of it.

                      Of the proposed reasons in Dr Mirkin’s article re mammal meat causing colon cancer, most of them are not about the beef itself:

                      certain bacteria in the colon

                      high salt intake

                      saturated fat (a lot less in 100% grass fed beef)

                      environmental pollutants

                      high temperature cooking

                      added nitrites

            2. Joy

              About eggs:

              I know a lot less about chicken eggs than I do about 100% grass fed beef.
              The eggs I eat are supposed to be good because they are organic snd because they are high in omega 3.

              MDs have always said that as long as my cholesterol is down it is okay to eat four eggs/day.

              When I was in rehab in a nursing home, I depended on hard boiled eggs smuggled in to me to get enough iodine and iron.

              If one feeds organic corn to cows one can label the beef as organic, but corn is in fact quite bad for cows and the beef is quite bad for the people who eat it. (But see 10% grass fed beef.)

              The same way, I’m worried that the chicken feed may be bad for chickens and the resulting chicken meat and eggs may be bad for humans. In fact, I stopped eating organic chicken drum sticks when I read Dr. Greger’s article ““How healthy is the Mediterranean Diet” which said (paraphrasing): oleic and linoleic acid from chicken appear to increase significantly the likelihood of the appearance of new lesions.

              A few days after I stopped eating the organic chicken drum sticks I noticed I felt better and stronger. I have asked my physician to look up Gr. Greger’s article in the Med Journals. So far I am still eating eggs.

          2. Joy
            You would also be getting heaps of unwanted substances from eating these animal products.

            ..have you ever considered skipping the “middle animal”and getting those same vitamins from where the animal does?…the plants themselves…..the book The China Study is a great place to start….or dr c esselstyns “prevent and reverse heart disease”

            My life waS literally saved reading esselstyns book….i was eating like you….am 56 yrs old..young-feeling….slim…fit…healthy…..out of curiosity had a cardiac ct angiogram to check and sure enough my eating if animal products had produced a 25-49% blockage in my LAD artery…the widowmaker artery….neither my husband or i could believe it….i was very careful with diet….skim milk too etc etc….my husband then also got checkex and he too has a 46% blockage

            Within 3 weeks of going plant based…no added fats like esselstyn suggested….cholesterol and blood pressures plummeted….its been the best move weve ever made and now the blockages are reversing

            Im telling you….if someone who was sulposedly health consciouz like me could have a blockage half of all major cities woild too

            Hope that helps xx
            Georgie xx

        2. @Joy, the reason you don’t need to supplement K1 is due the fact that its role in the body for blood coagulation is so important that the body can actually recycle K1. No such mechanism for K2.

    4. “Vitamin D plus calcium supplementation was specifically studied in 2 trials (43, 44), 1 of which examined CVD incidence and found no effect (44). Both of these trials reported cancer outcomes, and while the smaller trial found a statistically significant decrease in overall cancer incidence over 4 years (43), the larger trial did not (44). The pooled unadjusted relative risk was 0.98 (CI, 0.91 to 1.04). Another trial examined vitamin D and calcium supplementation under a 2 × 2 factorial design and also found no main effect for either supplement (40).”

    5. Hello, Julie,

      as you pointed out, vitamin K2 is important because it drives calcium into bones – vitamin D3 does the same thing. Plants are still better source of natural calcium, but indeed, if you are for example prescribed calcium by your doctor, then take it with K2 and D3.

      Health Support Adam P.

  3. Did anyone differentiate between types of calcium supplements used such as calcium carbonate vs calcium citrate vs calcium lactate and whether or not it was processed with or without heat? Calcium Lactate is the form it is found in plants, carbonate is rocks, and heat can denature the calcium into an unusable form. The body has to ionize the lactate form into calcium bicarbonate in the blood stream to be able to use it effectively. That’s why researchers have estimated that most people will only absorb 5 to 10% of their calcium supplements…. up to 95% going right down the drain… literally!!

    1. I want to know about this as well. I have a WFPB diet and I read in my wholistic nutrition schooling that when you eat a lot of fiber (more than normal), your body has a hard time absorbing and processing calcium so you need to get more than RDA recommends. WFPB diet is extremely high naturally in fiber and it seems no matter how much I eat, I can’t get enough calcium so I take Pure Encapsulations – Calcium (Citrate) 300mg once per day. It’s just enough to supplement what I don’t get in food. Any suggestions if this is still not good for my health?

      1. This parallels my questions and I am kinda ultra high fiber. Does that mean I need lots more calcium than I receive in my plant based diet?

        Sent from Mail for Windows 10

      2. I am not aware that populations eating traditional diets high in fibre (eg Blue Zones populations) suffer the effects of inadequate calcium intake/absorption. Quite the opposite although perhaps this is because such populations probably engage in more physical activity that people in Westernised societies.such according to the World Health Organization

        “The incidence of vertebral and hip fractures in both sexes increases exponentially with age. Hip-fracture rates are highest in Caucasian women living in temperate climates, are somewhat lower in women from Mediterranean and Asian countries, and are lowest in women in Africa (9, 10, 12). Countries in economic transition, such as Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China, have seen significant increases in age-adjusted fracture rates in recent decades, while the rates in industrialized countries appear to have reached a plateau (13, 14).”

        There is also some suggestive experimental evidence to back up real world observations that fibre consumption improves bone health not harms it.

        1. @TG, I think you hit the nail on the head. Physical activity is a major factor in stimulating bones to grow and strengthen independent of diet.

      3. Hi…im wfpb too…and i get heaps of calcium every day…up to 1000 mgs (only need 800)….from cooked kale…

        Dr caldwell eszelstyn suggests people ..his heart patients…eat about 6 handfuls a day of cooked greens…with a dribble of vinegar….i eat kale for the calcium….even romaine lettuce is quite high i believe

        Hope that helps

        I dont take any supplements except b12.

        Just dont believe theyre safe

        Hope that helps

    1. Good question. China produces the industrial quantities of supplements (eg D) that go to fortify plant milks etc. It is one good reason not to go anywhere near these fortified (sic) foods.

    1. Jovany,

      what are you referring to, exactly? We don’t produce calcium, we need to obtain it from our diet.

      Health Support Adam P.

  4. What about the calcium content of rural well water, where there is a highish content of calcium, so much so, that pans leave a significant buildup of white residue on surfaces? Unless stainless steel sinks are wiped out, drying water leaves behind spots.

  5. Thinking about people dying by doctor.

    People are also dying by news pumping out disinformation.

    And probably by television doctor.

    And self-diagnosis.

    People are dying by Big Pharma

    And Big Supplement seller

    And nutritional deficiency.

    And disinformation.

    And con man on the internet

    And family home remedy

    It is so hard to keep up with everything.

  6. I was diagnosed with osteoporosis in 2003 at the age of 57. Other than wild caught salmon I am a plant eater, fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts, etc. Since 2008 I have taken AdvaCal Intensive (calcium Hydroxide and calcium oxide. Are these in any way different than the calcium described in this article? I am concerned about the heart and stroke risk described above. I took Fosamax from 2005 to 2011 while I was taking arimedex. Osteoporosis appears to be advancing some so I let myself be convinced to take Forteo. I am not sure this is the best approach but also not sure a dozen prunes a day and a handful of almonds coupled with greens and beans will slow the osteoporosis and actually build bone. At 72 years of age and the prospect of another 20-25 years of earthly life I do want to make wise choices. Anybody have any well thought out responses to this dilemma? Diet alone? Diet + Forteo? Stop the Calcium supplement regimen cold turkey? Also have begun to consume goat milk yogurt. Is this helpful?

    1. Dr Gregers prune video said that milk doesn’t work, but doubling fruits and vegetables and adding in almonds and soy can help.

      I suspect the goat milk yogurt to fall in the milk doesn’t work category, but yogurt is the one dairy product with benefits, so look up yogurt and see what those are.

