Send me Your FREE
Health & Nutrition Updates

Tips on ways to live longer, healthier and happier.
Enter your email below.

Ask Tufts Experts February 2013 Issue

Q: How does taking supplements differ from eating foods fortified with calcium?

Answer : Bess Dawson-Hughes, MD, director of Tufts’ HNRCA Bone Metabolism Laboratory, says it depends on bioavailability—the degree to which a nutrient, such as calcium, can actually be utilized by the body when it’s ingested—and the type of food being fortified. "In many cases the bioavailability of calcium added to foods has been studied and shown to be adequate," she explains. "To the extent that the calcium is known to be bioavailable and that the foods that are fortified are nutritious, which is often the case, then these fortified foods would be preferred over supplements to bring total calcium intake up to the RDA. Consumption of non-nutritious foods and beverages to which calcium has been added, such as cola drinks, candy or other sweets, is not recommended."

For adults, the Recommended Dietary Allowance for calcium is 1,000 milligrams a day for ages 19 through 50; 1,000 milligrams per day for men ages 51 through 70; 1,200 milligrams a day for women ages 51 through 70; and 1,200 milligrams per day for all adults ages 71 and older.

Comments (1)

How do you find out the bioavailability of a supplement? For example, if you purchase a supplement tablet containing 250 mgm of magnesium as magnesium oxide, what actual amount of supplemental magnesium will be utilized by your body? How do you find information re the relative bioavailability of different forms of a supplement eg. Magnesium oxide vs magnesium citrate vs. magnesium glycinate vs magnesium aspartate?

Posted by: Karen Connolly | January 17, 2016 1:40 AM    Report this comment

New to Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter? Register for Free!

Already Registered?
Log In