Tips For Adequate Calcium Intake

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

Calcium is a mineral that is mostly present in bones, and having enough calcium to meet daily requirements is necessary for the development and maintenance of strong bones. Adequate calcium intake is necessary to maximize peak bone mass and to minimize both the risk of fractures in adolescence and the development of osteoporosis in adulthood.

How can I get enough calcium?

Milk and other dairy foods provide 73% of the calcium available in the nation’s food supply and are the major dietary source of calcium for U.S. children. The low intake of milk and other dairy foods by many children and adolescents is the primary reason for their low calcium intake.

Calcium can be obtained by many foods. Look for foods that say “High in Calcium,” “Rich in Calcium,” or “Excellent Source of Calcium,” in contrast to “Calcium Enriched," “Calcium-Fortified,” or “More Calcium.” Calcium is best absorbed if consumed throughout the day. Generally, our bodies can only absorb 500mg of elemental calcium at a time.

How much Vitamin D do I need?


Vitamin D is critical to the absorption of calcium from the gastrointestinal tract and in bone formation. To prevent rickets and vitamin D deficiency, children will need a supplement with 400IU of Vitamin D each day if they are exclusively breastfed or not drinking at least 500mL (17 ounces) of Vitamin D fortified milk or infant formula. Older children and teens who do not get regular sunlight exposure and who do not drink at least 500mL of Vitamin D fortified milk each day will also need a supplement.

Conditions that predispose to bone loss and weakness: anti-seizure medications, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, prolonged steroid use, eating disorders, and thyroid disease.

Fact #1: Even though parents understand the importance of their children getting enough calcium, only about ? of younger children and even fewer teens get enough calcium in their diet.

Fact #2: Multivitamins do not contain much calcium. So, if calcium intake is too low by food intake, over the counter calcium supplements is needed (Calcium Carbonate or Calcium Citrate). Make sure that you obtain adequate elemental calcium, which is the amount of calcium available for absorption by the gastrointestinal tract.

Fact #3: A high calcium intake alone is a rare cause of high calcium in the blood, a condition known as hypercalcemia.

Fact #4: Weight bearing exercise regularly will help maintain bone density, agility, and strength, decreasing the risk of fractures.\