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How much calcium do older adults need for good bone health?

Eric Olsen
Fitness
Dietary calcium is an important part of good bone health. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day for men and women under age 50, and 1,200 milligrams for those 50 and over.
Lifefit: An Effective Exercise Program for Optimal Health and a Longer Life

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Lifefit: An Effective Exercise Program for Optimal Health and a Longer Life

An easy-to-follow programme for lengthening and improving lives. More than an exercise guide, this text is an effective tool for making meaningful lifestyle decisions to benefit long-term fitness. In...
Calcium, the most abundant mineral in the body, plays a vital role in keeping you healthy. Not only is calcium important for preventing osteoporosis or thinning of the bones, it’s also necessary for heart health, normal blood pressure, strong teeth and other functions. But calcium must be replenished daily through dietary measures or supplementation or your body will be deficient. While the calcium recommendation for adults is approximately 1,000-1,200 milligrams per day (higher for pregnant and lactating women, postmenopausal women, and elderly men and women), the average adult gets only two-thirds to three-fourths of that amount. For example, extreme dieting can result in loss of bone density if you aren’t ingesting adequate calcium. A low calcium intake during adolescence also affects bone density, as can certain medications and other risk factors. But getting adequate calcium through foods or supplements is something you can do each day to keep your bones strong and be active your entire life.

The calcium needs of adults become greater as they age. This is due, in part, to the fact that older adults are more prone to developing osteoporosis, which is a condition caused by weakened bones. Experts recommend that most people over age 50 get about 1200 mg of calcium daily. To meet your calcium needs, eat a balanced diet that includes low- and non-fat dairy products and green leafy vegetables. Other good sources of calcium include salmon, corn tortillas, and almonds. Check nutrition labels to find out how much calcium is in certain food products.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.