How Much Calcium Should A Woman Get Per Day?
Dr. Heaney describes how much calcium a woman needs per day in order to protect her bones.
There are two answers to that question: One, calcium alone is not enough, and that’s very important to understand that. You need an adequate hormonal balance, you need adequate exercise, and you need adequate nutrition. Those are the 3 legs of the Stool of Bone Health. I used to ask audiences, “Which one of those legs would you rather do without?” You’re not going to be very successful sitting on that stool with only 1 or 2 legs; you really need all 3 if you’re going to have stability.
Within nutrition, then even there, calcium alone is not enough. You need to have an adequate protein intake. Bone is made up not only of calcium, but it’s made up of protein. You can take all the mineral out of bone and it still looks like a bone. It’s the thing you might give your dog to chew, basically, because it’s still tough and rubbery. It’s got all of the structure of bone, just doesn’t have the mineral in it. You can’t make good bones if you don’t have an adequate protein intake. You need Vitamin D, you need potassium; you need a whole host of other things that are found in foods.
The answer is, how much calcium do you need? You need about 1,200 to 1,500 milligrams of calcium per day as a part of a good diet. That means an adequate protein intake, an adequate Vitamin D status, an adequate potassium and magnesium, and so forth.
Calcium, How Much Do Women Need To Protect Their Bones?
Osteoporosis specialist Dr. Ethel Siris on how much calcium you need.
In a post-menopausal woman, we advocate that the total intake of calcium needs to be about 1,200 milligrams a day. That does not mean that you’re supposed to take 2, 600 milligram pills every day, it means that you’re supposed to get a total of 1,200, and for many people, that can be gotten from the diet. Most foods containing calcium in reasonable amounts are dairy products, and we of course like low-fat dairy products. Glass of milk is 300 milligrams, a cup of yogurt is 300 milligrams, couple of ounces of
cheese will give you around 300 milligrams. You need to look at what you routinely take, and of course, orange juices and cereals often have calcium added. Figure out what you’re getting on a daily basis, add it up, and if you’re short of that 1,200, maybe take a tablet to get you there.
Remember, you get about 300 milligrams of calcium from everything in your diet that isn’t dairy, so you can factor that in as well. If you’re not getting much dairy, you may need to take calcium in pill form once or twice a day. Never take more 500 or 600 milligrams at a time, if it’s in a pill. Take enough, but you don’t have to go overboard; doesn’t help.