The maximum safe dose of calcium from supplements is between 2,000 and 3,000 mg a day, depending on the age. It’s rather unlikely to consume too much calcium from food. You can exceed the maximum safe dose only by taking calcium supplements.
What’s the recommended daily intake?
The recommended daily intake of calcium is 1,000 mg for adults. Children older than 13 years and teenagers require at least 1,300 mg of calcium, due to bone growth. Moreover, women over 50 require about 1,200 mg of calcium a day. Additionally, both men and women over 70 years old should get at least 1,200 mg of calcium a day.
What’s the maximum dose of calcium I can safely take a day?
The maximum safe daily dose of calcium is 2,500 mg for adult men and women. Teenagers and children over 9 can safely get up to 3,000 mg of calcium a day. Moreover, the maximum safe dosage of calcium for people older than 51 years is 2,000 mg.
There are no health benefits by getting too much calcium. In fact, chronic extremely high dosages of calcium may cause adverse effects.
People could exceed the maximum safe dosage of calcium only if advised by their physician.
Side effects of too much calcium
Too much calcium from supplements may cause mild side effects, such as gas, bloating, constipation fatigue, or nausea.
Most noteworthy, extremely high calcium dosages for a long time may lead to serious adverse effects like muscle loss, heart arrhythmias, and even increased risk of cardiovascular disease and prostate cancer!
Although normal intakes of calcium are beneficial for the heart, too much calcium may increase cardiovascular disease. Excess calcium might increase plaque in arteries, reducing their elasticity and blood supply.
Moreover, chronic calcium dosages of 1,000 mg from supplements have been linked to a greater risk of kidney stones.
In addition, too much calcium may inhibit iron absorption! Hence, better avoid consuming foods high in iron like beans and meat with foods high in calcium like milk or cheese!
Last, but not least, calcium may interact with certain medications. On the other hand, several medications might negatively affect calcium levels, leading to calcium deficiency.
Do I need high calcium dosages from supplements?
Actually, calcium deficiency is pretty common. It’s estimated that about 39% of the population consume less calcium than the recommended daily intake!
Postmenopausal women have even higher calcium needs, as decreased estrogen production prevents calcium absorption. About 30% of postmenopausal women in the United States and Europe have osteoporosis.
Vegans and people who follow a plant-based diet may have an increased risk of calcium deficiency as well. Dairy products are the main dietary source of calcium in the modern Western diet.
But, if vegans follow a well-balanced diet containing a wide variety of plant-based foods high in calcium, they can get more than enough calcium. A healthy, well-balanced, plant-based diet can provide adequate amounts of calcium.[1,2]
Moreover, people who avoid the consumption of dairy products could benefit from consuming foods fortified with calcium!
In any case, many people fail to meet the recommended daily intake of calcium from diet. Hence, they could benefit from taking calcium supplements.
You should always consult your physician before taking any supplement or changing your diet.
Do supplements exceed the maximum daily safe dosage?
The amount of calcium in supplements vary widely. In most cases, multivitamins have up to 300 mg of calcium per tablet, while calcium supplements contain up to 600 mg per tablet. Hence, dietary supplements don’t exceed the maximum safe dose of calcium. They’re considered pretty safe.
You’ll find a wide variety of calcium supplements on iHerb.
Furthermore, the percentage of absorbed calcium is declined as the amount of calcium increases. For example, the body absorbs about 36% of a 300 mg calcium dose and only 28% of a 1,000 mg dose.
The absorption rate of calcium in food is even lower.
If you experience any gastrointestinal side effects, such as gas, bloating, or constipation, you better prefer supplements with calcium citrate. It’s more tolerated from people with lower levels of stomach acid. Also, you could try taking smaller doses of calcium. Last, but not least, you should take calcium supplements with a meal.
Can I get too much calcium from food?
You can’t possibly exceed the maximum safe dose of calcium from food.
Moreover, food is rather unlikely to cause calcium toxicity because the human body significantly drops the absorption rate if high amounts of calcium are consumed. For instance, calcium absorption rate from food drops to 15% when we consume more than 2,000 mg of calcium a day.
Common foods high in calcium
The most common natural sources of calcium are dairy products. It’s estimated that people who follow the standard Western diet get in average 72% of calcium from dairy products.
Other animal-based products high in calcium are fish, such as sardines and salmon. Eating small fish with the bones greatly increases calcium intake.
Furthermore, there are many plant-based foods rich in calcium. Healthy people can get more than enough calcium from plant-based diets. Seeds, nuts, kale, cabbage, broccoli, bok choy, and many other green leafy greens as well as beans are particularly rich in calcium.
However, there are vegetables high in calcium such as spinach, which don’t significantly contribute to calcium intake, due to their high oxalate content. Oxalates are compounds which bind to calcium, preventing its absorption. Hence, we absorb only 5% of calcium from spinach, while we absorb up to 27% of calcium from other calcium-rich vegetables or milk.
Also, whole-grains contribute to calcium intake, although they aren’t particularly rich in calcium.
Health benefits of calcium
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body! It’s estimated that we have between 1,200 to 1,400 grams of calcium! About 98% of calcium in the body is stored in the bones.
Thus, the bones are the body’s reservoir of calcium. Actually, the bone tissue may release calcium in order to maintain healthy serum calcium levels! This process weakens the bones, though.
Calcium plays a key role in bone structure. Bones are constantly remodeled. In fact, calcium is constantly broken down and repositioned. Post-menopausal women are at a high risk of losing their ability to keep up with this process, due to decreased estrogen production. Therefore, high doses of calcium are important for preventing osteoporosis.[3,4]
Vitamin D deficiency is also a common reason of fragile bones and increased risk of osteoporosis. Thus, many people may benefit from taking vitamin D supplements. High doses of vitamin D supplements are also considered safe.
Furthermore, calcium is involved in bodily movement by keeping tissue strong and flexible. Calcium deficiency may have negative effects on normal muscle function.
Additionally, calcium is vital for blood vessel contraction and dilation, blood clotting, nerve transmission, and hormonal secretion.
Calcium binds to fatty acids, reducing fat absorption. Thus, it might lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stroke, and atherosclerosis.
Moreover, calcium might help reduce the risk of certain cancers, such as colon cancer.