August 1, 2003, Newsletter Issue #148: Too Much Calcium?

Tip of the Week

Dietary calcium is important, but we hear so much about it that we might wonder if we are all deficient in this mineral. Is this true, or could we even be getting too much calcium?
Here are the calcium recommendations. If you are an adult under 50, you need 1000 mg/day, and this is what the food label percentages are based on. If you are over 50, you need 1200-1500 mg/day. Now, most sources tell you that if you take in too much, it will just be excreted in the urine. However, there is an established upper tolerable limit of 2500 mg, beyond which some people may have negative reactions. So should we all take 1000-1500 mg/day as supplements? Consider what you get in your food. Say, during the day, you have 1 ounce of cheddar cheese, a cup of calcium-fortified orange juice, a handful of almonds, a cup of yogurt, and a cup of broccoli. This comes to 1100 mg (not counting your other food), and you didn`t even drink any milk. If you eat this and still want to supplement, 500 mg may be plenty. If you`re not sure about your diet, go ahead and supplement more. Over 2500 mg now and then won`t hurt you.

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