Best Vegan Calcium Supplements
Review and Buyers Guide
Edited by: Isabel Stewart , Last updated: November 29, 2020
Calcium is one of the most talked-about and widely debated minerals in the nutrition world, especially when it comes to veganism
No doubt, you will have heard the myth that “all vegans will become calcium deficient due to the lack of dairy.” Then miraculously out of nowhere, a few liters of cows milk is offered to you as the solution to your calcium woes.
The reality: Calcium is a necessary mineral for everyone, no matter the diet you choose. For those on plant-based diets, especially transitioning vegans, it is imperative you know which foods to eat and what quality vegan supplements you can use to balance out your diet. A consistently healthy level of calcium in our bodies is mandatory for long-term health, and a good plant-based supplement can be a great support.
In this article, we will break down:
- What makes calcium so important
- What plant-based foods you can add to your vegan diet to give yourself a calcium boost
- and which vegan calcium supplements are the best to support a healthy balanced diet.
By the end, you will be an expert on what to look out for when choosing vegan calcium supplements and will know exactly how to pick a supplement that works best for your needs.
Best vegan calcium supplements at a glance:
- Editors Choice: Garden of life Organic plant calcium
- Best organic vegan calcium: Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Calcium
- Best vegan calcium and vitamin d supplement: New Chapter Calcium Supplement
- Best vegan calcium for bone health: Naturelo Bone Strength Plant Calcium
- Best value vegan calcium supplement: Deva Vegan Cal-Mag Plus
- Best Vegan Calcium Supplements
- Best vegan calcium supplements at a glance:
- Why is calcium so important?
- Top Vegan Calcium Supplements Reviewed- (2021 updated)
- 1. Garden of life Organic plant calcium – Editor’s Choice
- 2. Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Calcium – Best Organic Vegan Calcium
- 3. New Chapter Calcium Supplement – Best Calcium and D3 Supplement
- 4. Naturelo Bone Strength Plant Calcium – Best Vegan Calcium for bone health
- 5. Deva Vegan Cal-Mag Plus – Best Value Vegan Calcium Supplement
- Vegan Calcium Supplement Buyers Guide
- What do we look for in a quality calcium supplement?
- Frequently asked questions
- Want to learn more about plant based calcium?
Why is calcium so important?
No matter whether you are vegan or meat-eater, calcium is critical to the health of your body, and making sure your body is getting enough is something we all need to understand how to do. The majority of the calcium found in our bodies comes from our bones.
Since we cant naturally produce calcium, it’s important we obtain what we need through our diet. When our calcium levels become low, calcium is taken from our bones to try to balance out the inefficiency, and our bones are rebuilt through a process known as bone remodeling.
If our bodies are not regularly topped up with sufficient levels of calcium through our diet, there is potential for bone loss due to remodeling, which can lead to lower bone density
Most of the calcium in a typical westernized diet comes from dairy — especially milk.
As vegans, we can be slightly more prone to calcium deficiency, especially if the right knowledge is not obtained on how to keep calcium balanced with plants. We tend to see when a person has transitioned from a meat & dairy diet to a vegetarian/vegan diet without the prerequisite knowledge of what to eat, they can become more susceptible to calcium health issues down the line. This situation is easily remedied by learning how to make the right food choices for a balanced diet and by supplementing to cover any inefficiencies if needed.
Top Vegan Calcium Supplements Reviewed- (2021 updated)
1. Garden of life Organic plant calcium – Editor’s Choice
Garden of life plant calcium is our number 1 choice for quality plant-based calcium supplement. Garden of life is known for its quality products, and when reviewing this product, we were happy to see that they retained the quality they are known for.
Their calcium supplement comes with 800mg of entirely plant-based calcium sourced from organic algae with an added plant-based calcium blend made with a broad range of fruits and vegetables from apples and broccoli to blackberries and organic asparagus. Perfect for any vegan who wants a wide variety of nutrients from fruits and vegetables with minimal additives.
One of the main things that had us choose the Garden of life plant calcium as our number 2 vegan calcium supplement is the ratio of calcium to d3 and magnesium. Many supplement brands overload their formulas magnesium because magnesium is required for optimal calcium absorption. The thing to bear in mind is magnesium and calcium compete for absorption when consumed at the same time, so making sure the magnesium dose is low relative to the calcium amount is necessary for efficient absorption.
Garden of Life are one of the few brands that have taken this into account alongside making sure vitamin d numbers stay high (1000iu or above) per serving.
