The Best Calcium & Magnesium Supplements

Strong bones require a combination of nutrients, including calcium and magnesium. The best supplements have a good ratio of calcium to magnesium and contain the forms of each mineral that are easiest for your body to absorb and least likely to cause side effects.

A small pile of capsules on a wooden counter. Credit: _lolik_/iStock/Getty Images

Best Ratio

Magnesium and calcium both work together, but they can also compete for absorption, so it's important to consume them in the right proportions. Aim for a 2-1 ratio, getting twice as much calcium as magnesium each day, recommends Harvinder Sandhu, M.D., writing for SpineUniverse. Because you can only absorb about 500 milligrams of calcium at a time, your supplement shouldn't have more than 500 milligrams of calcium and 250 milligrams of magnesium per pill.

Best Form of Calcium

Of the two main types of calcium found in supplements, calcium citrate is more easily absorbed. Calcium carbonate can't be absorbed unless you've got stomach acid available, so if you choose a supplement containing this type of calcium, you'll need to take it with food to improve absorption. Calcium citrate also tends to cause fewer side effects than calcium carbonate, such as bloating, gas and constipation.

Best Form of Magnesium

Look for a calcium and magnesium supplement that contains magnesium citrate, magnesium chloride, magnesium aspartate or magnesium lactate, instead of magnesium sulfate or magnesium oxide. These forms of magnesium dissolve better in liquid, making it likely you'll absorb more of the magnesium contained in your supplement, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements.

Other Considerations

Look for supplements with the U.S. Pharmacopeia symbol. This symbol shows that the supplement has the amounts of calcium and magnesium on the label, doesn't contain harmful levels of contaminants and will break down quickly during the digestive process so you can absorb as much as possible of the calcium and magnesium in your supplement.

Load Comments

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.