Calcium is essential for healthy bone growth, muscle function, nerve performance, and more. Since your calcium intake can be low on a vegan diet, I decided to compile a guide to the best vegan calcium chews!
Unfortunately, most calcium chews are not vegan. They usually contain milk, gelatin, or non-vegan vitamin D sources. But I found a couple!
Below is my list of the best vegan calcium chews currently on the market.
Country Life’s Cal-Snack formula (Amazon link) are the winner for vegan calcium chews available today. Why? They’re the only fully vegan ones I could even find that have a full dosage of calcium (1,000 mg). I’ll mention another brand next, but it contains much less calcium.
The Cal-Snack chewables include calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D. This combination makes the absorption of calcium extremely easy.
They come in a vanilla-orange flavor, and they’re medium-sized. They’re certified vegan (and gluten-free) by the American Vegetarian Association.
They’re also made with recyclable packaging. It contains no wheat, soy, milk, salt, preservatives, or artificial colors.
Country Life’s chewable calcium should be taken twice daily. Adults should chew two wafers, one in the morning and the other at night. It’s recommended you don’t exceed the dose provided by the manufacturer.
- No artificial colors or flavors
- Can eliminate muscle cramps and twitching
- Many say it works well to eliminate their heartburn
- A bit of a chalky flavor
- Tablets break easily
These MaryRuth’s gummies (Amazon link) are bite-sized candies, and each bottle has 60 pieces. I love this product, but the calcium amount is quite low if you’re looking for a full day’s intake.
They have a low-calorie count and are fully plant-based. Containing no wheat, yeast, or gluten. They’re also paleo and celiac-friendly and are dairy, nightshade, and gelatin-free.
These gummies come in three flavors; Apricot, Mango, and peach. Each serving contains about 10 calories.
Their vitamin D3 content is sourced from non-GMO vegan lichen, and their K2 is from natto, which is a traditional soybean product originating in Japan. Each bite from MaryRuth’s gives you 25 mg of calcium and about 1000 IU of D3.
MaryRuth’s calcium bites can be given to anyone, regardless of age. (Although pregnant women need to consult their doctor before intake.)
It’s suggested that you take four daily: Two servings in the morning and another two in the evening.
- Low calories per gummy
- Variety of flavors
- No age restriction (suitable for the entire family)
- Tasty—has no medicinal aftertaste
- Easy to chew
- The calcium content is low at only 35 mg. It’s more of a vegan vitamin D3 supplement, with just a bit of calcium added.
Non-Vegan Ingredients in Most Calcium Chews
It’s pretty hard to find vegan calcium chews because most have at least one of the following non-vegan ingredients:
- Milk: Many calcium chews are chocolate, and so far anyway, those ones usually always contain real cow’s milk.
- Gelatin: The calcium chews that are more like “gummies” sometimes contain gelatin, which is made from boiled animal skins and joints. Gross. Some are made with pectin instead—that’s a vegan ingredient.
- Vitamin D3 from Sheep: Many calcium chews include vitamin D, as well. And these are almost always in the form of cholecalciferol (D3). While this ingredient can be made vegan (from lichen), it’s usually made from grease in sheep’s wool (lanolin). So if it’s not marked as vegan, most vegans would assume it’s not. You can always send the company to check, though.
Between those 3 common non-vegan ingredients found in calcium chews, there aren’t many “accidentally vegan” options like there are with some other products.
Why Take Calcium Chews?
To be honest, I don’t take calcium chews regularly. I use calcium-fortified almond milk, I supplement with the Future Kind multivitamin (link to my review), and I feel like my bases are covered. But calcium chews may be right for you.
Calcium is an essential component that we all need to maintain our health and build strong bones. It’s one of the most abundant minerals in the human body, mainly because it assists with almost everything.
When you don’t consume enough calcium, your body tries to compensate by taking some from your bones. If this happens for a while, it can lead to serious health problems like osteopenia and osteoporosis.