    2. Heather, to build bone you do need calcium. But calcium hydroxide, and calcium oxide are forms that have very little absorption.
      There is a type called CCM calcium ( citrate and malate) that is much better absorbed if you have to go the supplement route.

      But there is a lot of calcium in leafy greens, and light cooking, a little water to wilt, with some fat added, like an avocado or some nuts, helps absorption.
      Calcium is not easily absorbed without fats.
      ( Have at least 3 cups of greens per day, kale, collards, etc. and at least 3 cups of other veggies).
      Also, magnesium has been shown to help bone mass even better than calcium, and if you take calcium you should be taking an equal amount of magnesium ( citrate and malate are well absorbed).
      Besides calcium and magnesium, you also need boron, vitamin D and vitamin K2 to adequately build bone.
      And, as TG reminded us, strength exercise, the muscle pulling on bone, is what strengths bone. Distance walking, lifting weights helps build bone.
      People need more exercise as they get older, not less.

      Drugs like Fosamax, only slow down bone reabsorption, they do not build bone.
      And they slow down replacement of weak bone. That’s why after being on them a long time, bones start to break.
      Hope this helps you.

  7. I’ve been wondering about calcium-fortified foods. Is the level of calcium in these foods safer and metabolized more like naturally occurring calcium, or is it still problematic? What about the different types of calcium used? I regularly have a cup of calcium fortified soymilk on my oatmeal every morning. What about the people who consume multiple calcium fortified foods close together, such as calcium fortified plant milk on their calcium fortified Cheerios, followed by calcium fortified orange juice?

    Are there foods that are good sources of Vit K2 or must we get that from supplements? If we must get it from supplements, are there then problems with concentrated levels of this vitamin, just the same as with the calcium? (I know calcium is a mineral, not a vitamin, but same concern). Thank you.

    1. Hello,

      I don’t know about calcium-fortified foods, so I asked Dr. Greger if he could adress that.

      As for vitamin K2, good source is natto. :)

      Health Support Adam P.

  8. The the calcium metabolism is complex and affects all cells. The supermarkets and online retailers sell products. Some products, like calcium supplements, were supposedly made to solve a problem. However, the solution was made when people were clueless but the product gained momentum because of tons marketing and people guide their purchasing decisions by marketing. The idealistic reduction of a solution found in a pill is very attractive specially if the customer is also clueless.

    1. Yes, It is also interesting that

      “Across the 74 countries with data, average national dietary calcium intake ranges from 175 to 1233 mg/day. Many countries in Asia have average dietary calcium intake less than 500 mg/day. Countries in Africa and South America mostly have low calcium intake between about 400 and 700 mg/day. Only Northern European countries have national calcium intake greater than 1000 mg/day.”

      Yet according to the World Health Organization

      “Hip-fracture rates are highest in Caucasian women living in temperate climates, are somewhat lower in women from Mediterranean and Asian countries, and are lowest in women in Africa (9, 10, 12).”

      So the regions with the highest rate of calcium consumption appear to also have the highest rates of hip fractures and the regions with the lowest rates of calcium consumption also have the lowest rates of hip fracture? Is the simplistic focus on calcium consumption for bone health as misplaced as the previous focus on dairy consumption for bone health?

      1. TG, I would suspect that a lot of the difference is the excessive intake of animal protein in countries with high rates of osteoporosis. Phosphorus depletes calcium.
        Also, lack of exercise. I asked a woman I am working with (for too high pulse rate), what exercise she is getting? She answered, “jumping to conclusions”!

          1. Yes

            My experience is that Magnesium, Manganese, K1, K2 and D all play important roles in bone health.
            And maybe also boron.

            I believe medical scientists who do studies about calcium in isolation and bone health are downright silly and perhaps irresponsible.

            1 a

      2. @TG, I’ve wondered if the key factor here isn’t the calcium so much, but the fact that Caucasian women living in temperate climates tend to be almost across the board deficient in Vitamin D, whereas people in Africa and Southeast Asian countries tend to have higher exposure to sun due both to climate and the fact that they spend more time outdoors.

    1. Soy products actually help.

      In his Q&A today he said that edamame is better than processed soy, and tempeh was something else he mentioned.

      I am wondering about the edamame, because none of the ones I see say organic.

      I am thinking it might still be okay, because they are removed from a shell.

  9. According to the information I have gotten, the problem with calcium supplements is not the spike in the bloodstream. It is that people take them as free-form calcium, which accumulates as plaque in the arteries. Bone spurs, also. I need supplements for severe osteoporosis, but I take them in the form of ionized calcium. I buy Bone Support from Eidon, along with their Silica product. It is a pure liquid, and it looks like water. This goes straight into the bloodstream and is taken up by the bones. You can tell if you have enough minerals in your system for bone support by looking at your fingernails. They should be hard, and they should not chip or peel. If they do, you need supplements, no matter how good your diet is. You may not be absorbing what you need. I sure wasn’t.

    Also, if you are losing bone, don’t forget to eat seaweed! I find nori and kombu very helpful. Again, I can tell by looking at my fingernails.

    1. Some years back I was treated with a raw vegan diet, including lots and lots of veggies, only berries for fruit, nuts and seeds. My fingernails grew stronger than they had been since I was a teen, and that was very strong. I’d say the calcium and K2 and everything else needed was coming from this diet. However, I don’t recommend a raw diet for a number of reasons. Still, eating lots of veggies should give you the same results, along with starchy foods like whole grains, beans, potatoes and sweet potatoes.

  10. What are the best sources of calcium in food? I tend to think of collard greens and tofu, but I’m probably missing a few things.

    1. Kale, Chia Seeds, Sesame Seeds, White Beans, Pinto Beans, Edamame, Broccoli, Artichoke, Oranges, Figs, Blackberries, Amaranth….

      1. I eat most of the things on your list, but still take supplements. Big questions are: How much is enough. And, how much is too much?

        1. I think the important thing is to get your nutrition from food, so as not to cause imbalances. Have you read Colin Campbell’s book, Whole? He explains it so well.

          The exceptions would be B12, since we don’t drink from streams any more, Iodine for those who don’t eat sea vegetables, and D3 for those too far north to make it all winter, or who don’t get outside much.

          1. Livewire:

            A good source for iodine is egg yolks, I eat four a day.

            I am taking B12, but I m not clear why you say people should.

            I agree about D3

        1. Yes, and mineral water and whole grain products, including rye bread, contain significant amounts of calcium (107 mg, 73 mg per 100 g).

          1. Here is what PubMed says about mineral water:

            “All the high-calcium mineral waters had absorbabilities equal to milk calcium or slightly better. When tested, all produced biodynamic responses indicative of absorption of appreciable quantities of calcium (ie, increased urinary calcium, decreased serum parathyroid hormone, decreased bone resorption biomarkers, and protection of bone mass)”

  11. I have a lot of relatives who don’t eat many fruits or vegetables, I am wondering if it is better to not have the nutrition versus supplement?

    Is there a difference between supplements made from food sources and synthetic vitamins versus fortified cereals and soy milk, etc?

  12. It was fun listening to Dr. Greger live.

    He talked about FodMap, which my friend is on, getting rid of all the good gut microbiome bacteria, so that the bad gut microbiome bacteria stop acting up.

    Switched from that to WNPR having a microbiome talk on Colin’s show right now.

    They said that they can figure out criminals by the bacteria left on keyboard keys.

    Happy I am WFPB now, but it seriously is upsetting that the vast majority of conversations I am hearing “out there” are as much variety as possible, rather than wanting to get rid of the bad guys.

    So upset that my friend is getting rid of all her good gut bacteria.

    I can’t even handle that the war of information on all of these concepts is going to kill people faster.

