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Hi Nancy,

I have a question about getting calcium from foods vs pills.


I’ve been a lacto-octo vegetarian for about 30 years and I’m a big soy milk drinker. You say calcium-fortified soy milk is a good source of calcium. I don’t see much difference between getting the calcium from the soy milk or from a pill, because the soy milk has had a calcium pill dissolved in it to make it “fortified”. What’s the difference?


Hi Paul,

There's not much of a difference in terms of calcium. But when you get the calcium via soy milk, you at least get the protein and a myriad of other good nutrients along with the calcium. If you just take the pill, you might “forget” to drink the soy milk and you'll miss out on all the good stuff it offers--including high quality protein that vegetarians might not get otherwise.


As you know, eating whole foods is always preferable to taking supplements; so many bioactive compounds are in foods that are not in pills. Supplementing a whole food can further boost the health value.


Enjoy your fortified soy milk!



For more information about calcium, protein and supplements:

Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook, Chapters 1. 7 and 11

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Nancy Clark RD CSSD

Nancy Clark RD CSSD

Member since: Jul 8, 2007

Hi! I specialize in nutrition for exercise, and help active people figure out how to manage food, weight, exercise, energy and enjoyment of eating. Let me know if you have any questions!

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