How much calcium do you need each day?

The amount of calcium required each day depends on your age and stage in life. Children and adults require 800 milligrams per day, while teenagers need 1200 milligrams. Women who are pregnant or nursing require an additional 400 milligrams a day.

Recent government surveys indicate that many Americans, especially adults, consume significantly less calcium than is recommended. For example, experts estimate that the average calcium intake for women is only 450 to 550 milligrams per day!

The amount of calcium absorbed by the body decreases as we grow older. In women, this starts at menopause since estrogen promotes calcium absorption. Many medical and nutrition experts suggest that post-menopausal women increase their intake of calcium to 1000 to l500 milligrams per day to counteract this effect. Until more research is conducted on possible harmful effects at this level, consult your physician before regularly consuming such large amounts. Remember, most adults do not get the amount of calcium now recommended. For example, in this country on any given day, two-thirds of all females between the ages of 18 and 34 consume less than the adult RDA for calcium.