What is the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of calcium?

Adults, age 19 to 50 years old need 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily. Women older than 50 and men aged 70 and beyond, should increase their daily intake to 1,200 milligrams.

Milk, yogurt, and cheese are the major sources of calcium in the American diet. Each serving from the dairy group will provide approximately 300 milligrams of calcium. (Choose only nonfat and low-fat milk and yogurt and reduced-fat or skim milk cheeses to reduce the amount of saturated fat in these foods.) Although three servings of dairy foods will just about meet many adults’ daily needs, Americans consume only about 11⁄2 servings of dairy daily, on average.
Paula Greer
Midwifery Nursing

Adult women need at least 1000 mg of calcium a day. This amount goes up to a minimum of 1200 mg a day when you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Young girls and women on Depo-Provera should also increase their daily intake of calcium to prevent bone loss. Each of us has individual factors like lifestyle, diet and exercise which affect our calcium requirements. Discuss supplementation if you feel it is needed with your health care provider.

Michael T. Murray, ND
Naturopathic Medicine
The current RDA for calcium is 1,000 milligrams for adults. However, there has been considerable concern that this recommendation may be inadequate to maintain the integrity of the bone. This is especially true during the periods of growth, pregnancy, and lactation. Preadolescent children may need even more calcium than adults. The recommendation for this group is 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day. During pregnancy and lactation, the recommendation is also 1,200 milligrams per day.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of calcium is as follows:

For Infants:
  • 0 - 0.5 year 400 mg
  • 0.5 - 1 year 600 mg
For Children:
  • 1 - 3 years 800 mg
  • 4 - 6 years 800 mg
  • 7 - 10 years 800 mg
For Young Adults & Adults:
  • Males 11 - 24 years 1,200 mg
  • Males 25 years 800 mg
  • Females 11 - 24 years 1,200 mg
  • Females 24 years 800 mg
  • Pregnant 1,200 mg
  • Lactating 1,200 mg
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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.