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08.05.2015
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for calcium for adults has been set at 1,000 mg (1 g) per day [1].
Common foods rich in calcium include dairy products, calcium-fortified foods, fish with edible bones, almond milk, radishes and certain mineral waters.
Adequate calcium intake along with physical activity throughout life may reduce the risk of osteoporosis at old age [6].
In 2 systematic reviews (2009, 2013), researchers have found only a weak association between high calcium intake and reduced risk of kidney stones [67,68]. In one 2012 systematic review of studies, high intake of low-fat dairy was associated with 16% decrease, and high intake of cheese (high-fat dairy) with no significant decrease of high blood pressure [14]. From these studies, it is still not clear, was it calcium or some other food ingredient that was associated with decreased blood pressure. In one 1994 study in 65-87 years old women, higher calcium intake was associated with less dental caries [36]. According to World Health Organization (WHO), water hardness has neither beneficial or harmful effects on health [62]. In one 2013 systematic review, researchers have found no convincing association between high calcium intake and other types of cancer (breast, lung, colorectal, endometrial) [15]. If you have a chronic kidney disease and tend to have elevated blood calcium levels, your doctor may recommend you to decrease calcium intake by eating more low-calcium foods and limit, but not necessary completely avoid, calcium-rich foods.
Low-calcium diet is NOT recommended to individuals with increased risk of calcium kidney stones [44,47]. Calcium deficiency refers to low calcium stores in the body and may or may not lead to low blood calcium levels (hypocalcemia).
Female athletes with anorexia nervosa and absent menstruation (amenorrhea) who have low estrogen levels are at increased risk of osteoporosis. Hyperventilation, for example, due to anxiety or strenuous exercise, can result in transient hypocalcemia that is not detected by a blood test when you are not hyperventilating [56].
Medications: amphotericin B, cinacalcet, cisplatin, enemas (sodium phosphate), estrogens, fluoride, foscarnet, gentamicin, phenobarbital, steroids, zoledronic acid, laxatives abuse (mineral oil, senna), long-term use of gastric acid-lowering drugs (cimetidine, omeprazole, aluminium and magnesium antacids) reduce calcium absorption [1,6]. Treatment of hypocalcemia includes calcium supplements and treatment of the underlying disorders. In children, long-term calcium deficiency with or without vitamin D deficiency can result in poor calcium mineralization of bones - soft bones or rickets.
Low dietary calcium and high fluoride intake, mainly by drinking water high in fluoride, can result in teeth discoloration (dental fluorosis).
Calcium citrate and citrate malate are appropriate for individuals with low gastric acid and increased risk of kidney stones.
Calcium lactate and gluconate are highly soluble but bulky, so they are mostly used as powders for solutions. In calcium orotate, calcium is combined with orothic acid, in calcium D-glucarate with glucaric acid, in calcium osporotate with aspartic, orothic and citric acid, in calcium amino acid chelates with hydrolyzed vegetable protein and in calcium AEP with amino ethanol phosphate. In severe hypocalcemia, your doctor can give you an injection of calcium gluconate or chloride into a vein. To treat calcium deficiency, a typical dose is 1 gram (1,000 mg) of elemental calcium per day [6].
To know how much calcium you get from supplements you should check milligrams of elemental calcium, not milligrams of the the whole calcium compound.
Calcium is optimally absorbed when taken in doses up to 500 mg elemental calcium at once [6].
Different calcium supplements are probably absorbed equally well and have about the same bioavailability. For prevention of bone fractures in men after 65 and women after menopause with osteoporosis [18,43], and for prevention of bone loss in individuals who take steroids [31]. When taking along with a low-fat or low-calorie diet: for reducing blood cholesterol levels. There is INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE about calcium supplements effectiveness for preventing colorectal, prostate or other cancer, dental caries (tooth decay) [37,38], heart disease, high blood pressure [49], high blood pressure in pregnancy (pre-eclampsia), Lyme disease, metabolic syndrome, osteoporosis (in individuals who do not already have osteoporosis) [25], pregnancy-related leg cramps, diabetes, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), seizures, stroke or for promoting weight loss. Calcium supplements are POSSIBLY INEFFECTIVE for preventing breast cancer in postmenopausal women [16]. Side effects of calcium supplements include constipation and bloating [6]. Injection of calcium chloride can irritate the veins or muscles [55]. Certain calcium supplements derived from bone meal, dolomite or oyster shells contain small amounts of lead, but calcium inhibits lead absorption in the gut, so the actual harm of lead is probably lower than the benefit from calcium supplements [1,29]. Symptoms: nausea, constipation, depression, weakness, muscle or joint aches, frequent urination, headache and, in severe cases, coma or death.
