Wondering “how much calcium do I need?” Getting adequate calcium, along with diet and exercise, is an important element of an individual’s health and well-being.
Your bones take care of you in so many ways: they support your body and allow you to move, protect your heart, lungs, and brain from injury, and are a storehouse for the vital minerals you need to live. According to National Institutes for Health, around 10 million people in the U.S. have osteoporosis, and 34 million more have low bone mass, which puts them at an increased risk.
Osteoporosis is bone disease which causes bones to become weak and more likely to break. Until the age of about 30, you build and store bone efficiently, and then as part of the natural aging process your bones begin to break down faster than new bone can be formed. In women, bone loss accelerates after menopause when your ovaries stop producing estrogen (the hormone that protects against bone loss). While women are four times more likely than men to develop the disease, men also suffer from osteoporosis.
Tips for you to take care of your bones:
- Maintain a well-balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D. Calcium adds strength and hardens bones and vitamin D helps the intestine absorb calcium. Yogurt, cheese, and milk are great sources of calcium. Some nondairy food sources include sardines, calcium-fortified orange juice, kale, spinach, white beans, black beans, pinto beans, broccoli, and almonds.
- Be Active. Physical activity is also important for building bone, the more work bones do, the stronger they get (just like muscles). It is important to include weight-bearing exercise such as running, walking, aerobics, stair climbing, and weight lifting on a regular basis.
- Avoid intake of alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine. All of these substances inhibit the body’s ability to absorb calcium from the diet.
Find out how much Calcium and Vitamin D you need everyday:
|Life-stage group||Calcium mg/day||Vitamin D (IU/day)|
|Infants 0 to 6 months||200||400|
|Infants 6 to 12 monthgs||260||400|
|1 to 3 years old||700||600|
|4 to 8 years old||1000||600|
|9 to 18 years old||1300||600|
|19 to 50 years old||1000||600|
|51- to 70-year-old males||1000||600|
|51- to 70-year-old females||1200||600|
|>70 years old||1200||800|
|14 to 18 years old, pregnant/lactating||1300||600|
|19 to 50 years old, pregnant/lactating||1000||600|
Sources: National Institutes of Health, United States Department of Agriculture, WebMD, Mayo Clinic LifeWork Strategies EAP, Washington and Shady Grove Adventist Hospitals. For additional information, consult your physician.