What You Might Not Realize 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, 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.*

After years of research, we came to a surprising conclusion: Calcium doesn’t necessarily belong in a multivitamin. Instead, we found that there are four helper-nutrients that are as much or more involved in bone health—which can ultimately serve as supporting players to the calcium you're getting through your diet. And that's true regardless of your current life stage. (Yep—even if you're over 50.)*

Here’s how the science behind calcium breaks down.

For calcium, more isn't always more

While it might get all the credit, the truth is calcium is not always a reliable solo act 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 old architecture and laying a new foundation. Adding calcium is a final step in bone building or maintenance—but that is supported by calcium-helper nutrients.*

Did you know?

Essential for Women was shown to increase vitamin D levels over 12 weeks, as compared to no change in a placebo group.*
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Those unsung heroes include vitamin D3, vitamin K2, magnesium and boron, and they play an important role in supporting calcium. Calcium is still essential, but science shows that we also need a team of helper-nutrients to support bone health.*

A Note About Calcium After 50

Your nutrient needs change throughout your life, and that's particularly true when it comes to bone health. Take menopause, for example: 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.*

And let's not gloss over the guys in this scenario. Men over 50 are commonly falling short when it comes to getting enough vitamin D3 and magnesium from their diets, which are both supporting players in bone health.*

Again, 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+ multivitamins to help support bone health and calcium metabolism.*

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The Ritual Way

According to the recent data on calcium intake from the NHANES, American women between 19 and 50 are getting an average of 851mg of calcium daily from their diet, while men are averaging 1163mg. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for both men and women age 19-50 is 1000mg of calcium. (1,2)*

In our approach to formulation, however, dietary 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 adding more calcium. We believe supplementing with these other helper-nutrients helps to support the calcium you get from healthy foods like yogurt, seeds, beans, and some leafy greens. In other words, we suggest looking for a supplement that focuses on supporting calcium (rather than overloading on it).*


  1. Bailey, R. L., Dodd, K. W., Goldman, J. A., Gahche, J. J., Dwyer, J. T., Moshfegh, A. J., Sempos, C. T., & Picciano, M. F. (2010). Estimation of total usual calcium and vitamin D intakes in the United States. The Journal of nutrition, 140(4), 817–822.
  2. Office of Dietary Supplements - Calcium. (n.d.). Retrieved June 10, 2020, from National Institutes of Health.