by Dr. Melissa Miskell
The first question many of my patients ask me is, “How much calcium should I be taking?” This question seems straight-forward on the surface, but the answer actually depends on several complex variables.
Three Important Variables
The first variable is whether the patient’s bone density is normal, osteopenic or osteoporotic. This determines the amount of calcium that is recommended.
The second variable is the type of calcium you already obtain from your diet and supplements. All calcium sources are not created equal. The third variable is the addition of collagen, vitamins D3 and K2. Bone is composed of collagen and several calcium-based minerals. This means that if you are going to take a supplement to support your bones, you need much more than traditional calcium. The following combination will help you ensure that you’re getting enough calcium to support bone health:
- Calcium. You need to take a calcium supplement, but not all calcium supplements are optimal. My preference is MCHC (Microcrystalline Hydroxyapatite Concentrate). This is a standardized and safe-source bone extract from New Zealand bovine that contains a crystalline calcium and phosphorus matrix.
“Determining the right combination of supplements for your bone health can be challenging.”
- Vitamin D3. You also need Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) to support bone health. Vitamin D3 keeps bones healthy by increasing the intestinal absorption of calcium.
- Collagen. Collagen helps bone withstand sudden impact and determines how tough your bones are. You can get collagen through your diet or in silicon-based supplements (specifically, those that contain orthosilicic acid).
- Vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 (as menaquinone-7) supports calcium utilization and absorption. Some younger patients do not require added Vitamin K supplements.
What’s Right For Me?
Determining the right combination of supplements for your bone health can be challenging. Ask your doctor, because exact needs vary from person to person. For example, if you are a post-menopausal woman with osteopenia or osteoporosis, you will need considerably more of each of these supplements to ensure that you keep bone loss at a minimum.
The good news is there are supplements that contain all these ingredients in one packet. You can also purchase each one separately. Regardless of how you get the essentials, just remember bone cannot survive on calcium alone.
Dr. Melissa Miskell is a board-certified gynecologist who specializes in bioidentical hormone replacement for men and women. She believes in wellness through supplements and compounded medications. Learn more about Dr. Miskell’s whole-body wellness practice at www.thefocus.net.