How Much Calcium Do You Need Daily?

Treatment / September 30, 2014

Lara Pizzorno is the author of “Your Bones: How You Can Prevent Osteoporosis and Have Strong Bones for Life – Naturally” and a member of the American Medical Writers Association with 29 years of experience specializing in bone health.

Recently we asked Lara if she would help us provide a series of short, ongoing videos to help you (our customers and readers) stay up to date on the latest facts and science related to bone health and overcoming osteoporosis naturally.

In this latest video, Lara discusses one of the most common questions when it comes to calcium. How much do you need, daily? Watch the video below (or read the transcript provided) and let us know what you think in the comments. 🙂

 

Hello, my name is Lara Pizzorno and I would like to talk with you today about how to have healthy bones. Specifically today our topic is on calcium. How much do you need? And are Americans getting enough? Are YOU getting enough to have healthy bones?

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, it’s called NHANES, it’s this huge survey that is run by a government agency in the U.S. to determine whether Americans are getting adequate amounts of important nutrients, and has revealed to us that most Americans are not doing a good job of getting adequate amounts of calcium. The two groups at risk of not getting adequate amounts of calcium from their diet are children age 9-18 and then adults age 51 and older. In the group of children from age 9-18, this is especially important because they are supposed to be accrewing 40% of their bone mass that they need to carry them through their lives. And if they don’t get adequate calcium during these important bone-formative years they will be at much higher risk of osteoporosis later. This group of individuals are supposed to be getting 1300mg of calcium a day and from a diet they are getting a maximum of about 935 mg a day, so a serious shortfall.

In the group of us adults from 51 and older, I am in that group and I expect that you may be too if you are listening to this video – we’re supposed to be getting 1200-1500 mg of calcium per day and in actuality, from the diet, we are only getting 674 mg of calcium per day.

This is especially problematic for older adults because we absorb calcium less efficiently than we did when we were children, from the intestines, and we resorb it a lot less efficiently from the kidneys than when were were children or adolescents and we are losing more bone because as you know, we start to resorb more bone much more rapidly as we age. This is due to the falloff in hormones: estrogen in women and testosterone in men.

The estrogen drop off happens sooner in women but men also experience a drop off in the amount of testosterone they produce. In men, some testosterone, a small amount is converted to estrogen and that estrogen is critical for men’s bones. So both sexes really need to make sure that they’re getting enough calcium to make up for the deficits that they are experiencing with age.

A number of studies have been done that show that calcium supplementation can help make up for this shortfall. In postmenopausal women, research has shown that women taking a calcium supplement of just 1000 mg of calcium carbonate, along with 400 IU of vitamin D3,daily, prevented or lessened their risk of hip fracture by 29%. This research was published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2006.

A very famous calcium researcher named Heaney, published a study in The Journal of The American College of Nutrition in 2000 that shows that women who did not take calcium supplements lost bone at a rate of 1% per year. But women who did take calcium supplements only lost bone at a rate of 0.014% per year. So that’s about a 1000% lower rate of bone loss. Calcium supplementation can really help make up the deficits that we experience with age.

And in our next video we’ll discuss what forms of calcium might be good for supplementation. Hope this has been helpful and look forward to talking to you next time!

Lara Pizzorno

12 thoughts on “How Much Calcium Do You Need Daily?

Georgiana

I was unable to absorb calcium carbonate or calcium citrate. Fosamax and other medicines did not work for me. Not until I used Algae Cal and Strontium did I see an increase in my bone density. Thank Goodness

Monica

Hi Georgiana,

Thank you for sharing your story. It’s great to hear that AlgaeCal Plus and Strontium Boost increased your bone density!

– Monica from AlgaeCal

Florence

I have osteopenia and had a hip fracture when I took a fall a couple of years ago. I was told by one MD to take Calcium Citrate and another told me not to take it because we get enough Calcium in our diet. (My father had calcium deposits when he died in surgery for an angioplasty at age 75.) What I have read about your product makes sense and I am interested but it is out of my budget at this time. Is there any way of earning your product. I would like to see an improvement in my bone density.