Calcium deficiency is prevalent among Americans. Up to 87% of Americans are suffering from some form of calcium deficiency, with vegans being a notable group in that population. This is primarily because we often fall short of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA).
How Much Calcium Do You Need?
It’s agreed among nutritionists that both adult men and women need about 1000 mg/day.
When women reach 50, they must start increasing their calcium intake, and it should be around 1200 mg/day. Men need to increase it to the same amount by the time they reach 70.
Taking too much calcium isn’t a good thing—it can lead to kidney stones and other problems—so you should always stay within the guidelines to avoid any side effects.
How Much Calcium Do You Get from a Vegan Diet?
Many people get their calcium from milk products. Us vegans clearly don’t! The good news? Calcium is found in many vegetables.
The main choices for vegans include bok choy, calcium-fortified tofu, and broccoli, as well as almonds. The bad news is the shortage of bioavailable calcium in vegetables in general.
For instance, spinach has a ton of calcium, but it’s much less bioavailable than calcium found in milk.
Personally I get my calcium from fortified plant milks. They usually contain about the same amount as cow’s milk in each serving. So just swap plant-milk in for dairy milk, and you should get about the same amount.
But if you’re at high risk of not getting enough calcium, calcium supplements like the chews above can help.
What to Look for in a Calcium Supplement
One factor to consider with calcium supplements is the inclusion of vitamin D, as it’s essential for the absorption of calcium. Remember vitamin D3 is often sourced from lanolin (from sheep), so look for a specifically marked “vegan” product if you want to stay strictly plant-based.
Stay mindful of the total amount of calcium you’re trying to get. Some calcium chews will offer 1,000 mg—the full daily recommendation—while others provide much less. And sometimes it’ll be split into multiple tablets or chews, so you can take half a serving if needed, too.
You also should be taking into account the calcium you’re already taking in your normal diet, so as you won’t exceed the daily recommendations.
You can use an app like Cronometer to track your daily intake of nutrients for a while to see what you’re naturally getting, aside from supplements. Then adjust your intake from there!
Calcium Deficiency Symptoms
You might be wondering, “How can I know if I have calcium deficiency?” Muscle aches, spasms, and cramps are among the first symptoms that appear in calcium-deficient people.
Numbness and tingling in the hand and body, feet, legs, and around the mouth are also direct symptoms of an undiagnosed calcium deficiency.
Low calcium levels may induce sleeplessness or insomnia. People with calcium deficiency continue to feel serious tiredness, lethargy, a general feeling of sluggishness, and energy loss.
Fatigue and tiredness as a result of calcium deficiency can also lead to lightheadedness, dizziness, and brain fog which includes lack of concentration, forgetfulness, and irritation.
Is “Too Much Calcium” a Thing?
Yes. Certain serious health problems can arise from consuming too much calcium over a long period. Also, individuals who take calcium supplements are also more likely to develop kidney stones and heart diseases.
Make sure you’re properly coordinating with your doctor to guarantee you’re not harming your health by taking supplements.
My personal choice for the best vegan calcium chews is Country Life’s Cal-Snack formula (click to check price on Amazon). They’re easy to chew and many people boast about their effects. They’re vegan certified and they include the full 1,000 mg of calcium in a serving.
Alternatively, you can do like I do: Get your calcium from fortified almond milk, and just take a vegan multivitamin like Future Kind’s (my full review linked—it really is the best one by far).
Two More Recommendations for Your Vegan Journey
1. This is the best vegan multivitamin I’ve found in 13 years of being vegan. It has vitamin B12, vitamin D, omega-3—and nothing else. Translation: It only has the nutrients vegans are actually low in. Read my full review of Future Kind’s multivitamin here (with 10% discount).
2. This is the best vegan starter kit I know of. It’s a bundle of 9 beautiful e-books that help you transition to a healthy plant-based diet—the right way. The advice is spot-on, and it has print-outs and checklists that make it easy to implement. Read my full review of Nutriciously here.