How much calcium is enough?
Calcium Daily Recommended Intake (DRI)
Lifestage Group DRI (mg/day)
1–3 years 500 mg
4–8 years 800 mg
9–18 years 1,300 mg
19–50 years 1,000 mg
51+ years 1,200 mg
Pregnant or breastfeeding women 1,000 mg/day
These recommendations are for total intake through diet and supplement, and not just one or the other.
Each cup of milk provides 300 mg of calcium. So 1,000 mg. = approximately 3 1/3 cups of milk per day.
According to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Dietetic Association the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for calcium is 2,500 mg/day. This is the maximum intake that is unlikely to pose a risk of adverse health effects in almost all healthy individuals. There is no established benefit for individuals to aim for the UL, or levels well above the daily goal. The need for setting ULs grew out of the increase in the practice of fortifying food with nutrients and in the use of dietary supplements by more people and in larger doses.
Healthy foods that are rich in calcium include:
-Low-fat dairy products (like skim milk, hard cheese, and low fat yogurt)
-Canned fish with bones you can eat (such as sardines and salmon)
-Dark-green leafy vegetables (broccoli, kale, collard)
-Breads made with calcium-fortified flour
These foods are rich in calcium, include them in your diet. If you don’t receive enough calcium in your diet, check with your doctor about taking a calcium supplement.
To absorb calcium, your body needs vitamin D. Most people get enough vitamin D just from being out in the sun for a short while every day, but you can also get this vitamin from cereal and milk fortified with vitamin D, or supplements. Most multivitamins contain 400 IU of vitamin D. Experts are discussing whether the vitamin D recommended level should be raised. Women over 70 should take 600 IU of vitamin D per day.
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