Article Series

  1. Calcium Daily Requirement
  2. Calcium Deficiency - Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

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Calcium Daily Requirement

Calcium Daily Requirement

Getting enough calcium through your diet is important to prevent osteoporosis and bone loss 1. The calcium found in food is absorbed on average at about 30% 2. Depending on the chemical composition of the food, this value can be higher or lower.

In healthy individuals, about 100 to 300 mg of calcium is excreted through urine and feces per day 3. Assuming a 30% absorption rate, depending on age and gender, approximately 200 to 1,200 mg need to be consumed daily to compensate for the loss. The actual amount of calcium absorbed through food varies greatly due to individual diet and the availability of vitamin D.

Calcium Daily Requirement - NIH

The following table shows the recommended amount of calcium for the United States 4:

Gender and Age GroupAmount in mg
≥ 19–50 years 1,000
>70+ years 1,200
≥ 19–70 years 1,000
Pregnant 1,000
Breastfeeding 1,000
>70+ years 1,200
Children / Adolescents
0 to 6 months 200
7 to 12 months 260
1 to 3 years 700
4 to 8 years 1,000
9 to 18 years 1,300
14 to 18 years 1,300
Pregnant, 14 to 18 years 1,300
Breastfeeding, 14 to 18 years 1,300

The values mentioned are for reference only, as health authorities sometimes recommend different amounts.

On the other hand, if insufficient calcium is consumed, the body uses its reserves in the bones to continue ensuring its own functions such as nerve transmission. The result is deficiencies such as muscle cramps, shortness of breath, and bone fractures.

Scientists found that a high calcium intake of over 1,137 mg per day does not provide additional protection against bone fractures or remineralization of the bones 5. Instead, it led to an increased number of hip fractures and cases of osteoporosis compared to those who consumed less calcium.

Athletes' Calcium Requirements

Athletes have an increased need for calcium because the mineral is lost through sweat (approximately 40 mg per liter of sweat). Therefore, it is advisable for them to consume plant-based foods rich in calcium (calcium table) after a sweaty training session or competition, or to resort to dietary supplements if their calcium needs cannot be met through diet alone 6. Therefore, athletes should strive to meet the recommended intake guidelines.