Overall, Garden of life is our number 1 choice for most vegans trying to hit their daily calcium requirement due to its high-quality ingredients, its unique blend of fruit and vegetables and its close attention to detail in the ratio of calcium/magnesium/vitamin d
Why we love it
things to be aware of
2. Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Calcium – Best Organic Vegan Calcium
Vitamin code raw calcium is another one of our picks that scored well in all the relevant categories. Unlike some other calcium supplements that blend their calcium formula with plant and rock-based sources, vitamin code is 100% plant-based sourced from algae. It comes with 756mg serving of calcium per day with an added unique blend of 24 fruits and vegetables, making this brilliant for boosting a wide range of essential nutrients while increasing your calcium. It comes with the highest amount of vitamin d per serving (at 1600iu)out of all our top picks, which allows this to serve as a calcium and vitamin d supplement in one.
If you struggle with taking multiple pills, then the Garden of life plant calcium or the New Chapter plant calcium may be better options since they have smaller slimline calcium tablets and less to swallow per serving.
The benefit of the large servings in the vitamin code raw calcium supplement is all the extra vitamins and minerals added to the formula that supports bone health, such as silica, boron, vanadium, and strontium.
Overall the vitamin code raw calcium is brilliant for those that are looking for the most significant mineral, vitamin, and elemental boost to aid in calcium absorption. The high 1600iu of vitamin d per serving plus the unique fruit and vegetable blend make this product is an excellent option for your organic plant calcium, and vitamin D needs in one.
Why we love it
things to be aware of
3. New Chapter Calcium Supplement – Best Calcium and D3 Supplement
The New Chapter Plant Calcium is an excellent alternative to the GardenGarden of life plant calcium with its 3 in 1 support formula that is supposed to focus on heart support/joint support and bone health. It comes with 770g of plant-based calcium, 58mg of magnesium, and 1000iu of vitamin d3 per day.
Slightly less then our top pick the GardenGarden of life, but if your someone who struggles with swallowing tablets, the sizing of their slimline tablets if why you could choose this over the others.
Their vitamin d3 source comes from fermented foods which is an overall positive, but if you would prefer to avoid wheat or soy, then GardenGarden of life would be the go-to option
Overall our top pick for those who need easy tablets to swallow while still getting a high calcium and vitamin d3 amount per serving
Why we love it
things to be aware of
4. Naturelo Bone Strength Plant Calcium – Best Vegan Calcium for bone health
For those with a more sensitive stomach or that need a vegan calcium supplement that is easier to absorb, then the Naturelo bone strength is a great choice. It comes with 600mg serving per day, which is slightly lower than our other top picks but comes with a blend of algae calcium and calcium citrate-malate.
The Calcium citrate-malate used allows for easy absorption since it doesn’t require stomach acid to break down. Couple this with the high 1000iu of vitamin d3 per serving Naturelos bone strength creates a perfect environment for efficient uptake.
The Naturelo bone strength supplement is also one of the best value for money options out of all our top picks only beat slightly by the deva vegan cal-mag (our top budget pick) If you a vegan whose focus is easy calcium absorption with a supplement free from soy, wheat, and other additives then the Naturela bone strength plant calcium is a good option for your needs.
Why we love it
things to be aware of
5. Deva Vegan Cal-Mag Plus – Best Value Vegan Calcium Supplement
The deva vegan calcium magnesium plus supplement comes with the highest amount of calcium per serving while also being the cheapest, which is why it holds our number one spot as one of the best value for money vegan calcium supplements. The deva supplement comes with 1000mg per serving and is recommended by the vegan society. Unlike our other top picks, the Deva supplement isn’t entirely algae calcium-based and has an impressive blend of calcium carbonate malate and citrate. Calcium citrate is easily absorbed by the body, which is brilliant for those with sensitive stomachs, but they blend with calcium carbonate means you will still need to consume with food for best absorption.
Deva calcium magnesium supplement contains additional zinc, vitamin c, and horsetail, which are all excellent at helping to support optimal bone health. The slight downside is that it contains the lowest vitamin d serving out of all our top picks at 600iu but still allows you to get enough calcium to hit the RDA. If you are a vegan above 70, your required vitamin D intake is 800iu, so an alternative with a higher dosage would be best. Great alternatives are vitamin code raw calcium supplement or the GardenGarden of life plant calcium.
Overall, with a large calcium serving size that balances calcium and magnesium, a low purchase cost, additional nutrients (vitamin C, zinc), and a recommendation from the vegan society, the deva vegan cal-mag takes our top recommendation for best value vegan calcium supplement.
Why we love it
things to be aware of
Vegan Calcium Supplement Buyers Guide
What do we look for in a quality calcium supplement?
How much calcium do you get per serving, and does it meet the RDA?