  13. Hi Dr. Greiger,
    I am on long term steroid use. My doctor recommends calcium and VitD3 twice a day. I am vegan, can I manage on just diet alone? Susan

  14. Now I have big concerns about my calcium intake. Unusual for a man, but I’ve been told that I have osteoporosis due to 3 lumbar fractures during the past year, although my bone density test last May said I have osteopenia. I’ve had vertebroplasties for my fractures, a prolia injection and calcitonin salmon to “help my bones,” and doctors have suggested high doses of calcium and vitamin D to help. My confusion is that my last blood work showed that I have normal levels of calcium and vitamin D. I am plant based and eat a large variety of veggies and greens and legumes, and soy or almond milk on morning cereal, etc. Big questions are, Do I get enough calcium in my diet? And, Is 3,000 mg. of calcium supplement plus 4,000 i.u. of vitamin D too much? G.P., neurologist and orthopedic docs are aware that I am plant based eater, but almost insist that I take the supplements. Help!

    1. Again, I think the issue is not whether you should take the supplements, but which ones to take. Take an ionized supplement, not solid calcium. Look up Eidon Bone Support. If you want to take Vitamin D, take Bio-Emulsion Forte. Solid calcium is not well absorbed, and it can settle in your arteries.

      1. Nina: this is an evidence-based website. If you’re going to make statements of safety and efficacy of ingesting something, please post peer-reviewed published studies like Dr. G does in support of your statements.

        Dr. Ben

      1. Simple activity like loading and unloading luggage and totes in/out of the car. These are things I had been doing for years, and I thought I was physically in pretty good shape with daily long walks and 3 times a week for gym workouts. Age at 80 may be a major factor.

          1. Just a very occasional diet coke and a couple cups of morning decaf coffee. Drink mostly water otherwise.

            Sent from Mail for Windows 10

    2. I would watch the osteoporosis videos before making your decisions.

      He has ones about calcium supplements not being effective and he has ones about prunes and almonds, plus you can up your intake of calcium in foods.

      I watched his video on people dying more from doctors than from not going and they do not keep up with the science is part of the problem.

    3. Ron,

      Micropulse ICES helps regrow bone. The NASA guy who developed it has interviews on YouTube. Not sure what is going on there though, I have one and I have to say it helped me a lot with my ankle injury, I hesitate to recommend it now, because something has happened that his website is barely there now, but I know he moved more toward brain gadgets and I know that his device helped me so much and helped in a permanent way. I was in pain for years from an injury and haven’t been since I used it. I just am iffy about his website. Makes it harder to recommend him, but animals who had missing chunks of bone, had the bone grow out.

      Other things seem to work, like low level laser therapy and pulsed ultrasound.

      I bought the Micropulse, because it is what I can afford and because he used to have the links to the research studies active.

    4. Ron: follow the objective evidence. Print out the research papers that Dr. G presents and show them to your doctors, and also ask them if they are aware of any research articles that support their recommendations. If not, maybe find some docs that practice “evidence-based medicine” instead of medical myths.

      Dr. Ben

  15. Because I am undergoing hormone blocking therapy, due to prostate cancer, my urologist recommended 1200 mg calcium (with Vit D). I have osteopina (probably like a lot of 67 year-olds). However, I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, tofu, seaweed, nuts, etc. I also exercise regularly. I’m worried my calcium supplement is way over doing it.

    1. I would be too. Show your doctor the peer-reviewed published research demonstrating an increased risk of heart attack in those taking calcium. Ask him/her what she thinks of this and if he/she has any evidence that taking supplements actually improves bone density. The notion that “it sounds right” is not enough.

      Dr. Ben

      1. Dr Ben:

        You haven’t commented about whether or not there have been studies on taking Calcium carbonate and Magnesium Gluconate and Manganese Gluconate and foods high in both K1 and K2,

        Anecdotally speaking: My own bone density has improve from osteoporosis to osteopenia by taking all of above.

        1. I have not commented as I have not reviewed the clinical studies, nor am I even aware if there are any. I’m leaving it for others that may know.

          Dr. Ben

    2. David

      Your specialist already has you on a relatively low dose of calcium for someone in your circumstances

      However, your concern is understandable. There is some evidence from observational studies that (dietary) calcium consumption above 900+ mg per day is associated with greater mortality

      “A dose-response analysis showed a U-shaped relationship between dietary calcium intake and cardiovascular mortality. Intakes that were lower and higher than around 800 mg/day were gradually associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular mortality. For all-cause mortality, we also observed a threshold effect at intakes around 900 mg/day”.

      Another review observed

      ” men who were taking ≥1000 mg/d supplemental calcium had a higher risk of all-cause mortality (RR, 1.17; 95% CI, 1.03–1.33) and cardiovascular disease–specific mortality (RR,1.22; 95% CI, 0.99–1.51)”

      Nevertheless, these are all averages and may not apply to someone in your position. The best solution is to discuss these issues with your urologist

      1. Tom Goff

        Do the links you provide discuss the health effects of taking calcium when one is also taking Magnesium Gluconate, Manganese Gluconate, and foods high in Vitamins K1 and K2?

        1. Sydney

          No but you can read the articles for yourself. The only one I am aware of is the calcium and vitamin D combo. That is apparently a wash. However, that wasn’t one of the combinations you listed

          Are you aware of any evidence on these matters (especially in the context of someone receiving hormone therapy for prostate cancer like David)? It would be interesting if you could post the links/references here.

          1. About prostate cancer.

            I have no knowledge about David’s specific type of prostate cancer.

            However, I remember hearing that both tomatoes and broccoli help to prevent prostate cancer. I would guess it wouldn’t hurt to try them even though David already has cancer. Apples too.

            Also the Conjugated Linoleic Acid in small amounts of 100% grass fed beef might also help.

            100% grass fed lamb actually has 20% more conjugated linoleic acid than 100% grass fed beef.

            Of course it most important to stick to the treatments ordered by his physician. Failure to do that is what killed Steve Jobs.

          2. Tom Goff

            I believe it is silly and irresponsible to test calcium and bone loss without also testing magnesium and manganese and making absolutely certain test subjects are eating large amounts of K1 and K2 rich foods.

      2. Like David, I’m concerned about taking too much calcium. I had 3 back fractures last year and have been diagnosed with osteoporosis. Doctors wanted me on 1800 mg of calcium and 3000 i.u. Vit D, although they know I’m a total plant based eater too. I have additional additional concerns because 3 years ago I had an aortic valve replacement due to a “heavily calcified aortic value.” They blamed it on age, more than a calcium problem. But is that the same kind of calcium? And, am I pre-disposed to having calcium depots? I am a very compliant plant based eater.

        1. There is a difference between free-form calcium and ionized calcium. When you take a supplement, it should be ionized. Free-form calcium easily settles as arterial deposits or bone spurs, even cataracts. The best source of ionized calcium I know is made by Eidon. I take their Bone Support product. It is a pure liquid, looks like water. This cannot settle into your arteries as plaques.

          Nina Moliver, Ph.D.
          Full-service dissertation consulting, editing, APA, statistics College-related coaching for students and their parents

          I am using voice recognition software. If you see mistakes and typos that don’t look like me, that’s probably why. My apologies in advance.

    3. Me too on question of too much Calcium. I’ve had back fractures during past year and diagnosed with Osteoporsis, So doctors have me on 1800 mg of calcium and 3000 i.u. of Vit. D. I eat all plant based with lots of greens and beans and veggies, so feel like my diet should be adequate. But am concerned about too much!

      1. Navron, can you please write to me at, or give me your email address? I’d like to ask a few more questions about your experience. Thank you!


        Nina Moliver, Ph.D.
        Full-service dissertation consulting, editing, APA, statistics College-related coaching for students and their parents

        I am using voice recognition software. If you see mistakes and typos that don’t look like me, that’s probably why. My apologies in advance.

    1. The calcium added to plant milks and cereals may not cause the potentially harmful spike in calcium levels that calcium supplements do. While it’s ideal to get your calcium from whole food sources- beans and greens- there are not found to be health detriments of calcium-fortified plant milks, so they need not be avoided because of the added calcium. -Dr Anderson, Health Support Volunteer

    1. The body will remove calcium from the bones to make sure there is enough in the blood. However, when you really are not getting enough calcium, your blood levels may be adequate, but on the low side.