Calcium deposits, calcification or calcinosis means buildup of calcium or calcium-phosphate crystals in the body organs and their damage.


Oxalate in spinach, rhubarb, beet greens, Swiss chard and beans can decrease calcium absorption from these foods, but not likely from other foods [6,19].
Phytates in seeds, nuts and wheat bran can decrease calcium absorption from these and other foods [20]. Caffeine slightly decreases calcium absorption but it is not clear if this has any importance for health [6,16,22,24].
The information on this site is for educational purposes only and should not be considered diagnostic or medical advice. Based in Hawaii, Jill Corleone is a registered dietitian who has been writing and lecturing on diet and health for more than 10 years. They protect your organs, provide support and help you move, but you might take your bones for granted. Adults between the ages of 19 and 50 need 600 International Units of vitamin D a day, and adults over the age of 70 need 800 International Units.
For growing children and teens, getting enough calcium is crucial to building bone mass, which may help guard against osteoporosis and fractures later in life.
The processing of canned salmon softens the bones, making them easy to digest — it's the bones that provide the calcium. Almonds, says Krieger, pack a surprisingly significant amount of calcium; a third of a cup, which Krieger calls a reasonable serving, contains about 110 mg of calcium, raw or roasted. A sweet potato provides about 55 mg of calcium, and a cup of cooked sweet potatoes about 76 mg. A cup of boiled small white beans, dried, provides about 130 mg of calcium, nearly as much as half a cup of milk. From our SponsorsEveryday Solutions are created by Everyday Health on behalf of our sponsors.
It gives strength to the bones and teeth and enables proper functioning of the nerves, muscles, gut, heart and blood vessels.
The bone mineral density (BMD) increases until about 30 years of age and then starts to decline slowly. For some individuals, especially vegans, who may get little calcium from food, hard water can be a convenient source of calcium. Oxalic acid (oxalate) found in spinach and rhubarb, and phytic acid (phytate) in dried beans and wheat bran inhibit calcium absorption, so these foods are not good sources of calcium [1]. Alcohol abuse in adolescence and young adulthood can affect calcium metabolism and increase the risk of osteoporosis later in life [6,23].
These supplements are often advertised to have greater bioavailability, but they have not been proven to be more effective than other calcium supplements. These two supplements can be also used as antidotes to prevent adverse effects of hyperkalemia on the heart muscle but not to treat hyperkalemia itself [40]. Unlike other supplements, calcium citrate and calcium citrate malate are absorbed well on an empty stomach and in low gastric acid (achlorhydria, hypochlorhydria) [6]. If not recognized, milk-alkali syndrome may lead to kidney calcification and failure or even death.
On the other hand, calcium reduces absorption of oxalate thus possibly reducing the risk of calcium-oxalate kidney stones. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Diabetes Self-Management and in the book "Noninvasive Mechanical Ventilation," edited by John R. Ninety-nine percent of the calcium in your body is stored in your bones, the other 1 percent is used for other functions such as muscle contractions and nerve transmissions. Women are more likely than men to not meet their calcium needs, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. Phosphorus deficiencies are rare, because the mineral is found in a variety of different foods. Most Americans do not meet their recommended needs for vitamin D, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements, but you are able to manufacture your own vitamin D through sun exposure. A variety of foods contain added calcium, including milk, cheese, and yogurt made from soybeans. Calcium content varies among orange juice products, however, so read nutrition labels carefully. A 3-ounce serving of pink salmon, along with the bones, provides about 180 mg of calcium — about two-thirds the amount in a cup of milk. Krieger suggests using almond butter in place of peanut butter in sandwiches for your kids, and including unsalted or low-salt almonds with dried fruit in trail-mix snacks. Sweet potatoes are loaded with other nutrients as well, and it's easy to enhance their calcium quotient and appeal to a child's appetite by adding cheese or yogurt. But they may help improve bone health in another way: Green peas are packed with vitamin K, and some studies have shown that vitamin K supplements may increase bone mineral density and bone strength.