Pay close attention to the amount of calcium you are getting per serving. Remember, our calcium target is between 500-1100mg at a maximum with an average target range of 700-800mg.
Note: You do not need to get your complete RDA from a calcium supplement. A more balanced alternative would be to allow the supplement to support your calcium intake through a healthy plant-based diet.
As vegans, we want to avoid any calcium derived from animals, so it’s essential to check that the calcium source is plant-based.
As we have discussed there are many plant-based sources that contain calcium from, bok choi to broccoli but the one known to have the highest and most easily absorbed calcium is algae, and this is what we look for in our top picks
Algae and calcium
- All of our top picks use algae as a primary calcium source. Algae has many nutritional benefits, with a highly absorbable calcium content being one of them. An important point to remember is that calcium from algae is still calcium carbonate so will have the same absorption rate of elemental calcium at around 40%.
- The main potential positive of using calcium from algae are all the extra mineral and vitamin bonuses that tend to come in the supplement formula due to using algae as the source.
What form of calcium in the supplement?
As vegans, we want to avoid all calcium derived from animals, which tends to be calcium phosphate since it can be taken from animal bones.
- The two main calcium types we want to look out for are calcium carbonate (which has a 40% absorption rate) and calcium citrate (which has a 20-30% absorption rate). Calcium carbonate supplements need stomach acid to absorb, so need to be taken with meals, whereas calcium citrate supplements don’t. This overall means calcium citrate would be better for individuals with stomach issues or for those over 65.
- It’s pivotal to bear in mind that since calcium citrate has a lower amount of elemental calcium, you may need to take calcium in larger servings to reach your RDA.
Is the formula supported with ingredients that help calcium absorption
- Vitamin D is the main supporting ingredient we look out for when choosing a quality vegan calcium supplement. For efficient calcium absorption, its important to intake between 500-1000 IU of vitamin d per day to help fulfill your calcium needs.
- Magnesium is another essential mineral for optimal bone health that can help with calcium absorption. Although magnesium supports calcium intake, if you consume large amounts of calcium and magnesium simultaneously, it has the potential to lower calcium effectiveness since they compete for absorption.
- To counter this, magnesium levels must be low relative to the calcium serving amount.
- Another supporting vitamin that is less widely talked about but beneficial nonetheless is vitamin k. It helps to prevent calcification in the arteries, which can occur from having too much calcium. So its a good additional vitamin to be found in your chosen calcium supplement in small amounts.
What type of calcium supplement?
There are three predominant types of calcium supplements: calcium tablets, liquid, and chewables, with a calcium tablet being the most popular. You will sometimes find calcium in a liquid formula (usually for children and in fortified products), but the amount you will get per serving tends to be much lower than capsules so is not very cost-effective in the long run plus since it’s in liquid form it tends to be harder and more of hassle to measure consistent daily amounts. The benefit of liquid calcium is that its easier to absorb since it doesn’t need the stomach acid to break down and can freely enter your bloodstream.
The least popular but still effective option is chewable forms of calcium, usually for children. The main downside to a gummy is that they contain pectin and sometimes other added ingredients that may cause stomach issues.
*Always make sure there is no gelatin used to form the chewable/gummy*
Yeast, Corn, Soy, and Gluten-free
- For those who want their supplements with as little extras as possible, we recommend picking products that avoid any of these ingredients.
- It’s also best to avoid these if you have digestive issues or food intolerances
The best vegan calcium supplements will have minimal additives. What we are looking for is clean ingredients with a small ingredients list. Some companies may add extra ingredients to “fill” out their formula, but for anyone looking to keep their body as healthy as possible with little to no digestive health issues, a minimal ingredient list is the way to go.
Always lookout for a vegan label on the product to ensure that the supplement is vegan-friendly. The two main things vegans need to watch out for in this regard are Gelatin in the casing of the supplement and the source of calcium. Most non-vegan calcium supplements are derived from dairy products, so the source must be animal-friendly.
How much are you being charged per serving, and how much calcium are you getting for the price?
- Always compare serving amounts to the overall cost of the product and other similar products to make sure you are getting the best value for money.
- The second thing to pay attention to is whether the company provides a return or guarantee with the purchase. If a company offers a way for you to return your product when you are not satisfied, it instills confidence in your purchase and the brand.
Frequently asked questions
Want to learn more about plant based calcium?
For a more in-depth look into the Vegan diet and getting calcium without the consumption of dairy, check out our ultimate vegan calcium guide, and the best vegan sources of calcium which should give you all the knowledge, food tips and research you need to help master calcium on a vegan diet.