We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Factors Affect Calcium Absorption?

By Helena Reimer
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

There are a number of factors that can affect calcium absorption, which include a healthy diet and sufficient amounts of vitamin D. High amounts of sodium, caffeine, and saturated fats, on the other hand, can inhibit calcium absorption. The amount of calcium that is consumed, age, and low estrogen levels can also affect how calcium is absorbed.

Vitamin D seems to play a large role in the amount of calcium that is absorbed into the body. It helps to increase the production of calcium-binding proteins within the digestive tract, which aid in calcium absorption. In addition, vitamin D is also helpful in reabsorbing calcium within the kidneys. It can be obtained naturally from sunlight exposure as well as from vitamin D-fortified foods. Other nutrients that help with calcium absorption include vitamin C and magnesium.

Estrogen, which is a female hormone, is helpful in absorbing calcium as well. The production of this hormone generally decreases with age and therefore can often result in low levels. As a result, the amount of calcium that gets absorbed decreases.

A moderate dose of healthy fats is also important as fat gets converted into cholesterol, which is essential for the production of vitamin D. Excess amounts of fats, however, can have adverse effects. They tend to contribute to an acidic environment within the digestive tract, which can inhibit the absorption. Consuming plenty of alkaline-forming foods can help to maintain a healthy environment within the digestive tract. These include vegetables, nuts and seeds, and most fruits.

Certain acids in foods also tend to interfere with calcium absorption. Leafy greens such as collards and spinach contain oxalic acid, which can inhibit calcium absorption, especially when consumed with dairy. Many nuts and seeds, as well as beans, contain phytic acid, which also binds to calcium and reduces the amount that is absorbed. These foods, however, might not hinder the process too much because many of them also contain amino acids and silicon, both of which help to increase the absorption of calcium. Other calcium-binding substances are caffeine, sodium, and the stress hormone, known as cortisol.

Calcium absorption naturally decreases with age and thus the encouragement for a higher calcium intake. The doses, however, should be kept at minimal dosages, as the higher the dose, the less is absorbed into the body. Therefore, it is best to take a calcium supplement several times per day for maximum calcium absorption.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By Kat919 — On Feb 09, 2012

I don't know if this would be considered a factor affecting "absorption" of calcium or not, but remember that how much and what kind of exercise you get are also going to affect how your body uses calcium.

If you spend all day sitting on the couch (or even swimming or other activities in which your bones don't have to fight gravity), your body won't put a lot of energy into maintaining your bone density. Why should it? You're showing it every day that you don't need strong bones.

Weight-bearing exercises (anything in which you are *on your feet*) and weight training, on the other hand, tell your body to make strong bones.

If you have kids, part of helping them develop a healthy lifestyle is making sure that they get this kind of exercise; childhood and adolescence are crucial periods for bone development and what they eat and do during those years will have a lifelong impact.

By ElizaBennett — On Feb 09, 2012

Something else to be aware is that animal protein also interferes with calcium absorption in the body. I'm not a vegan or vegetarian myself, but I've been trying to get more protein from vegetable sources as evidence is increasing that it might be more beneficial in some ways than plant protein.

USDA calcium recommendations are quite high to compensate for the amount of animal protein in the typical American diet; people who eat much less (or no) animal protein may not need as much.

There's a lot of emphasis on dairy as a source of calcium, but among vegans (who consume no animal products of any kind, including dairy), calcium deficiency is very rare. That indicates that they must be on to something - they probably eat more of those good plant sources of calcium, like dark leafy greens and broccoli, and they don't have plant proteins interfering with absorption.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.