What You Might Be Getting Wrong About Calcium and Bone Health

3 min read

Did you know that most women get enough calcium through their diet? Learn why you should be paying more attention to "helper nutrients" like vitamin D, vitamin K2, and magnesium to support bone health.
Did you know that most women get enough calcium through their diet? Learn why you should be paying more attention to "helper nutrients" like vitamin D, vitamin K2, and magnesium to support bone health.

Essential Takeaways

  • While Calcium often takes the credit, the science shows that four helper nutrients play an important supportive role when it comes to bone health.*
  • Even as your calcium needs change throughout your life, we prefer to focus on these helper nutrients instead of adding calcium to our multivitamins.

Hey there—we’re Ritual, a health company on a mission to inspire women to be their best from the inside out. Learn more about our reinvented multivitamins, which we formulated with essential nutrients to help fill the gaps in your diet.

After years of research, we came to a surprising conclusion: Calcium doesn’t necessarily belong in your multivitamin. Instead, we found that you need four helper nutrients that are as much or more involved in bone health. And if you’re pregnant, you still need those helper nutrients to get Calcium to where it’s needed most in your body, so we’ve included these helper nutrients in both Essential for Women and Essential Prenatal. If you’re nursing, you should talk to your doctor to make sure you’re meeting your unique Calcium needs.*

Here’s how the science behind our Calcium exclusion breaks down.

You Need Helper Nutrients, Not More Calcium

Calcium is not a reliable self-sufficient worker when it comes to bone health. For building and maintaining bone, many events need to happen in your body before Calcium even shows up. Bone maintenance is like repairing a road: most of the work and effort goes into removing the old architecture and laying the new foundation. Adding Calcium (and phosphate) is the final step in bone building or maintenance. In other words, Calcium gets all the credit and attention, but doesn’t do all the work.

Did you know?

Essential for Women was clinically shown to increase vitamin D levels over 12 weeks, as compared to no change in a placebo group.*
Meet Our Clinical Study

The unsung heroes, helper nutrients like Vitamin D3, Vitamin K2, Magnesium and Boron, play a critical role in transporting Calcium into your bones and assisting with its absorption. While Calcium takes much of the credit, the science shows that you also need this team of nutrients to help support bone health.*

In fact, recent large-scale human supplementation studies have shown that supplementing Calcium alone results in unexpectedly poor outcomes for building bone mass.*

A Note About Calcium After Menopause

Your nutrient needs change throughout your life, and that's particularly true when it comes to bone health and menopause: Estrogen plays a role in calcium metabolism, so when estrogen levels dip throughout the different stages of menopause, it's important to pay close attention to your bone health.

That said, just adding more calcium is not necessarily the answer, even during this stage of life—in fact, there's been some debate in the scientific community about the potential risks associated with overdoing it on calcium. With this all in mind, we prefer to encourage a calcium-rich diet and to focus on calcium-helper nutrients in our 50+ multivitamin to help support bone health and calcium metabolism.*

The Ritual Way

According to the latest data on Calcium intake from the NHANES, American women between 20 and 50 are getting an average of 876 mg of Calcium daily from their diet. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for women age 19-50 is 1000mg of Calcium. So, according to pure intake, the average American woman’s diet only provide 88% of their dietary needs.

In our approach to formulation, however, intake is just one piece of the puzzle. We also consider function -- biomarker studies from national data and interactions established among nutrients.

In the case of Calcium, we have identified the interaction between Calcium and helper nutrients as a higher priority in our formulas than simply increasing intake of Calcium. We believe supplementing meaningful amounts of these other nutrients helps you get the most out of Calcium you get from healthy foods like yogurt, seeds, beans, and some leafy greens. By choosing a supplement that focuses on helping you absorb and utilize Calcium (rather than overloading on it), you can help support micronutrient intakes that are associated with bone health during a woman’s life.*