Beyond Calcium: The Best Supplements for Women’s Health

Beyond Calcium: The Best Supplements for Women’s Health

How Much Calcium is Too Much?

If you’ve ever felt worry or anxiety after getting your bone density results, you’re not alone. Many women share this experience, and it’s not uncommon to hear that you’ve been:

  • diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis
  • advised to take a high dose of calcium
  • prescribed a bisphosphonate drug

Despite getting more calcium, you may notice that your bone health continues to decline, or you start to experience muscle twitches and leg cramps, adding to your concerns. While it’s easy to feel pressured to follow your doctor’s advice without question, it’s essential to understand that bone health isn’t solely dependent on calcium. Various other nutrients play a significant role.

In this article, we’ll explore how to strike the perfect balance without going overboard.

It’s Easy to Overdo It

You’ve likely heard time and again how vital calcium is, particularly as you age. And it’s true—calcium plays a role in combating bone loss. But it’s very easy to overdo it. Here’s a closer look at how many women unintentionally exceed their calcium needs:

Supplement Overload

Many turn to calcium supplements to protect against bone loss, especially post-menopause. Though well-intentioned, these can result in an overdose. Pairing calcium with other nutrients like vitamin D and magnesium is needed to optimize its absorption and effectiveness, so think about a comprehensive plan rather than focusing on calcium supplementation alone.

High-Calcium Foods

Do you already eat plenty of calcium-rich foods? If so, adding supplements might push your intake over the edge. By understanding your personal needs and adjusting your diet, you can maintain strong bones without overloading.

The Downside of Too Much

Excess calcium can lead to hypercalcemia, characterized by abnormally high calcium levels in the blood. High calcium intake—especially from supplements—can often result in kidney stones and constipation, affecting the body’s absorption of iron and zinc. In severe cases, excess calcium can cause kidney failure and complications involving the heart and brain.

If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, it could be a sign that you’re getting too much:

  • Stomach pain and digestive disturbances
  • Fatigue
  • Excessive thirst or frequent urination
  • Muscle weakness or twitching
  • Mood disorders like irritability and depression
  • Nutrient deficiencies

Why is the Current Recommendation So High? 

Our body releases calcium stored in our bones through a process known as bone remodeling, which involves the breakdown and rebuilding of bone tissue. In the late 1970s, a few studies found that consuming 1,200 mg of calcium could help maintain calcium balance in postmenopausal women. Based on these findings, in 1997, the Institute of Medicine increased the suggested daily calcium intake from 800 mg to 1,200 mg for women over 50. 

This adjustment was based on short-term studies, only lasting a few weeks. Despite the lack of evidence that such high intake levels prevent bone fractures, this guideline has been upheld over the years. Interestingly, if you look beyond the United States, you’ll find that the recommended daily intake for calcium generally doesn’t exceed 700 mg.

So, what’s the best way for women to support their health without veering into the danger zone? Aim for about 600 mg of total calcium daily.

Beyond Calcium: Key Nutrients for Women’s Health

It’s natural to experience a decrease in bone density as you navigate through different stages of life, particularly during and after menopause. But if your nutritional focus stops at calcium, you’re missing vital nutrients, including vitamins D, K, and magnesium.

Vitamin D

As we age, our bodies face new challenges, including an increased need for calcium and vitamin D. During this period, you may lose bone density more rapidly than it can be replenished. Without proper attention, this can lead to osteoporosis—a condition where bones become brittle and fragile.

Vitamin D plays a pivotal role in improving calcium absorption in your intestines. Without it, your body would only absorb a small fraction of the calcium you consume, no matter how much you take in. This synergy supports bone health and aids in muscle function and nerve transmission.

Getting Enough Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency is extremely common, especially if you don’t spend much time in the sun. To counteract this, aim for about 15-20 minutes of natural sunlight daily and consider adding a high-quality vitamin D + K2 supplement to your routine. While the specific amount you need can vary based on your health needs, a general guideline is 600 to 800 IU daily.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K2 is critical in managing how calcium travels through your body. It activates essential proteins, such as osteocalcin, which binds calcium to your bones—improving their strength and density. But when there’s a deficiency, osteocalcin remains inactive. The result? Calcium accumulates in your arteries instead of being utilized by your bones.

Getting Enough Vitamin K
To replenish your body with vitamin K2, indulge in fermented foods like natto—a traditional Japanese soybean dish—along with cheese and yogurt. You’ll also find smaller amounts in meat and eggs. When choosing a supplement, opt for one that pairs vitamin D with vitamin K2, like D3K2 ReSet®. This duo optimizes calcium absorption, directing it straight to your bones where it’s most needed. 


About 60% of the magnesium in your body is stored in your bones. This mineral is crucial for converting vitamin D into an active form, improving calcium absorption. Susan Brown, Ph.D., director of the Osteoporosis Education Project in Syracuse, New York, warns that “the use of calcium supplementation in the face of magnesium deficiency can lead to a deposition of calcium in the soft tissue such as the joints, promoting arthritis, or in the kidney, contributing to kidney stones.” Simply put, your body struggles to absorb calcium without enough magnesium. 

Magnesium also acts as a natural calcium blocker to help muscles relax after contracting, alleviating symptoms like cramps or twitches. This balance of calcium and magnesium becomes vital for women through different life phases, supporting everything from reducing stress to easing premenstrual symptoms and boosting bone health during menopause.

Getting Enough Magnesium
Women should aim for a minimum of 450 mg of magnesium daily. Incorporate almonds, spinach, black beans, and whole grains into your diet to boost your magnesium levels. If dietary restrictions or a busy lifestyle make meeting your needs challenging, adding a pico-meter-sized magnesium supplement can make all the difference. 

Bringing It All Together

All of these nutrients work synergistically in your body. Magnesium activates vitamin D, vitamin D improves calcium absorption, and vitamin K directs calcium to your bones, completing a cycle that supports bone health and vitality at every age.

How to Determine Your Needs

To discover how much calcium is in your food, begin with the Cronometer app, an easy-to-use tool that tracks the nutrients in your meals. It gives you a precise breakdown, making it easy to see whether you meet your body’s needs.

Once you’ve got a clear picture of your daily calcium intake, you can decide if you need to supplement. If your diet provides between 300-600 mg of calcium, consider adding a serving of ReCalcia® to your routine. If you find you’re consuming 300 mg or less, two teaspoons could help you bridge the gap.

If you’re new to calcium supplements, ease into it. Start with a quarter teaspoon daily and gradually increase to your ideal dose—one or two teaspoons. If you’re already getting 600 mg or more of calcium from your diet alone, you probably don’t need to supplement.

Next Steps

Did you know that maintaining healthy bones requires about seventeen essential nutrients, including magnesium (the most important mineral), alongside calcium?

To meet your needs, consider a liquid magnesium formula, calcium in the diet, a picometer liquid multi-mineral, and food-based vitamins for optimal absorption (and benefits). A simple yet impactful tip is to add about ¼ tsp of high-quality, colorful sea salt to each liter of your drinking water. Why? Sea salt is packed with over 70 different minerals to support total body health.

Bottom Line

Remember, too much calcium can be just as problematic as too little. By paying close attention to your body’s signals and making informed choices about your diet and supplements, you can maintain a healthy balance without overwhelming your body.