Question. How important is it to get calcium from natural sources (like milk and yogurt) as opposed to supplements?
Dr. Tsai: I am a proponent of getting your nutrients from natural sources. Some nutrients are more bioavailable or better absorbed and used by your body when they are ingested in natural forms. However, I also recognize that it may be difficult to obtain all your nutrients from food for various reasons such as an allergy to certain foods, lactose intolerance, a dairy-free diet for health or philosophical reasons, or simply not having convenient access to healthy food items. If you know that you are not getting as much calcium as you need from your diet and are unable to make changes in your diet to increase your calcium intake, then calcium from supplements is an acceptable alternative. Whatever the source, sufficient calcium is important for bone health and proper function of other parts of your body including your muscles and nerves.
Published On: May 11, 2007