• If you can, it’s always best to try to meet your calcium needs by eating calcium-rich foods. See how much daily calcium is recommended for your age.

  • If you cannot get enough calcium through your diet or if you’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis, calcium supplements may be recommended. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, so your doctor may recommend a supplement that combines both calcium and vitamin D.

  • The main two forms of calcium supplements are calcium carbonate or calcium citrate. Calcium carbonate should be taken with food. Calcium citrate is absorbed more easily and can be taken with or without food. To ensure your body can absorb the calcium, its best to take no more than 500-600 mg of calcium at once. To avoid constipation when taking calcium supplements, drink plenty of water.


  • If you don't get enough vitamin D through sunlight or food sources, you might need vitamin D supplements. See vitamin D recommendations.

  • Taken in appropriate doses, vitamin D supplementation is generally considered safe. The National Academy of Medicine (USA) recommends an average daily intake of 400–800 IU, or 10–20 micrograms. The safe upper limit is 4,000 IU. Make sure not to take more than that unless recommended by your doctor.

  • Note: Many seniors have low vitamin D levels. This is because they tend to stay indoors or avoid sunshine, and because in older adults the skin produces less vitamin D when exposed to the sun as compared to younger people.

IOF recommends that adults aged over 60 years take a vitamin D supplement of 800 to 1000 IU/day to benefit bone health.