Most moms tell their kids to drink their milk. We worry about strong bones and teeth. We know that calcium has to be also in our diets as adults to prevent bone breaks and fractures. Or do we? Are we following our own advice and getting the calcium we need? Conversely are we getting too much calcium?
Last year, the United States Preventive Services Task Force actually suggested post-menopausal women 50+ refrain from taking calcium and vitamin D – as over 135 studies debunked the evidence that it prevents fractures. One report also found that women over 50 taking calcium, with or without Vitamin D, actually increased their odds of heart attack by 35%. Yet another seven-year study showed no evidence of increased heart attack risk in post-menopausal women. Many other studies are inconclusive and offer varying results, making scientists question the available data as inconclusive in many cases.
Women aged 19-50 need 1000 mg of calcium a day with a tolerable upper intake level of 2500 grams. Unless a vegan, most women who eat a healthy diet and include dairy products should get enough calcium or can take supplemental calcium in regulated small doses. More is not necessarily better. The key is to get the adequate amount of RDA of calcium from childhood through 30 when we are still building bone mass. If calcium intake is too low, bone breakdown occurs.
The estimated calcium intakes from both food and dietary supplements as measured from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) over a 3 year study showed the mean dietary calcium intake for females the range under 50 was 748 to 968 mg/day. Consider how you eat and look at the supplements you take. Many scientists and doctors still recommend getting calcium from food sources and supplementing only if that cannot be met by proper healthy diet.
People who may need supplemental calcium are vegans and anyone who is lactose intolerant.
Best Sources of Calcium From YouR Diet:
- Dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese
- Vegetarian sources like chinese cabbage, kale, broccoli and tofu
- Fortified grains like many cereals
- Drinks like soy milk and fortified orange juice
- Sardines and salmon canned in oil
To sum it up, the best way to get calcium is through a balanced healthy diet. Check with your doctor about supplementation and always stay within the safety guidelines.