Health Topics

How much Calcium Do You Need?

How much Calcium Do You Need?


Three important risk factors you can control to prevent osteoporosis are:

  1. Diet
  2. Lifestyle
  3. Replacing lost estrogen through hormone therapy can provide a strong defense against osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.

To maintain strong, healthy bones, a diet rich in calcium is needed throughout your life. Your need for calcium becomes even greater as you age. The U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (USRDA) for calcium is 1,000 milligrams per day. Postmenopausal women who are not taking estrogen should get 1,500 milligrams per day. One cup of skim or 1% fat milk contains 300 milligrams of calcium. Besides dairy products, other good sources of calcium are:

  • salmon with bones
  • sardines
  • kale
  • broccoli
  • calcium-fortified juices and breads
  • dried figs
  • calcium supplements

Calcium Supplements

When taking calcium supplements, remember that the body can only absorb 500 mg of calcium at a time. Because of this, you should take your calcium supplements in divided doses, since anything more than 500 mg will not be absorbed.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is also important because it enables the body to absorb calcium. The recommended daily allowance of vitamin D is 1,000 to 2,000 I.U. (international units) in the form of vitamin D3. Vitamin D can also be obtained by getting 5 to 15 minutes of sunlight a few times a week or by consuming fortified milk.