View all.ConnectDon't miss out on breaking news, live chats, lively debates, and inspiring stories. Other good sources of calcium include leafy greens like kale, collards, and turnip greens, sardines and canned salmon with bones, soybeans, and orange juice with added calcium.
But that's not all -- some calcium is in the blood and helps muscles contract and blood clot. Institute of Medicine (IOM) [1] *Breast milk of healthy mothers should provide enough calcium for exclusively breastfed infants 0-6 months of age [1,3]. 2008 and 2012, researchers have found no association between calcium supplements and kidney stones, though [47,48]. When you consume little or no calcium, calcium is resorbed from the bones into the blood, so the blood calcium levels do not fall, but in long-term calcium deficiency, the bones can become porous (osteoporosis).
Calcium phosphate is less well absorbed, because phosphate binds to calcium in the gut and inhibits its absorption [26]. Calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D are all nutrients your body needs to support healthy bones.
Like calcium, most of the phosphorus in your body is found in your bones and teeth, but it is also found in every cell in your body.
Good food sources of calcium include plain low-fat yogurt, with 415 milligrams of calcium per 8-ounce serving, part-skim mozzarella cheese with 333 milligrams per 1.5-ounce serving and nonfat milk, with 299 milligrams per 8-ounce serving. Soymilk without added calcium contains only about 10 mg per cup, and that calcium is difficult for the body to absorb. Keep in mind that the percentage "daily value" listed on labels is based on the needs of adults up to age 50: 1,000 mg. Bottom line: Tofu made with calcium sulfate contains more calcium than tofu made with magnesium chloride, or nigari.
You can also toss almonds into salads, sprinkle them on breakfast oatmeal, or simply give your children a handful. Double up on calcium content by pairing blanched or raw broccoli "trees" with a simple dip made from yogurt mixed with herbs (chives, cilantro), spices (curry, chili powder), or fruits and vegetables (cucumber, apple). Fortified foods are a handy way to get vitamins and minerals into your child's diet, says Krieger. Not all frozen waffles are fortified, but those that contain added calcium can provide around 100 mg of the mineral in each waffle. Join the conversation!Free NewslettersPersonalized tips and information to get and stay healthier every day. Getting the right amount of these nutrients daily can help keep your bones healthy and strong.
In addition to helping your body form bones and teeth, you also need phosphorus to help make proteins.
Good sources include swordfish with 566 International Units in a 3-ounce portion, sockeye salmon with 447 International Units in a 3-ounce portion and vitamin D fortified nonfat milk with 115 to 124 International Units in an 8-ounce cup. But calcium-fortified soymilk and soy products have as much calcium as cow's milk and sometimes more. Mash, or use your food processor to blend, both types of beans into dips and spreads kids will love. They're an excellent source of vitamins C and A and protein, and like broccoli, they can be combined with a dairy product to enhance their calcium dose. To add calcium to hot cereals, cook them in cow's milk or fortified soymilk instead of water. Use soy products as you would dairy products: Pour over cereal, pack in a lunch, or provide as a snack.
While fortified orange juice is a great way to get calcium, Krieger also recommends fresh oranges, each of which naturally contains about 50 mg of calcium. Then, use canned salmon in fish cakes instead of crab, or add it to casseroles in place of tuna. With chickpeas, try traditional lemon-and-garlic-infused hummus (go light on the garlic for picky kids). Try "creamed" peas made with low-fat milk, or toss some peas with pasta and a light, cheesy white sauce.
And to up the calcium count, try topping your kids' waffles with low-fat or nonfat yogurt mixed with a dollop of jam or their favorite sliced fresh fruit.
Or process white beans with roasted garlic, a drizzle of olive oil, and salt and pepper and spread on toast.



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