Vegans may have low calcium intake which could impact bone health

If you’re a vegan, you likely know the necessity of taking B12 supplements. Now, you may need to add a calcium supplement to your regimen.

More Information:

In a USA Today report, Kim Painter observes, “Just as the American Dietetic Association declared that ‘appropriately planned’ vegetarian and vegan diets could be healthful at all stages of life, researchers … reported that vegetarians and especially vegans had less dense bones than omnivores.”

Painter adds, “The bone study got much more attention than the ADA’s position paper, despite the fact that the researchers found no proof that the modest bone differences would translate into more fractures.”

Nevertheless, some “experts concede that there is reason to be concerned about the bones of some vegans, especially still-growing teens,” because “there is evidence that a greater number of vegans have low calcium intakes,” according to Virginia Messina, “a vegan and registered dietitian” who “helped write previous ADA position papers.”

Messina noted that a 2007 study found that “vegans in the United Kingdom did break significantly more bones than omnivores or vegetarians if they also consumed less than 500 mg of calcium a day.”

So, if you decide to take a calcium supplement, here are some of Dr. Walt’s tips:

  • Use calcium carbonate, it’s the least expensive (and works as well as the others).
  • Do not take natural calciums (coral, bone, dolamite earth, oyster shell), as these sources may be contaminated with heavy metals.
  • Take no more than 600 mg of calcium in a single dose (you cannot absorb more than this).
  • Take calcium with a mean (it’s better absorbed).
  • Consider taking a calcium supplement that contains vitamin D. (see my blogs on vitamin D)