      1. And, with 1200 mg of calcium plus a good balanced diet, I feel like I’m overdoing the calcium! Maybe that’s me. My blood work said I was on the low side of normal.

        1. I heard somewhere that on should never take more than 500mg of Calcium at once.
          My own experience is too much calcium at once can cause muscle cramps.
          My own regimen is 300mg – 400 mg four times a day alternating with Magnesium Gluconate and Manganese Gluconate.

    2. No. A blood test for Calcium may not give the whole story because your body will continuously rob your bones of Calcium to make up for a deficiency of Calcium

  16. I thought I read recently that Dr. Greger likes Whole Foods soy milk, which is supplemented with calcium. This post seems to say that any level of supplementation is not a good idea. What do you think of soy milks that come with 30% of the RDA for calcium?

  17. My uncle took calcium tablets more than 70 years ago and was found to have calcium deposits on his lungs ( tested for tb I imagine ) . My father told me that once . Therefore I was alway’s careful and also a doctor told me once ( like 25 years ago ) not to just take calcium for no reason . This all happened in the Netherlands . If this is all known to the medical profession why are all the stores full of calcium supplements and are doctors prescribing it .

    1. I used to take the recommended doses of calcium. At one point I had white bumps in the sclera of my eyes, which my opthalmalogisit said could be calcium deposits. I stopped the supplements and the bumps eventually disappeared.

  18. My experience: Magnesium and Manganese and Vit. K and Vit D all need to be taken when one takes calcium supplements. Dr Greger’s article doesn’t mention if this combination was tested. Also I’ve heard that one should never take more than 500mg of calcium at one time. I had male osteoporosis because I once ate a diet extremely high in animal protein. Now I’ve improved to Osteopenia. Calcium blocks Manganese absorption so I wait at least 20 minutes after taking Manganese before I take Calcium. I’ve noticed sometimes after taking Calcium I get minor muscle cramps so I then take an extra Magnesium. I take Magnesium Gluconate, Manganese Gluconate, Lots of organic Parsley flakes for Vit K, cholecalciferol for Vit. D and plain Calcium Carbonate.

    1. Although diet is, of course, crucial, I would not overlook the importance of weight-bearing exercise, including walking, hiking, jogging, resistance training (weight lifting), etc. Resistance has to be sufficient to stimulate an increase in bone density (swimming or even bike riding do not really count).

      In general, I think the importance of sufficiently challenging physical activity throughout life is often overlooked.

    1. My educated guess is that there isn’t a study on fortified milks, but if you can find ones that aren’t fortifief or make your own, then go for it!

    2. Hi Martin1223, thanks for your question. The effect of calcium from food on bone depends not only on the amount of calcium ingested, but also on the bioavailability of calcium. In general, calcium from food is as well absorbed as calcium supplements, but there are differences in bioavailability. Bioavailability depends on absorbability and on the incorporation of the absorbed calcium into bone. Absorbability depends on the constituents of the given food item. They can affect calcium absorption and/or excretion to varying degrees.4 Some decrease calcium absorption, such as oxalic acid (spinach, collard greens, sweet potatoes, rhubarb and beans), or phytic acid (fiber-containing whole-grain products and wheat bran, beans, seeds, nuts and soy isolates). For instance—the high availability of calcium in broccoli and kale,6 which is low in oxalate, and the low availability of calcium in spinach,7 which is rich in oxalate. Therefore, equivalent calcium contents do not guarantee equivalent nutritional values.
      Calcium carbonate has been used to treat symptoms caused by too much stomach acid such as heartburn, upset stomach, or indigestion. It is an antacid that works by lowering the amount of acid in the stomach. Calcium carbonate or calcium citrate is also naturally derived from the earth’s limestone, marble or sedimentation of crushed marine shells and it is added to milk and other non dairy products. However, if one has kidney problem should check with the doctor for further advice.

      Calcium revisited, part III: effect of dietary calcium on BMD and fracture risk

      1. Spring 03

        I love collard greens and am disappointed to learn they have oxalic acid.
        At least now I know why my urethra has been burning. I should be okay by cutting down the amount of collard greens I eat.

        Thank you

    3. I cannot find a study looking for the potential problems seen with calcium supplements in calcium fortified plant milks. It may be that calcium fortified foods temper the potentially harmful calcium spike seen with supplements. There is not evidence calcium fortified plant milks need to be avoided. -Dr Anderson, Health Support Volunteer

  19. I’m WFPB, and while I eat a good variety of whole food, incl greens, prunes, oranges….I started using Cronometer and found I wasn’t getting anywhere close to recommended calcium intake levels. (Not enough E or some B vitamins either, which surprised me!)

    I would love to see a deep dive on bone health. We’ve clearly got a lot of questions here!

    And then calcium has other effects, too, like on cardiovascular health.

    A bunch of people have asked: is the calcium used to fortify soy milk, etc, ok? Not all tofu is set with a calcium-containing agent–but is that kind of tofu good for calcium intake?

    There are so many different kinds of calcium supplements out there. Coral calcium, from bone, calcium citrate…when we hear about studies, we wonder: yeah, but were they using *this* kind of calcium, which doesn’t have those problems? Or were they including adequate D (or magnesium, or….whatever.)? What about lead?

    My understanding is that for good bone health we need calcium, D, magnesium, vitamin K, K2. I’ve seen recommendations for boron, silica (like from beans and beer), and strontium, which frankly worries me, but what if the strontium folks are right? (Would love to see a video on strontium!)

    I would love to hear more comprehensive recommendations on calcium and other supplements for bone health…in addition to diet, which I think we all agree is the ideal.

    Many thanks for all you do!

    1. Strontium supplementation seems like a very bad idea, at least according to

      “Three good reasons not to take strontium
      People who take strontium for any period of time are likely to make future bone density tests inaccurate. Strontium is like calcium and will replace calcium as the mineral in bone (Bone naturally contains calcium and phosphorus). Because strontium atoms are heavier than calcium atoms, swapping some of the calcium atoms with strontium atoms will make the bone mineral density appear to increase — this is not the same as making new bone.
      New research from Europe suggests that patients on strontium ranelate may have increased risk of heart attacks and blood clots, and it is likely to be removed from the European market.
      Since strontium citrate and strontium chloride are not regulated, you do not know what amounts your body is getting when you take these supplements. You also do not know whether they can seriously harm you.”

    1. Found it.

      Unfortunately for me, it is goji berries and raspberries by a mile. Followed by almonds.

      I don’t like either goji berries or raspberries, and I haven’t been eating almonds.

      Will start eating almonds soon.

      It is hard to figure out the nuts part, because I eat walnuts every day and use cashews for vegan cheese. Don’t know if it is okay to eat walnuts and almonds and cashews. Feels like I will be up to three handfuls a day.

      Wondering about that, because in the Q&A Dr. Greger confused me by suggesting nuts to someone trying to gain weight, in spite of his sharing all the studies where people don’t gain weight.

      Dr. Greger, did you just fall into a standard doctor advice old habit or do you have something else you are thinking about?

      The only way I could conceive of it causing people to gain weight would be for them to eat more than one handful and not lower the rest of their calories, which your studies say they do.

        1. Thanks Tom, I will read his view.

          I will watch the nuts videos again, too, because I think most were an ounce, but seems like a few were higher.

          I am thinking nuts has to be an issue with so many people using nut milks and nut flours on top of eating nuts.

          The logic will get trickier choosing between walnuts for healthiness and almonds for calcium and melatonin.

