Diet & Nutrition
Calcium : Essential Mineral
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You both need about the same amount of dietary calcium. Calcium’s role in bone health isn’t limited to growing children and teens. In adults, eating too little calcium is linked with osteoporosis.
How much is enough?
The amount of calcium you need varies throughout your life. Greatest needs occur during the period of rapid growth among children and adolescents and among pregnant and nursing women. After about age 30, the amount of bone you form typically reaches its maximum. Bone formation and bone loss are balanced. For this reason, the RDA for calcium drops from a high of 1,200 milligrams for adolescents to 800 milligrams for adults older than 25.
The panel of researchers have agreed you need more calcium because
You absorb less calcium
Calcium absorption decreases as you age, especially after about age 65. You also make less vitamin D–essential for enhancing the amount of calcium that ultimately reaches your bones.
If you’re a woman
Your estrogen level falls–Estrogen slows calcium loss from bones. At menopause when your estrogen level drops, bone loss accelerates. During the first six to eight years of menopause, estrogen replacement therapy slows bone loss. That’s why women who take estrogen need less calcium than women who don’t take the hormone. After about 10 years, estrogen’s effects are less dominant and calcium’s effects increase. Supplemental amounts of calcium in the range of 1,500 milligrams seem to reduce bone loss.