top of page
  • Writer's pictureLiz Riesen, RD

How Much Calcium Do I Need?

Did you know when we don't get enough calcium from our diets, our body will take the calcium out of our bones and teeth?

Our bones naturally start to lose calcium as we age, which is why calcium needs increase for people over 50 & women going through menopause. We cannot risk not having adequate sources of calcium in our diet.

Osteoporosis, Calcium Needs, Calcium Dietary Sources
Calcium loss in Osteoporosis

Why Do We Need Calcium?

Calcium is a mineral that not only is involved in building bones and keeping them healthy, but it also enables our blood to clot, our muscles to contract, and our heart to beat.

Every day, we lose calcium through our skin, nails, hair, sweat, and urine. Our bodies cannot produce calcium, which is why it’s important to have adequate sources in our diet.

How Much Calcium Do You Need?

Healthy adults between the ages of 19 and 50 should aim for 1,000 milligrams (mg) calcium per day. As we age, our bones lose calcium (especially women during menopause), so calcium needs increase after age 50. Healthy adults over 50 years of age should get 1,200 mg calcium per day.

non-dairy calcium sources, dietary sources of calcium
Dark Green Vegetables, Non Dairy Calcium Source

Highest Content in Non-Dairy Foods

  • Collard greens - 8 oz = 360 mg

  • Broccoli rabe - 8 oz = 200 mg

  • Sardines w/bones - 3 oz = 220 mg

  • Kale, cooked - 8 oz = 180 mg

  • Figs, dried - 2 figs = 65 mg

Calcium Content of Dairy Foods

  • 1 cup plain yogurt = 400 mg

  • 1 cup cow's milk = 300 mg

  • 1 oz natural cheese (such as cheddar, mozzarella, etc.) = 200 mg

What about a supplement?

I recommend an Organic, Whole Food Calcium Supplement, such as Calcifood Powder. 1 Tablespoon provides 600 mg calcium, sourced from defatted wheat germ, oat flour, carrot root, date powder, and rice bran, and bovine bone meal. You can easily add this powder to smoothies, soup, or any beverage.

If you don't already have an account with Standard Process, you can set up a free account here. You will need a practitioner code, please email me for that.

Does it matter when I eat calcium or take a supplement?

Yes, calcium can reduce the absorption of these drugs when taken together:

  • Bisphosphonates (to treat osteoporosis)

  • Antibiotics of the fluoroquinolone and tetracycline families

  • Levothyroxine (to treat low thyroid activity)

  • Phenytoin (an anticonvulsant)

  • Tiludronate disodium (to treat Paget’s disease)

  • Antacids containing aluminum or magnesium increase calcium loss in the urine.

  • Glucocorticoids (such as prednisone) can cause calcium depletion and eventually osteoporosis when people use them for months at a time.

  • Diuretics differ in their effects. Thiazide-type diuretics (such as Diuril® and Lozol®) reduce calcium excretion by the kidneys which in turn can raise blood calcium levels too high. But loop diuretics (such as Lasix® and Bumex®) increase calcium excretion and thereby lower blood calcium levels.

Tell your doctor, pharmacist, and dietitian about any dietary supplements and medicines you take. They can tell you if those dietary supplements might interact or interfere with your prescription or over-the-counter medicines or if the medicines might interfere with how your body absorbs, uses, or breaks down nutrients.

Want to learn more, or receive recommendations specific to you?

Reach out today and schedule a nutrition consult to review your current health status and learn how you can optimize your diet.

In health and happiness - Liz



bottom of page