Calcium Supplements

Date Posted:21 July 2022 

Are you getting enough calcium? The answer may well depend on both life stage and dietary intake. The RDI for calcium is around 1300mg /day for children aged 4-18 and up to 1300mg /day for those over 50. For all other adults, the average RDI is around 1000mg. 

If you are following a popular vegan diet' calcium foods such as tempeh can offer around 10% of your adult RDI (100g Tempeh) or cooked soya beans around 20%.  Two tablespoons of tahini can provide about 15% of the adult RDI and other sources of calcium include nuts and seeds like almonds around 10% of RDI for 1/4 cup and Brazil nuts around 6% of RDI for 1/4 cup. 

Seaweed is another source of calcium providing around 12% of RDI per cup for wakame and a very similar amount for greens like kale.  Other food sources of calcium include broccoli and bok choi, lentils, and beans. Dairy products like cow's milk and cheese provide good daily doses with cheddar, swiss, or edam exceptionally high or other protein foods like salmon and sardines as sources of calcium. 

You can also choose from various calcium supplements available in powders or tablet form. The composition of these varies and the best calcium supplements usually contain a range of other vitamins and minerals essential for bone health like Vitamin D and K2 and minerals like zinc' manganese' boron and copper. It's also important to allow for adequate magnesium levels in your diet to support bone mineral density with three parts calcium to two parts magnesium being a good balance.   

The different forms of calcium include calcium citrate or hydroxyapatite both well absorbed or marine plant green sources of calcium for vegans.  

Although calcium supplementation for osteoporosis has mixed results it would be prudent to ensure you are getting your recommended daily intake which may include supplementation. 

Calcium supplements for kids are also worth considering particularly if they are on dairy-free diets. Achieving RDI for children could be more challenging if the children are fussy eaters but achievable through whole foods. For growing children, this mineral is essential for development. 

Another time to be particularly mindful of calcium is during pregnancy. Dietary sources of calcium should be plentiful even during pre-conception and throughout the pregnancy, particularly in the second and third trimesters. RDI varies depending on age but upwards of 1000mg daily is recommended. 

Calcium supplements should be taken in divided doses with food and always check with your doctor if you are on prescription medication. 

The vast majority of calcium is stored in teeth and bones but the importance of calcium is not limited to bone mineralization. Muscle contraction, hormone secretion, and blood coagulation all depend on some level of calcium. Australian health surveys suggest that many people may not be meeting their RDI with calcium so this essential mineral is one to watch. 





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