Calcium supplement basics
A. Osteoporosis (low bone density) is less common in men than women, although one in 15 men will have a hip or spinal fracture in his lifetime. Risk factors for osteoporosis include smoking, low body weight, sedentary lifestyle, and low testosterone levels.
Regular use of calcium supplements may carry some risks, such as stomach upset and constipation. Calcium supplementation also raises the risk of kidney stones, a condition that's more common in men. Some research suggests that taking calcium supplements may slightly raise the risk of coronary artery disease and heart attacks.
In contrast, increasing your intake of calcium in food appears to lower the risk of kidney stones and heart disease. The body may absorb dietary calcium differently than supplemental calcium, or there may be other substances in these foods that are protective.
It's recommended that you obtain 1,000 mg of calcium from food every day. Good sources (besides milk products) include cereals, soy products, and fortified fruit juices. -- William Kormos, M.D., Editor in Chief, Harvard Men's Health Watch