Guide to Vitamins

Should I Take a Calcium Supplement?

Kids need calcium for growth. Adults need it for bone health. Who should take it in pill form?

Illustrations by Kieran Blakey

“A lot of foods nowadays are fortified with calcium, and so most people are getting a lot more from their diets than they realize.”

For one thing, the human gut struggles to absorb calcium when people consume the mineral by itself. A little vitamin D is needed to help facilitate the gut’s uptake of calcium. But the research on taking calcium with vitamin D to prevent age-related bone weakness is underwhelming. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says that, to date, there’s not good evidence that adults who take calcium and vitamin D enjoy a lower risk for bone fractures.

I write about health and science. I live in Detroit with my wife and kids. I’m trying to learn German, but my progress so far is nicht gut.

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