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Calcium and Calcium Supplement

By: Emily Zhang

Calcium is a very important nutrient for the body. Calcium is essential to maintain your bones, muscles, heart, and nerves. If your body lacks calcium, it can lead to illnesses like osteoporosis. With children, a lack of calcium will lead to weak teeth or make it hard to learn to walk. 

Calcium is available in many natural foods. The best source of calcium is milk. Eggs, yogurt and cheeses also have lots of calcium. Leafy vegetables have large amounts of calcium as well. Theoretically, people should be able to get enough calcium intake just from their everyday meals.

However, many people still report not having enough calcium. This is because when people get older, calcium leaves the body much faster. We keep the same diet but the need for calcium grows with age. For example, a young adult might only need 1000 mg per day, however, a 70-year old will need 1200 mg to keep healthy calcium level. 

Calcium supplement is a common supplement that you can find in the nutrition department. However, supplements often contain other elements that are harmful for your health and hard to be digested and absorbed by the human body. If you take too much calcium supplements, it might lead to a kidney stone. As you can find enough calcium from natural food, it will be better to not take calcium supplements. If you feel that it’s too difficult to get enough calcium and that you must take pills, it’s best to take it in the morning to let your body digest it through the day.

Following is a table of recommended calcium daily intakes and upper limits, for people in different age.


Recommended Upper Limit
 9–13 y1,300 mg3,000 mg
 14–18 y1,300 mg3,000 mg
 19–30 y1,000 mg2,500 mg
 31–50 y1,000 mg2,500 mg
 51–70 y1,000 mg2,000 mg
 > 70 y1,200 mg2,000 mg

A sample diet suggestion for calcium:

Morning: 1 cup milk 250 mg

Lunch: Salad with

1 cup of kale 300 mg

1 oz cheese 150 mg

¼ cup almond 95 mg

Afternoon snack: 1 cup of yogurt 300 mg

This meal plan alone will already give you 1100 mg calcium.

Reference:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK56056/table/ch5.t1/?report=objectonly
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK56058/table/ch6.t2/?report=objectonly
https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-search

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