It is preferred that you get your calcium from food sources if at all possible. (1) If you are allergic, intolerant, not taking in enough or just don’t like milk, calcium supplements can be used. Calcium citrate is absorbed better than calcium carbonate, but both can be used to supplement the diet. (2)
Talk with your healthcare provider and/or registered dietitian, about taking your calcium supplement with Vitamin D, especially if you live in northern locations or have darkly pigmented skin, (3) Keep in mind not to take more than 500-600 milligrams of calcium at one time. The body can absorb only so much in one sitting.
If you are taking calcium supplements, take them separately from your prenatal vitamin or iron supplements, as calcium interferes with iron absorption and vice versa. (2) (4) Check with your healthcare provider if you have questions. The recommended amount of calcium in your diet if you are pregnant or breastfeeding is 1300 milligrams/day. (1)
- Kleinman, RE, Greer FR, Pediatric Nutrition, 7th edition, Elk Grove Village, IL, American Academy of Pediatrics, 2014, 445, 1357.
- Mannel, R, Marten, PJ, Walker, M, Core Curriculum for Lactation Consultant Practice, 3rd edition, Burlington, MA, Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2013, p 325.
- McCorry, C, Vitamin D: Practice Considerations in Pregnancy & Lactation, Women’s Health Report, Fall 2007, p 1.
- Hallberg, L, Does calcium interfere with iron absorption?, Am J Clin Nutr, 1998, 68:3.