          1. Okay, I re-watched Dr. Greger’s nuts and obesity video and:

            In order from weight loss as a result to weight gain as a result:

            Longer term studies, 5 out of 6 there was weight loss and smaller abdomen with long term nut usage and the 6th, did not have weight gain.
            1 handful of macadamia nuts per day for 4 weeks, weight LOSS
            2500 calories per day including 2.5 ounces of pecans per day for 4 weeks, weight LOSS
            400 calories of Almonds versus Muffins, even though the diet was higher calories for the nut groups, they ended up the same or LOWER weight.
            1 to 2 handfuls of walnuts per day for 6 weeks, no weight gain
            2 handfuls of almonds per day didn’t cause weight gain – (40 to 50 nuts per day)
            3/4 cup of pecans per day for 8 weeks, no weight gain if person was on low fat diet
            1 handful of walnuts per day caused 1 pound weight gain in 6 months
            3 handfuls of peanuts did cause 2 pound weight gain.

            I am going to suggest again that Dr. Greger didn’t stick with the science when pressed. He drifted back into other doctor’s opinions, perhaps?

            I don’t know.

            To me, I would suggest 3 handfuls of peanuts a day might cause weight gain, but that was the ONLY study showing anything close to real gain.

            So 3 handfuls of peanuts might be what I suggest if I talk to someone who wants to gain weight. What I would recommend to someone, like me, looking at all the nut butters, nut flours, nut cheese, nut yogurts, nut milks and nuts…????

            I think: eat the nuts, and for the rest: try things like Tofu cheeses and soy milk and flour from a grains would be the way I would go.

            I do use peanut butter powder and am about to switch to Jif peanut butter powder after someone had me look up the processing.

            1. I left out a few of the studies at the end.
              Overfeeding on Candy – caused weight gain.
              Overfeeding on Nuts did not

              Using pistachios as a snack, 121 pistachios showed no difference from 0 pistachios in weight gain.

              Ah yes, the THINNEST people eat the MOST nuts and the Fattest eat the LEAST nuts.

              Nuts associated with weight loss.

              Butter, refined carbs, potatoes, potato chips and sweets / desserts associated with weight gains. Cake was something in the highest weight gain.

              So, to gain weight, maybe eat some cake made with date sugar and at least still get the nutrition? Or nut butters? Nope, I am up to the video where peanut butter didn’t make people put on weight either.

              Nope. You burn more calories and that included the peanuts and was way up there for the walnuts.

              So, out of all of these, it is just the people who eat the whole jar of peanuts who might gain weight?

              Dr. Greger, are you watching too many Dr. McDougall videos and backing up on your studies?

              1. I think Dr. Lisle had someone who wanted to lose more weight go off of potatoes, but when they got too thin, he added them back in.

                There was a video, where he talked about it.

                1. Also, I just remembered, he talked about “weight loss mistakes” people make, like drinking smoothies… where the fiber is broken down, so people don’t have their stretch receptors work properly.

                  So I would say that would be a great idea for weight gain, because people could eat lots of healthy nutrition, but removing the fiber might make them eat the two hundred calories a day more, which is what Dr. Lisle said obese people eat. Pretty sure he said something like, “It is just two hundred extra calories per day over the course of time.”

                  1. But, if I remember right, if you drink smoothies like a soup, it wouldn’t work?

                    Is that a Dr. Greger video?

                    I think you have to chug down your smoothies.

                    1. Okay, I just Googled and drum roll please:

                      Drinking 100% fruit juice leads to WEIGHT GAIN!

                      AN ANSWER WHICH IS BASED ON SCIENCE!

                    2. Deb:

                      Consumer Reports says most fruit juice is just sugar and water.
                      In fact (CR said) the gov once sued a major national company for mixing sugar and water and coloring and calling it apple juice. But the gov had a problem proving their case because apple juice is primarily sugar and water and coloring.

                      According to a chart published along with the article, Consumer Reports said the only juices that are any good are Orange and Grapefruit.

                      So it’s no wonder the sugar in fruit juices adds weight.

                      However, eating the fresh whole fruit gives one lots of good stuff.

                      For myself: I only drink Organic juices: Pure Cranberry, Tomato and (supposedly punified) Hudson River water.

              2. Dr Greger, you make me laugh so much.

                You do these utterly breathtaking series and teach me more on every topic than anybody else, then, just as I start to assimilate the information, you back up and give advice in a different direction and I am going to say that is so charming and I am going to laugh every time you do it.

                I also didn’t 100% like your B12 logic about the cheapest brand. How about a brand, which tests better for product in it? But I agree, there is no proof of toxicity.

              3. Which nuts?

                Dr Greger quoted a study saying that added nuts reversed some CV problems.

                I want to live to 116 so I need to know which nuts?

                Also: are seeds any good at reversing CV problems?

              1. LOL, yes, legumes, but they are in the nuts videos.

                There are a lot of things in the nut videos.

                Walnuts might be your answer, but go to walnuts and double check.

                As far as the fruit juice, I was just hypothesizing on Dr Gregers answer to what someone trying to gain weight should eat.

                He said nuts in the live Q $A, but it would be hard for them to gain weight on nuts. They would gain more weight chugging down smoothies or 100% fruit juice, or just counting calories and adding a few hundred calories per day of everything, except nuts, because nuts raises metabolism.

                They do have things like Benecalorie. I wonder what is in that?

            2. Deb My understanding is that many of the studies showing no weight gain were in the context of a calorie restricted diets.

              Clearly if nuts are simply added to your existing diet, unless your existing diet is calorie deficient, you are likely to gain weight. Also, raw nuts are less likely to promote weight gain than cooked (eg roasted) nuts.

              Here’s an article on this which you might find interesting. It is a long read but worth the effort. McDougall’s article is more succinct

  20. Could someone please advise? I’m vegan. I have been adding calcium enriched organic soy milk to my tea each day. I probably drink about six cups to 8 cups a day. I add about approx 50 mls of soy milk to each cup. There’s about 110mg plant based calcium in 100 mls of calcium enriched soy milk. That works out to my having about between 40 to 55mg of calcium with each cup of tea. Is this problematic? Thanks

    1. Well, my understanding is that adding soy milk (like adding cows’ milk) to tea negates the cardiovascular benefts of tea drinking

      So, even ignoring the calcium question, yes it is problematic. I drink mine black or occasionally take oat milk (however there has been no study on whether oat milk also blocks nutrient absorption).

    2. I believe there is a that Soy milk doesn’t absorb the calcium the way cows milk does. Trying to remember, but I think 40% absorbs.

      It is on Pub Med, but I don’t know how to go there and get back without losing this page on my cell phone.

    3. Hi TYR,

      I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. Thank you so much for your question.

      It does not seem to be a good idea to consume soymilk with tea. It may block the beneficial effects typically seen with pure tea. See the video Dr. Greger made here a few years back, explaining this concept:

      Therefore, I would recommend to NOT include soy milk in your tea.

      I hope this helps!

  21. Are you also eating a lot of soy products like tofu or veggie burgers or edamame?

    The soy videos, Dr Greger recommended something like 3 to 5 servings per day and said that problems come around 15 servings per day.

    Soy is good for you in its own right. It helped people’s gut bacteria and helps women live longer if they had Breast cancer and helps people prevent Breast cancer, etc.

    So if you switch milkds, you might lose the soy benefit and they haven’t tested oat milk yet doesn’t mean it doesn’t do the same thing as regular milk and soy milk.

    But you do lose the antioxidant value of the tea. I have one green tea latte with soy milk every day and I celebrate the soy and am pondering Dr Grehers bananas with matcha recipe video as how to get my tea and have its value, too and still keep enjoying my soy.

  22. But what about foods to which calcium has been added? I think that Dr Greger and other advocates of ‘calcium from food not supplements’ have elsewhere recommended plant milks and tofu as good sources of calcium even though this calcium is largely the result of added mineral calcium and not what’s found naturally in the beans or nuts from which the product is made. If it is ok to get 100 or 200mg calcium from eg calcium carbonate added to tofu or soya milk why would it not be ok to take a calcium supplement delivering the same amount (alongside some food)? Is there actually any evidence that consuming foods fortified with calcium is safe?