Monica

Hi Florence,

Thank you for your interest in AlgaeCal. Unfortunately, we do not offer a way to earn our product, but we do offer a significant discount if you buy multiple bottles of AlgaeCal and is explained on our products page.

– Monica from AlgaeCal

Sandra Finch

What about the Calcium/Magnesium ratio? What kind of magnesium is best since I have recently found out I am deficient in magnesium.

Monica Lam-Feist

Hi Sandra,

With regards to calcium and magnesium, a 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium is necessary for proper absorption of calcium. The human body has a natural ratio of 2:1 calcium to magnesium and this is the same in AlgaeCal Plus. Too much magnesium will compete with calcium for absorption, but with this 2:1 ratio, it will not as it is the most efficient ratio.

As for what kind of magnesium is best, there are no significant studies that have proven any one form of magnesium is better than the others. The magnesium we used in AlgaeCal’s study is magnesium oxide combined with magnesium carbonate. Because magnesium must be bound with another substance to be absorbed adequately, we chose these forms because their molecular mass is higher.

Let me know if you have any other questions,

– Monica from AlgaeCal

Mary Ulsh

The best way to get the calcium a person needs is taking whole food supplements. Also eating food like cheese, yogurt and vegetables like broccoli and kale. Regular calcium supplements do not work. I have taken calcium supplements for years and they did nothing for me. When I can I will buy AlgaCal as it is whole food supplement.
Sincerely, Mary Ulsh

Monica

Hi Mary,

Thank you for your comment! You’re right, it’s important to supplement as well as eat calcium-rich foods for your bone health.

– Monica from AlgaeCal

April

I thought if you got too much calcium it clogs your arteries. I overheard a doctor say that you have to track your calcium intake as to not “overdo” it but eating too much calcium in food and taking supplements also. Excess calcium ends up in your blood and causes problems?Can you address this? Thank you.

Monica

Hi April,

Great question. AlgaeCal is easier for the body to absorb because it is a natural plant sourced calcium similar to calcium you get from eating vegetables such as broccoli, kale and peas. Studies have shown that calcium from whole foods like AlgaeCal, does NOT increase heart attack risks because foods that naturally contain calcium also supply other minerals.

Your bones are not solely made up of calcium, but are made up of a matrix of vitamins and minerals. That is why AlgaeCal has additional magnesium, boron, vitamin K2 and vitamin D3 as well as 70 other trace minerals, which optimize absorption and transfer calcium directly to your bones rather than soft tissues like arteries, kidneys etc. All these factors translate to an absorption rate of 97% for AlgaeCal. AlgaeCal is also much safer for you because it is more effective at a lower dosage. In our human study, all 176 participants were able to increase their bone mineral density of up to 1% in 12 months with taking 720 mg of calcium from AlgaeCal daily.

I hope this answered your question. If you have any others, please do not hesitate!

– Monica from AlgaeCal

Linda Krebs

I am taking Levothyroxine and understand it interferes with calcium aborbsion . I have started taking AlgaeCal because I was diagnosed with osteoporosis last year and am concerned I’m fighting a losing battle. Any advice would be appreciated!
Linda K

Lara Pizzorno

Hi Linda,

You’re not fighting a losing battle! And AlgaeCal Plus can definitely help you win the fight and restore excellent health to your bones.
It’s great that your low thyroid activity was diagnosed. A decline in thyroid hormone production and activity is very common, typically age-related, and promotes bone loss.
Levothyroxine, the thyroid hormone replacement medication you have been prescribed, will help restore healthful thyroid hormone levels and function. (Levothyroxine supplies the thyroid pro-hormone, T4 (thyroxine), which our bodies can then convert to the active thyroid hormone, T3 (triiodothyronine) as needed.)

To get the most bone-building benefits from both your levothyroxine and your AlgaeCal Plus, there are a few things you need to know.

