The Consumer Education Project of Milk SA

Dairy vs Supplements as Calcium Source

Dairy vs supplements as calcium source

Adequate dietary calcium intake is required for optimal bone health throughout life and also supports a number of important metabolic functions. Although supplementation has a role in facilitating adequate calcium intake in the case of major malabsorption problems or abnormal calcium metabolism, milk and dairy products are the preferred food source of calcium under normal circumstances. This review describes the benefits of obtaining calcium from dairy as opposed to supplements from a nutritional and physiological perspective. It further also highlights possible physiological interactions seen in the case of supplementation and summarises drug–nutrient interactions that may affect optimal absorption, which health professionals should consider when prescribing calcium supplements. Simple interventions for ensuring adequate calcium intake from dairy foods are suggested to avoid unnecessary calcium supplementation. The consumption of dairy products remain a convenient and cost-effective way to achieve adequate calcium intake and increase the nutritional quality of the diet.

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