  23. I eat a plant based nutritarian diet… never meat, eggs, dairy, and very low saturated fat. I use cronometer to track. I do not get enough calcium from food, so I am using a liquid supplement that I try to use AM and PM, to prevent surges. I would love to get my calcium from food but I don’t think I am.

  24. The WHI and “how dangerous hormone supplements are” is debatable. There are risks, but also benefits. I would be less drastic in presenting hormones as “dangerous”.

  25. Hi Ginnis,

    I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. Thank you so much for posting! It’s great to hear that your diet does not include animal products and is low in saturated fat.

    Calcium can be a difficult nutrient to obtain for plant-based eaters, especially if the diet does not include primarily whole, plant foods. First, green leafy vegetables (especially kale, bok choy, and collard greens) are very high in calcium, and should be consumed rather liberally. For example, 1 cup of bok choy contains 7% of calcium needs, yet less than 0.5% of calorie needs (on a 2,000 calorie diet). Therefore, you can get the greatest calcium intake for your caloric “buck”. Even a small orange contains 3% of your calcium needs, while fulfilling only 2.5% of your calories for the day. So if you ate nothing but oranges throughout the day (not recommending–just as a point of reference), you would meet your calcium intake needs.

    There are other foods rich in calcium, such as beans, soybeans, as well as calcium-fortified foods such as soymilk.

    Finally, there is something to potentially be said about the artificially high estimated calcium requirements. Some experts believe that the recommended calcium intake is set so high that the only realistic way for a majority of Americans (those not eating whole food, plant-based diets) to obtain “adequate” calcium intakes is by consuming dairy. However, we know that dairy contains other harmful nutrients (saturated fat, animal protein, cholesterol) and non-nutrients (hormones, etc.). It is thought that the dairy industry may have played a role in the setting of the calcium recommendations.

    I hope this wasn’t information overload. Best wishes on your health journey!

        1. Tom Goff

          I agree that too much animal protein can cause bone loss. In fact that is how I got osteoporosis, kidney stones, sand and gravel.

          I now eat only two to four ounces of 100% grass fed cooked at low temperature ground beef at a meal – no more than four to eight ounces per day. At each meal I eat lots of dark green leafies, oats, apples, tomatoes, blueberries, grapefruit, etc etc.

          Thus I balance the acid effects on the kidneys of one with the alkaline effects of the other.

        2. Tom Goff


          I’m sorry, but the video to which you directed me was not about “animal protein” which you said it would be, but it about high protein which was never defined.

          I am happy that the large amounts of plant foods which I eat with my 100% grass fed beef “balance” each other.

        3. Tom Goff

          cancer cigarettes and beef

          I beleve it was you who pointed to the high cancer rates around 1940 when all cows were (supposedly) 100% grass fed.

          Around 1940 the rate of cigarette smoking (at least among men) was about 50%. Cigarette smoking has of course been linked to many types of cancer and CV problems.

          The cancer rate has been dropping as less people smoke. Perhaps it will continue to go down as more people eat 100% grass fed beef and also eat more insecticide free organic foods.

          1. Cigarette smoking certainly has an effect but I am not aware that in the first half of the 20th century, people in the US were smoking more than people in other countries.

            I;ve still not seen any evidence that grass fed beef is actually healthy. Are you aware of any?

            1. Tom Goff

              Anecdotally speaking:

              At my next appt with my physician, I will be asking him to order tests to check out my arteries.

              Meanwhile I am 76yo and my BP and cholesterol are low without taking any medications. And I have no signs of diabetes.
              And I feel better and stronger since I stopped eating organic chicken drumsticks thanks to Dr Greger.

              I am hoping to continue eating small to moderate amounts of 100% grass fed beef (and plenty of plant foods) for 20 – 40 more years.

  26. Hi Justine,

    I am a volunteer with Dr. Greger. Thank you so much for your great question.

    This is actually something I think about as well. However, there is no data to support it, because it would be very difficult to study.

    If you believe that calcium-fortified foods may pose a potential health risk to you or your family, simply ensure that adequate amounts of calcium is are consumed from rich sources such as bok choy, collard greens, kale, beans, soybeans, and even some fruits like oranges.

    Best of luck! I hope this helps answer your question, although there is no data that I am aware of to support it necessarily.

    1. Thank you whollyplantfoods. It’s a real conundrum. I assume that since Dr G is against supplements but ok with calcium-fortified foods it must be that he believes the relatively small size of the dose and/or the combination with food makes the latter safer than the former. Personally I’m not very happy about either but I do wish there were some actual evidence to go on.

      One other thing I have been wondering about is whether the calcium in plants is a different form from mineral calcium and whether this makes it any safer. Some plant milks are now fortified with calcium from a seaweed called Lithothamnion Calcareum. The plant of course gets its calcium from the rocks on which it grows but I’m wondering if there is any reason to think that the plant’s biology makes this in some way a safer option. Does anyone know of any research?

  27. Are calcium “enriched” products like cereals a problem as well? Most ones I eat have about 25% RDI on the label. Its a spike Im sure, but a smaller one, so would it still be a risk?

    1. Hi Sam! Thanks for your question.

      Calcium supplements increase heart attack risk but not the dietary calcium; possibly, because when you take calcium pills, you get a spike of calcium in your bloodstream, which usually one doesn’t get just by eating calcium-rich foods, producing a hypercoagulable state and increasing the risk of clots in the heart and brain; it doesn’t matter if it’s a high dose or low dose, any calcium supplementation seems to rise cardiovascular disease risk; individuals should obtain their calcium requirements from the diet in preference to supplements

      Calcium supplements: benefits and risks.

      Cardiovascular complications of calcium supplements.

  28. Do the cardiovascular risks with calcium supplements also apply to calcium fortified foods like orange juice and almond milk?

    1. Hi, Jayne Palu. The short answer to your question appears to be yes, there may be cardiovascular risks associated with calcium fortified foods such as orange juice and almond milk. You might find this article interesting. Naturally occurring calcium in foods such as collard greens does not seem to have this effect, possibly because these foods also provide vitamin K, because of the form or amount of calcium provided, or because of other naturally occurring compounds in these foods that may act synergistically with the calcium. I hope that helps!

  29. I was watching one of the Cancer videos and it talked about Phytates as preventing Osteoporosis.

    So, we have to officially add beans to the list. Beans, nuts, grains

    1. Sources of Phytates: For Grains bran has the most. It has double the amount as whole wheat and whole wheat has double the amount as corn, oat or rice.

      Potato has phytates, which survive cooking.

      For the beans: pinto beans, kidney beans and navy beans, and soy beans are good sources.

      Soaking the beans cuts the phytates by as much as half.

  30. Dr Greger, I am not heckling right now, I am seriously curious, are you going to be backing up on the nuts in your How Not To Diet book?

    Emotionally, I find nuts chsllenging to eat, because there are nut breads, nut cheeses, nut flours, nut milks, nut yogurts and nuts and I am eating walnuts for one thing and want almonds for another and like pistachios so much that I snaxk on them and also like peanut butter. I am doing powdered peanut butter, but I lsugh inside, because I don’t know which thing about nuts causes the metabolism to increase. I want more research on all of those things, but it feels like it is way too easy to eat way too many if you drink the milks or eat the cheeses. Do those things have the same metabolism effects? Do we know yet?

  31. I could do the same type of list with soy and add in veggie burger types products, tofu, tempeh, edamame.

    Those of us who used cheese and milk in everything suddenly can err in way too much soy or way to many nuts way too easily.

    Especially if we have two forms of logic going on, which most of us here, do.

    For instance, we are replacing cheeses and milks and eggs and meats in our recipes

    And are trying to find things the people around us will eat

    But also are doing the health logic and eat the walnuts to not have a stroke and eat the almonds for other things, then get to the pistachio benefits.