Take your levothyroxine on an empty stomach at least one hour before consuming calcium-rich foods or your AlgaeCal Plus supplement.

Actually, it’s best to take your thyroid hormone on an empty stomach at least an hour before taking any other medication or supplement or eating any food. The presence of food, medications or supplements in the stomach can greatly lessen the absorption of thyroid hormone.

Calcium, specifically, whether in food or supplements, reduces levothyroxine absorption by forming insoluble complexes. A number of minerals, food products and medications can also lower levothyroxine absorption. In addition to calcium, these include iron, soy, coffee, antacids that contain either aluminum or magnesium, proton pump inhibitors (such as Nexium) and some cholesterol-lowering medications, including Lipitor (atorvastatin).

Lots of drugs — 565 drugs (5,279 brand and generic names) — are known to interact with levothyroxine! So if you are taking any type of drug, please check with your pharmacist regarding the best timing for taking your thyroid hormone.

Also, although no research has formally reported an interaction between strontium and levothyroxine, it only makes sense that strontium, like calcium, would impair levothyroxine absorption since both strontium and calcium require the same pathways for absorption.

In sum, to get the most benefit from your levothyroxine, take it on an empty stomach at least an hour before taking your AlgaeCal Plus, Strontium Boost – or any other supplement, medication or food.

Levothyroxine Drug Interactions http://www.drugs.com/drug-interactions/levothyroxine.html
Drug interactions between L Thyroxine Roche and strontium-89 chloride http://www.drugs.com/drug-interactions/l-thyroxine-roche-with-strontium-89-chloride-1463-3516-2115-0.html
American Thyroid Association: http://www.thyroid.org/thyroid-hormone-treatment/
Cappelli C, Pirola I, Gandossi E, et al. Oral liquid levothyroxine treatment at breakfast: a mistake? Eur J Endocrinol. 2013 Nov 22;170(1):95-9. doi: 10.1530/EJE-13-0693. Print 2014 Jan. PMID: 24123095
Levothyroxine Drug Interactions http://www.drugs.com/drug-interactions/levothyroxine.html
Drug interactions between L Thyroxine Roche and strontium-89 chloride http://www.drugs.com/drug-interactions/l-thyroxine-roche-with-strontium-89-chloride-1463-3516-2115-0.html
American Thyroid Association: http://www.thyroid.org/thyroid-hormone-treatment/
Cappelli C, Pirola I, Gandossi E, et al. Oral liquid levothyroxine treatment at breakfast: a mistake? Eur J Endocrinol. 2013 Nov 22;170(1):95-9. doi: 10.1530/EJE-13-0693. Print 2014 Jan. PMID: 24123095
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Calcium [Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database website: http://www.naturaldatabase.com]
Even if you slip up and consume some calcium sooner occasionally, it will not completely prevent you from absorbing your levothyroxine. It will just lessen its absorption.
If you want to be extra cautious, take your levothyroxine on an empty stomach 3-4 hours before consuming anything else. This is maximum time span recommended between taking the drug and consuming calcium, other medications or foods, to ensure that everybody — even those of us whose absorption is the least efficient — will have absorbed the drug.
It’s probably easiest take your thyroid medication the first thing when you wake in the morning, then take your AlgaeCal Plus a couple of hours later or with lunch and dinner.

But nighttime dosing works too. Sometimes taking your levothyroxine at night can make it simpler to prevent it from interacting with food, supplements or other medications. If you take your levothyroxine at night, you can take your AlgaeCal Plus with breakfast and lunch or with a mid-afternoon snack or early dinner.

The most important thing is to be consistent, and take your thyroid hormone at the same time, and in the same way, each day.

If you are also taking Strontium Boost, and you are taking your levothyroxine first thing in the morning, you could take your strontium just before going to bed. Remember, you also want to take strontium several hours after consuming anything (food, medication or supplement) with calcium in it. The two minerals compete for absorption, and calcium will always win over strontium, so you won’t get as much benefit from the strontium if you don’t take it separately.

