Sunday, October 29, 2017

How Much Calcium Should I Take?

Ninety-nine percent of calcium in the body (and that is 3 pounds of the stuff!) is in our bones. And since bone is in a constant state of being torn down and then being built back (remodeling), let's just say it goes without saying that we NEED adequate calcium for good health. Calcium is important not just for our bones but also for a whole host of other essential functions. Without calcium there would be no nerve transmission, muscle contraction, cell signaling, blood clotting, constriction and relaxation of blood vessels, or secretion of hormones. (1) Studies have consistently found that higher calcium intakes reduce the risk of hypertension, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. (2,3,4). In a 2015 study from the National Osteoporosis Foundation, Weaver, et al. found a "significant decrease in fractures with calcium and vitamin D supplements." (5)

OsteoSustain: three tablets provide 500 mg calcium

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for calcium as endorsed by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) is 1,000 to 1,200 mg daily for adults and not to exceed 2,000 mg. (6) People should strive to meet these calcium levels using food sources to the greatest extent possible. A healthful, well-balanced diet should include dairy (especially yogurt and kefir...preferably goat), dark leafy greens, and other calcium sources like sardines, almonds and beans.

Unfortunately, some people are sensitive or allergic to dairy. In addition, although many physicians recommend dairy as a calcium source, high dairy intake may come with other undesirable effects. Besides grave concerns over the dairy industries use of rBGH (growth hormones), milk is acidifying to the body (and not necessarily good for bones as the dairy industry would like you to believe) and casein, the major protein found in milk, has neoplastic (cancer) potential. Also, D-galactose (from the lactose sugar in milk) has been shown to increase inflammation, contribute to neuro-degeneration and reduced immune function. To this point, Michaelsson, et al. observed a link between high milk intake (3 or more glasses per day) and higher rate of both mortality and fracture in women, and a higher rate of mortality in men. "There were positive associations between milk intake and concentrations of markers for oxidative stress and inflammation." The authors concluded, "A higher consumption of milk in women and men is not accompanied by a lower risk of fracture and instead may be associated with a higher rate of death." (7)

We recommend 500 to 800 mg/day of supplemental calcium depending upon your diet. If you have severe bone loss and are sensitive to dairy then a slightly higher dose per day may be indicated.


1) Linus Pauling Institute. Calcium dietary supplemental fact sheet. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements website: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-HealthProfessional/. Updated November 21, 2013.


2) Alender, P.S., et al. 1996. Dietary calcium and blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Ann Intern Med 124:825-31.


3) Bucher, H.C., et al. 1996. Effects of dietary calcium supplementation on blood pressure. A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. JAMA 275:1016-22.


4) Villegas, R., et al. 2009. Dietary calcium and magnesium intakes and the risk of type 2 diabetes: the Shanghai Women's Health Study. Am J Clin Nutr 89:1059-67.


5)Weaver, C.M., et al. 2016. Calcium plus vitamin D supplementation and risk of fractures: an updated meta-analysis from the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Osteoporo Int 27:367-376. 

6) Institute of Medicine. 2011. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

7) Michaelsson, K., et al. 2014. Milk intake and risk of mortality and fractures in women and men: cohort studies. BMJ 349:g6015. 





Website design and website development by Confluent Forms LLC, Easthampton MA