How Much Calcium do You Really Need

Updated at: Jan 31, 2018
How Much Calcium do You Really Need

If your body does not receive enough calcium, it puts you at risk of osteoporosis and bone breakage. However, the amount of calcium required by your body largely depends on your age and gender. So, find out how much calcium you need.

Vasudha Bhat
Exercise & FitnessWritten by: Vasudha BhatPublished at: Jan 31, 2018

Supplying your body with calcium in abundance is the best way to keep bones healthy. When your body has enough calcium, you are at the minimum risk of bone breakage or osteoporosis.

On the contrary, our body loses calcium every day through skin, hair, nails, sweat, faeces and urine. Therefore, it becomes even more important to recharge the calcium deposits in the body from outside sources in the form of healthy and fresh food items. You should add more calcium to your diet to be able to meet the daily calcium requirement. If you don’t get ample calcium from your food sources, your body will take some of the deposits in your teeth and bones which in turn will have a negative effect on them.

However, the amount of calcium you consume must depend on the age group you fall in. The daily recommendations for calcium can largely vary by age and gender.

So, how much calcium do you need?

The amount of calcium you may need daily depends on several factors including age, gender and health. While it is best to get the required amount of calcium from food, you can also get it from supplements. Try to get the recommended daily amount of calcium from food first and then from supplements only when your food doesn’t contain enough calcium. If you get ample calcium from the foods you eat, you would not need to take supplements.

Calcium supplements are available without a prescription in a wide range of preparations and in different amounts. The best supplement is the one that meets your needs based on convenience, cost and availability.

But, how much calcium do you actually need on a daily basis?

For normal health conditions, the daily recommended amount of calcium may vary with age and gender. Here is a list of the recommended amount of calcium one must get daily from their food or health supplements.

  • Newborns to 6 months: 200 milligrams
  • Babies 7-12 months: 260 milligrams
  • Kids 1-3: 700 milligrams
  • Kids 4-8: 1,000 milligrams
  • Kids and teens 9-18: 1,300 milligrams
  • Adults 19-50: 1,000 milligrams
  • Adult men 51-70: 1,000 milligrams
  • Adult women 51-70: 1,200 milligrams
  • All adults 71 and older: 1,200 milligrams
  • Pregnant/breastfeeding women: 1,000 milligrams
  • Pregnant teens: 1,300 milligrams

Why do we need calcium?

Calcium is important for heart, muscles and nerves to function properly and for blood to clot. When there is an inadequate supply of calcium to the body, it contributes largely to the development of osteoporosis. There have been many studies done to support that low calcium levels in the body is associated with low bone mass and high fracture rates.
Sources of calcium

Your daily need of calcium can be met through dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt. Besides, calcium can also be found naturally in some plants like broccoli, kale and Chinese cabbage. There are some foods like orange juice and breakfast cereals which contain added calcium.

Calcium supplements

If you experience trouble in getting sufficient calcium in your diet, it is advisable to take a calcium supplement. The amount of calcium supplement you need completely depends on the amount of calcium you obtain from food sources. Except for people who suffer from a gastrointestinal disease, calcium compounds like calcium carbonate and calcium citrate must be consumed.

Calcium is better absorbed by the body when taken in small doses like 500 mg or less several times in a day. It can be seen in many cases that calcium supplements are better absorbed when taken with food.


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