    The using those items like the study did makes those semi permanent in my diet, but the fake cheeses and milks are also in my diet daily.

    I don’t do the flours or nut breads or yogurts anymore, because I can’t figure out how many of the nut study nuts to knock out.

  32. You have to remember that some of us are Americans and feel like we might easily go over 15 servings of soy, so then we mentally move things to 6 servings of nuts, because we aren’t sure really that we are doing serving sizes of all of it properly, though we are confident that we are not doing 120 pistachios.

  33. A lot of it is more like trying to guess how many gum balls are in the jar.

    Are we supposed to be counting how many cashews went into the cheese and trying to figure out how many became the blob of cheese on our portion of lasagna?

    And if people eat seconds, did they just increase their IGF if it was soy?

    I never won that candy in the jar game. Not even close is what my logic remembers, but was I over or under. I can’t remember.

  34. It is like they took the jar of jelly beans melted them all down and made milk and cheese out of it and put some in yogurt and flour and then asked me to guess how many jelly beans were in the jar and that is a tricky question and I need the math department.

  35. There was some research published in Italy about 10 or 15 years ago that indicated that osteoporosis appears to be the end result of the chronic ingestion of high protein diets, and could be corrected by lowering protein intake, stopping calcium supplementation and increasing potassium supplementation.

    Here’s the theoretical model, followed by a summary of what I remember reading about published clinical trials that supported the hypothesis. I’m sorry but I don’t have the journal citations.

    Fact: Excess protein needs to be deaminated (have the nitrogen molecules removed, turning it back into just a carbon chain) so that the excess protein can be eliminated. The deamination process is physically stressful due to the extremely acidic reactions that are involved. Normally potassium reserves are used to maintain pH balance in the body.

    Hypothesis: With chronic high protein diets, the deamination is so excessive that our potassium reserves are completely inadequate for maintaining blood pH balance and neutralizing the extra acidity from protein deamination at the same time. The body then pulls calcium out of the bones to neutralize the excess acidity in order to protect the kidneys. Any excess calcium is then excreted from the body, as it is not available for redistribution within the body at that time. If protein intake remains chronically high, the body loses more calcium than it takes in and osteoporosis eventually will become evident.

    Results of clinical trials with clinically supervised potassium supplementation: In the reported studies, patients in Italy were placed on diets with considerably less protein than they had been eating, potassium supplementation was added at therapeutic levels, and calcium supplementation was discontinued. For safety, blood potassium and pH levels were closely monitored. The results were quite surprising, because not only did the calcium bone loss stop, but the calcium went back into the patient’s bones, returning the calcium bone density to normal. Followup studies were performed and reprovided the same good results.

    Since it is difficult to have a high protein vegan diet, this supports the recommendation. However, there are a lot of people like myself that don’t thrive on a vegan diet. However, it is still fairly easy to keep the protein down to safe levels. Here’s what I essentially do. From about a 1,700 calorie diet, I ingest about 40 to 45 grams of protein and about 170 grams of carbs a day total. About half of this protein comes from vegetable sources, that provide 12 to 20 grams of soluble fiber a day. This simultaneously provides about half to two thirds of my protein requirements requirements. I can then add a total for the day of about 3 ounces of any combination the following high density protein foods: organic ground beef, cheese, poultry and/or wild caught fish, or the protein equivalent of organic eggs to supply the remainder of the protein that I require. Some nuts and chia or flax seeds are sometimes utilized, instead of some of these non-vegetable protein foods. If nuts and/or seeds are included, then chia and/or flax seeds need to be added to a meal to provide sufficient omega-3 fatty acids to offset the negative effects of the exceedingly high omega-6 fatty acids that they contain. The same applies if any of the high omega-6 polyunsaturated fat containing oils are used in preparing or processing the foods that make up the meal.

  36. I was reading about Potassium Salts and Bones in Science Daily.

    and Linus Pauling talks about 4 Cross-Sectional studies:

    They mention that it is the acids, which the Potassium buffers.

    Sounds like they believe the minerals in the bones are drawn into the rest of the body to change the body PH and that when the Potassium is given, the minerals go back into the bone.

  37. LOL!

    I know that my brain isn’t up to this discussion.

    Some of you are decades ahead of me.

    I tried to look up Serrapeptase and Calcium Deposits and only found anecdotal evidence of it.

    1. Web MD weighs in.

      They say check for:

      Estrogen deficiency in women, with men they look at both estrogen and testosterone. Testosterone deficiency is what the check in men.

      They also say:

      Too much parathyroid hormone, and not enough growth hormone. (Pondering that versus the Cancer growth hormone lesson.)


      Lack of Calcium, Phosphorous, Vitamin D


      Being too sedentary


      Smoking or Alcohol Intake


      Anti-Seizure Drugs


      Digestive Diseases
      Cystic Fibrosis
      Multiple Myeloma

  38. Okay, if herbs can help, why not check the “usual suspects” like Turmeric.

    Works in the lab setting

    Happy about that now that I found out that tomato paste masks its taste perfectly well.

    India says that Amla helps

    Web MD Says that Drinking tea helps (even if Caffeine is considered a risk factor)

    Here is a site, which lists 7 teas, which they say helps

    And Green tea is one I was looking up:

    “A 2009 study found that 3 components in green tea – epigallocatechin (EGC), gallocatechin (GC), and gallocatechin gallate (GCG) – have an effect on osteoblasts. EGC in particular promoted bone growth by boosting a key enzyme, and by inhibiting osteoclasts (the cells that tear down bone).2”

    So how does Broccoli Sprouts do:

    This site says that studies show that Sulphorophane in Broccoli Sprouts is better than osteoporosis drugs.

    Because this is a vegan community, I looked up


    Omega 3’s

    Japan says Cinnamon helps

    Garlic was confusing. Seems like it helps, if it is in combination with something else, but there was one page saying there were cases where they felt like it caused it.

  39. Myers Detox adds in things like heavy metals toxicity of things like Lead, Aluminum, Cadmium, Flouride and recommends a detox.

    And PubMed agrees (Myers didn’t mention mercury, but PubMed did)

    Might be time to get those fillings removed?

    I already got rid of the aluminum in my toiletries. Have to rewatch the lead in the blood video on this site. Can’t remember what caused it.

    1. Lowering salt intake is one of the things to prevent it and animal products for many reasons – the gut microbiome, the acidic diet, etc.

      And there are studies on PubMed with individual amino acids.

        1. On a hunch I tried to look up the whole burnt food link and it doesn’t Google, but I can Google the bunt food affecting the endocrine system and I can find studies between the endocrine system and osteoporosis.

          So don’t burn your toast.

          And I am guessing do one of the vegan Diabetes diets would be another Endocrine system thing, but I haven’t Googled it yet.

    1. Avocado has been studied, and may be good for osteoporosis, but it was often paired with soy and that makes it more confusing for me to unravel.

  40. Save our bones site says that foods with Apigen help.

    And I found at least one study on that, too.

    Yes, I am not looking for the gold standard studies, because it is almost 4 in the morning and I just still can’t sleep at night and am still doing brain plasticity and it is helping my brain, but something tells me that I am supposed to be reading something boring to help me sleep and studies probably are so far above my head that they should be boring, but I am learning things, so it isn’t helping put me to sleep at all.

  41. One of the things will be proximity to power lines and wifi and cell phones and things like that.!po=97.5806

    I watched a documentary where a guy wrapped his room in aluminum foil or something like that and it did change his houses reading.

    I knew a young man who felt like he needed to wear an aluminum hat when he was on the computer or cell phone and it was before it became news that it could harm us and people laughed at him, and said that he was mentally ill for wearing an aluminum hat, but it turned out he was right to be worried and it also turned out that he had brain Cancer.

  42. This is a combination of very interesting and concerning for me. I welcome any help, comments or referrals to sources relevant to the following.

