The maximum safe dose of calcium from supplements is between 2,000-3,000 mg a day, depending on the age. There isn’t an upper safe intake of calcium from food.
What does calcium do to the body?
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body!
It’s estimated that we have between 1,200 to 1,400g of calcium! About 98% of calcium in the body is stored in the bone. Thus, the bone is the body’s reservoir of calcium. Actually, bone tissue may release calcium, weakening it, in order to maintain healthy serum calcium levels!
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.[1,2]
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 considered pretty safe as well.
Also, calcium is necessary for strong teeth.
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. It 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.
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 dose of calcium is 2,500 mg for adults.
Teenagers and children over 9 can safely get up to 3,000 mg of calcium a day. Moreover, the upper safe dose of calcium for people older than 51 years is 2,000 mg.
There are no health benefits from exceeding these upper safe doses. In contrast, extremely high doses of calcium may cause adverse effects.
You should take higher amounts of calcium, only if your physical advise you otherwise.
Side effects of exceeding the upper safe dose of calcium
High intakes of calcium from supplements may cause mild side effects, such as gas, bloating, constipation fatigue, or nausea.
Most noteworthy, extremely high calcium intakes 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 daily dosages of calcium 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 dairy!
Last, but not least, calcium may interact with certain medications. On the other hand, several medications might negatively affect calcium levels.
Thus, you shouldn’t exceed the maximum safe dose of calcium. Calcium intakes that do not exceed the upper safe doses are considered pretty safe.
Do I need dietary supplements with calcium?
Actually, calcium deficiency is pretty common. It’s estimated that about 39% of the population consume less calcium than the recommended daily dosages!
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 rich in calcium, they can get enough calcium. A healthy, well-balanced, plant-based diet can provide adequate amounts of calcium.[3,4]
Moreover, people who avoid the consumption of dairy products could benefit from consuming foods fortified with calcium!
In any case, it’s rather easy to fail to meet the recommended daily intake of calcium from diet. Hence, many people could benefit from taking dietary supplements with calcium.
You should always consult your physician before taking any supplement or changing your diet.
Do supplements exceed the maximum daily safe dose?
Doses of calcium in supplements vary widely. In most cases, calcium in multivitamins is up to 300 mg, while calcium supplements contain up to 600 mg. 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 Amazon.
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. Calcium absorption from 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 well-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 exceed the maximum safe dose of calcium from food. We absorb only a small percentage. Moreover, if we consume too many foods high in calcium, the human body fails to absorb it. For instance, calcium absorption from food is only 15% when we consume more than 2,000 mg calcium a day.
The most common dietary sources of calcium are dairy products. People who follow a standard Western diet get about 72% of calcium from dairy products.
Other animal-based products high in calcium are fish, such as sardines and salmon. Eating small fish with bones significantly increases calcium intake.
Furthermore, there are so many plant-based foods rich in calcium. Kale, broccoli, bok choy, and many other green leafy greens as well as beans are particularly rich in calcium.
Moreover, 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. So, we absorb only 5% of calcium from spinach, while we absorb up to 27% of calcium from other calcium-rich vegetables or milk.
Additionally, whole-grains contribute to calcium intake, although they aren’t particularly rich in calcium.