Lastly, it’s important to have your thyroid hormone levels checked at least annually.

Like Goldilocks, you want your thyroid hormone levels to be “just right” – too little or too much thyroid hormone can disrupt the balance required for your bones’ normal, healthy remodeling process. Too little thyroid hormone and everything slows down, including the activity of your osteoblasts, the specialized cells that build new bone for you. Too much thyroid hormone activity increases the rate at which your osteoclasts, the specialized cells that remove old bone, do their bone resorption work, and bone rebuilding cannot keep up.

Even normally, bone removal gets done a lot faster than bone rebuilding. The removal of old, worn out or damaged bone by osteoclasts is normally completed in 2 weeks, after which the body begins to switch gears. Just preparing osteoblasts to take over takes about 2 more weeks, following which new bone formation, which takes at least 13 weeks, begins. When all systems are functioning in proper balance, a full cycle of both aspects of the remodeling process takes 3–6 months. Das S, Crockett JC. Osteoporosis – a current view of pharmacological prevention and treatment. Drug Des Devel Ther. 2013 May 31;7:435-48. doi: 10.2147/DDDT.S31504. Print 2013. PMID: 23807838

In around 25% of patients, the dose of thyroxine (T4) prescribed is slightly higher than what is actually needed. Mazziotti G, Canalis E, Giustina A. Drug-induced osteoporosis: mechanisms and clinical implications. Am J Med. 2010 Oct;123(10):877-84. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2010.02.028. Review. PMID: 20920685
Also, even if your initial dose is exactly right, your dosage requirement may change over time. A levothyroxine dose even slightly greater than what you need will cause suppression of TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone), which directly protects our bones by inhibiting the overproduction of osteoclasts. Ma R, Morshed S, Latif R, et al.The influence of thyroid-stimulating hormone and thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor antibodies on osteoclastogenesis. Thyroid. 2011 Aug;21(8):897-906. doi: 10.1089/thy.2010.0457. Epub 2011 Jul 11. PMID: 21745106

In addition, low TSH may indicate hyperthyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid is producing too much thyroid hormone. Hyperthyroidism significantly increases bone turnover and reduces bone mineral density (BMD). Although bone formation and bone resorption both increase, bone resorption so outpaces bone formation that bone loss results.

For these reasons, TSH, T3 and T4 should be monitored regularly in anyone on long term levothyroxine replacement therapy, and the dosage adjusted if needed.
Christy AL, D’Souza V, Babu RP, et al. Utility of C-terminal Telopeptide in Evaluating Levothyroxine Replacement Therapy-Induced Bone Loss. Biomark Insights. 2014 Mar 3;9:1-6. doi: 10.4137/BMI.S13965. eCollection 2014. PMID: 24634578
Davidge Pitts CJ, Kearns AE. Update on medications with adverse skeletal effects. Mayo Clin Proc. 2011 Apr;86(4):338-43; quiz 343. doi: 10.4065/mcp.2010.0636. Epub 2011 Mar 9. PMID: 21389249

I hope this answers your question and encourages you. Your low thyroid function was contributing to your bone loss. Now that you have identified and begun to correct this, and are providing your bones with the nutrients they require by taking AlgaeCal Plus, you are well on your way to winning the battle against osteoporosis.

– Lara

Add your voice to this discussion...

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

crave your fish oil
Guaranteed to increase your bone density in 180 days!

DISCOVER HOW TO INCREASE YOUR BONE DENSITY NATURALLY…

open quote

I'll show you how!

close quote

Dean Neuls

AlgaeCal CEO & CO-Founder

Subscribe today to receive:
  • Free expert tips on improving bone density
  • Delicious bone-healthy recipes
  • The latest breakthroughs in bone health science

Your personal information is 100% Confidential. Privacy Policy

FREE EBOOK:

Recipes for Stronger Bones

Recipes for Stronger Bones

Now you can build strong bones one healthy, delicious meal at a time!

Crave your fish oil!