    I supplement with calcium as a prevention strategy for calcium oxalate kidney stones. I have formed calcium oxalate stones and my only identified risk factors, arrived at together with a nephrologist, urologist and relevant tests, are dietary oxalate intake and calcium intake. The purpose of supplementing with calcium is to make calcium available in the intestine in sufficient quantity to bind to oxalate and enable the oxalate to be excreted rather than accumulate in the kidney.

    Specifically, I supplement with Calcium Citrate powder, and I do so by adding 200 mg into meals. Highlighting therefore that the supplemental powder is always eaten with meals and mixed into food rather than taken as a pill separate from meals. It is my hope that this enables my body to process the calcium similarly to how calcium naturally present in food would be processed rather than how concentrated calcium in pill form would be processed.

    Views and comments and challenges welcome!

  43. Thanks for your awesome work! i’m a super fan :)
    Months ago I decided to stop consuming fortified plant based milk (with emulsifier, sunflower lecithin, vegetable gum, carrageenan, ascorbic acid etc ) and make my own milk.. at the same time in order to replace the calcium that i was getting with those products (1 cup – 37% RDI) I started to take a calcium supplement with only one main ingredient: Certified organic, Lithothamnium calcareum sea vegetable.

    My question is..
    is that calcium supplement based on sea vegetable a good one?
    or there is not a real difference between the different calcium supplement choosen so they should be avoided anyway?

    What’s the difference in taking those fortified plant based milk (1 cup) and a calcium supplement dose for that 37% RDI?


    1. Silva,

      The form of calcium in lithothamnium calcareum sea vegetable products is calcium carbonate. Some/many of the “milks” use calcium phosphate and there is a difference.

      For a bit more of understanding the difference: Tricalcium phosphate is also called “bone ash,” and differs from the calcium in your bones by having a different crystal structure and by being dehydroxylated, which results in lower acid requirements for dissolution and absorption. Other than the lower stomach acid requirement, it is absorbed and transported by the same mechanisms as bone calcium, a form of calcium that omnivores and carnivores have been consuming for hundreds of millions of years, unlike calcium carbonate. (Calcium carbonate is a good antacid because it uses up so much stomach acid; if you are not producing excess stomach acid, calcium carbonate – such as oyster shells or limestone – is not your best choice.)(

      The argument that the lithothamnium calcareum sea vegetable is better is based on the other constituents, specifically the naturally occurring magnesium is questionable. ( The amount of magnesium present is so limited as to be a very much good branding rap, but not good science. The other concern, is does the product, harvested from the ocean, contain microplastics and other toxic metals ? The only reference is the Celtic origin rap, under info, which in no way gives us data.

      For a bit more on calcium levels and appropriate intake for vegetarians/vegans see …..

      Considering the potential for additional fluid intake via the milk vs an expensive supplement I’d suggest the prior.

      Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger

  44. I am no expert but I see from a search that the calcium in Lithothamnium calcareum sea vegetable is calcium carbonate. It’s true that there are other trace minerals in the product (which seems quite expensive) but off-hand I am skeptical that it would make a difference as long as those other minerals, e.g. magnesium, are provided in the required amounts from elsewhere. As I recall, the issue with calcium supplements, as with other supplements, is the truly large amount taken at once (500- 1000 mg). I know e.g. that Dr. Fuhrman’s women’s multi contains 200 mg of calcium, although I am sure he would be against taking a larger amount as a supplement. Interestingly, the men’s multi does not. Vegan diets can be too low in calcium. However, on my WFP diet I routinely get at least 800-1000 mgs of calcium from mostly from whole plant foods (meaning some comes from calcium-set tofu or soy milk).

    I recommend reading
    for a quick overview of some myths about calcium, bone health and vegan nutrition.
    He also recommends a small dose supplement if your diet falls short.

    So my view is that carefully planned diets would not need a pill supplement but its difficult to get sufficient amounts according to the WHO guidelines ( 1000 mg per day) without eating lots of e.g. collard greens or broccoli. On the other hand, calcium is only one part of the formula for strong bones. Don’t forget the other needed minerals, especially magnesium, and also sufficient weight bearing exercise.

  45. I am a 59-year-old woman. My Parkinson’s disease appeared at the age of 57. My symptoms, at the beginning, were fine tremors and rigidity with joint stiffness. My neurologist prescribed entacapone with levodopa, carbidopa, and pramipexole. I opted not to go on prescription medicines but decided on using herbs instead, October 18, 2017 after being on the herbs you recommended, i had a total recovery from Parkinson’s disease with this natural herbal formula treatment. The tremors, Shaking, Joint Stiffness has subsided. When I stumbled upon you guys, it was just pure instinct.perfecthealthherbalfoundation@ And from that day on it has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. The caring that goes into explaining what herbs work for whatever ails me is astounding. In today’s world where so many are after a quick buck, selling without care, perfect health Herbal foundation’s staffs amplifies the difference. I’m a believer in karma, and for generations to come, this is a herbal store that will be leaving it’s footprint in this world.

  46. Calcium carbonate, after various trials, is the only absolute thing that prevents mushy, watery bowel movements for me. And now, with fecal incontinence saves my life.

  47. Hi there. Some vegetables have a high oxalate profile and, as such, interfere with calcium absorption by the body. Would these vegetables also interfere with the absorption of calcium by low oxalate, calcium-rich vegetables if eaten in the same meal. For example, can I add beetroot to my kale salad, or eat sweet potato with broccoli on the side? If not, should I forgo beetroot and sweet potato, since I eat them quite frequently?

    Thank you!

    1. Hello Erez,

      Unfortunately yes, eating high oxalate foods with low oxalate foods will still lead to some interference in absorption of certain minerals. That’s why Dr. Greger suggests limiting spinach, beet greens, and swiss chard in the diet. They are very healthy foods, but should not be made main staples.

      I hope this helps,
      Dr. Matt, Health Support

  48. What about fortified food (calcium fortified soy milk, yogurt, etc.). I am struggling to make my 6 yo eat more food high in calcium, like leafy greens, almonds, nut butters, seeds at the moment. I try to push those and sneak them in her food, but until i’m successful, i use fortified milk and yogurt additionally. Is it recommended? Any other strategy?

  49. Hello Anna and thank you for your very good question,

    I am a family doctor, and a volunteer for Dr. Greger on this website. To provide a little insight into your question, here is more from the article Dr. G quotes toward the end of his article:

    “…current recommendations are to obtain calcium from the diet in preference to supplements. Dietary calcium intake has not been associated with the adverse effects associated with supplements, probably because calcium is provided in smaller boluses, which are absorbed more slowly since they come together with quantities of protein and fat, resulting in a slower gastric transit time.”

    If you want to read the original article, which is very informative, here is a link to the full text:

    Now, to get back to your question: Calcium fortified foods are better for children (and adults) than are calcium pills, because they are more slowly absorbed. The type of calcium is also important: the least expensive form is calcium carbonate, but it is not as well absorbed as are calcium citrate, calcium phosphate, or calcium lactate; and also tends to cause more gastrointestinal side effects.

    But before giving up on foods which naturally contain calcium, you might want to try making smoothies — blending up things like kale with fruits and plant milks (and if you want more protein, try adding some silken tofu).

    When you say you’re using “fortified milk and yoghurt”, are you referring to products derived from dairy? If so, please look up some of Dr. G’s videos about the dangers of cow milk. Fortified plant milks and plant yoghurts are better choices. Of course, if you drink rice milk, you have to worry about arsenic intake: Better choices are oat or hemp milk, both of which contain significant protein; soy milk also good — with high protein content, but it causes GI side effects in some people.

    Here is a recent “Fact Sheet for Health Professionals” put out by the NIH, updated on 10/16/2019. In my opinion, it is a little biased toward the benefits of calcium, but it is still a good source of information, and includes calcium requirements for different ages:

    I hope this helps.
    Dr. Jon
    Health Support Volunteer for

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