Calcium Fortified Beverages: A Good Source of Supplemental Calcium?

Updated: August 26, 2022

Lara Pizzorno is the author of “Your Bones: How You Can Prevent Osteoporosis and Have Strong Bones for Life – Naturally” and a member of the American Medical Writers Association with 29 years of experience specializing in bone health.

Recently we asked Lara if she would help us provide a series of short, ongoing videos to help you (our customers and readers) stay up to date on the latest facts and science related to bone health.

In this latest video, Lara talks calcium fortified beverages and whether or not they are a reliable source for your calcium intake. Watch the video below (or read the transcript provided) and let us know what you think in the comments. 🙂

Hello, I’m Lara Pizzorno the author of “Your Bones” and I’m here today to share information with you that I hope will help you have healthier bones.

Today I’d like to talk to you about calcium fortified beverages like calcium fortified orange juice or soy milk or rice milk. Are these a good source of supplemental calcium?

Can you get your supplemental calcium from these calcium fortified beverages, can you rely on them?

Well the answer in short is, not really.

You’ve probably seen soy rice and nut milks and orange juice that are fortified with calcium and claim to be a good source of supplemental calcium, but you can’t rely upon them. And the reason why is calcium separates out, it precipitates out and settles to the bottom of the container in greater or lesser amounts depending on the fortification that was used to put it in the liquid.

In one study, researchers evaluated and compared the degree to which calcium settled out of 14 different calcium fortified beverages to the amount that settled out from unfortified fat free milk. In all the soy and rice beverages almost all the calcium separated out in particulate form.

Of the total calcium that was found in these beverages, 82% to 89% calcium separated out of the solution and sat on the bottom of the container.

If you’re going to use one of these drinks to try and get some extra calcium be sure you do a really good job of shaking the container up before you pour the milk into your cup or over your cereal. Even in cow’s milk, some calcium is going to separate out. In this study about 11% of the calcium separated out in cow’s milk and in the calcium fortified orange juice as much as 50% separated out.

Surprisingly, actually a good source of a beverage found in calcium rich mineral waters. These were found to be just as good as or even better as a source of calcium than cow’s milk. When subjects consumed calcium rich mineral water several biomarkers of calcium absorption increased significantly. Urinary calcium increased whereas parathyroid hormone resorption markers decreased, very good signs. And research has confirmed these findings of the beneficial effects of mineral water. This may be very good news especially for people who are lactose intolerant as are many asian, hispanic and those who are of african american heritage. And these people avoid cow’s milk and dairy foods because of the problems with dairy protein and lactose. Mineral waters also provide the bone density important trace mineral, silicon, and some mineral waters provide as much as 7.3 milligrams per half liter. I’ll be talking to you in another video about all the reasons why silicon is such an important trace mineral for healthy bones.

So high calcium mineral water should be considered for a dietary source of bioavailable calcium. Particularly given the latest research from Sweden, which I discussed in a different video. In sum, this research found that drinking 3 or more glasses of cow’s milk daily might actually cause bone loss, unless you choose lactose free cow’s milk, which is what I now recommend for those who are allergic to dairy foods. So if you’re not drinking cow’s milk either because you’re allergic to proteins in dairy foods or you are cutting back from the amount of cow’s milk you drink daily after learning about the findings of this recently large Swedish study, then calcium rich mineral water may provide a good alternative for you. And it’s certainly a much healthier alternative than sodas, especially for younger girls and women and for all of us who want to fit into our skinny jeans. Mineral rich soda water is calorie free. Data from the USDA’s nationwide food consumption surveys showed that milk consumption has decreased quite a bit – 36% since late 1970’s and consumption of soda in contract has doubled. This is a very unhealthy trend particularly in women and young girls over age 12 so between the ages of 12 and 19 we are supposed to be accruing the bone density thats going to last us for the rest of our lives and soda pop is not going to help us do this in fact it’s going to harm us and prevent us from doing it. According to USDA statistics by the age of 19, only 36% of girls were drinking any milk, by the 1990’s milk was being replaced by soda, and this is a situation that is most likely to become worse today.

So what is the practical  take away from all of this?

Don’t rely on calcium fortified beverages to provide for your daily calcium needs.

You’re much better eating your leafy greens and taking AlgaeCal. Ensure your calcium needs are met by taking an excellent calcium supplement, ideally ones that also provides the other bone building key nutrients, particularly vitamin D3, vitamin K2, vitamin C, magnesium, boron and the many trace minerals that we now know our bones require for optimal health. In upcoming videos i’ll be talking to you about the latest research on each one of these nutrients particularly about the essential roles played by a variety of trace minerals, all of which are naturally present in one calcium supplement, AlgaeCal. I hope this information has been helpful to you and I hope you’ll tune in next time, thanks!


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  1. Christine Cunningham

    April 30, 2018 , 11:22 am

    This is a really interesting video/article but I have questions still: If you shake a carton of soy milk so that the calcium does not settle out, is the problem solved? what kind of calcium is added to fortified beverages? how bioavailable is it?
    Thank you.

  2. Jenna AlgaeCal

    May 14, 2018 , 1:49 pm

    Hi Christine,

    Glad you liked it! Lara mentions in the article that if you are going to use a drink fortified with calcium you should do a really good job of shaking the contains before pouring it. In saying that, the amount of calcium you are getting may vary and it’s best not to rely on calcium fortified beverages for your daily calcium.

    Different companies will use different types of calcium to fortify their beverages – so the form of calcium and bioavailability will vary.

    As Lara says, it’s better to get your calcium from leafy greens and a plant-based calcium source such as AlgaeCal!

    Hope that helps, Christine!

    – Jenna @ AlgaeCal

  3. raj

    February 18, 2021 , 8:11 am


    Really interesting, I did not know cow milk is not good for bone until now. If I eat green leafy vegetable how do I get 480 mg from there? Is it Ok to drink almond fortified milk and dairy yogurt to get calcium?

  4. Blaire AlgaeCal

    February 22, 2021 , 3:12 pm

    Hi Raj,

    Thanks for reaching out!

    We have a blog post that dives deeper into the research on dairy and bone health here. Feel free to give it a read if you’re interested! You can absolutely drink almond milk and eat dairy yogurt to get some calcium into your diet. Drinking calcium-rich mineral water is another great way to get more calcium into your diet! We also have a list of calcium-rich foods that you may find handy here. We recommend using an app like MyFitnessPal to track your calcium intake.

    Hope that helps! Please don’t hesitate to give our Bone Health Consultants a call at 1-800-820-0184 if you have further questions 🙂

    – Blaire @ AlgaeCal

This article features advice from our industry experts to give you the best possible info through cutting-edge research.

Lara Pizzorno
MDiv, MA, LMT - Best-selling author of Healthy Bones Healthy You! and Your Bones; Editor of Longevity Medicine Review, and Senior Medical Editor for Integrative Medicine Advisors.,
Dr. Liz Lipski
PhD, CNS, FACN, IFMP, BCHN, LDN - Professor and Director of Academic Development, Nutrition programs in Clinical Nutrition at Maryland University of Integrative Health.,
Dr. Loren Fishman
MD, B.Phil.,(oxon.) - Medical Director of Manhattan Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Founder of the Yoga Injury Prevention Website.,
Prof. Didier Hans
PHD, MBA - Head of Research & Development Center of Bone Diseases, Lausanne University Hospital CHUV, Switzerland,