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Do I need more calcium because I am a woman?

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. Due to the drop in estrogen levels in the body, women older than 50 need more calcium than men of the same age. Estrogen helps protect against bone loss.
 
Kat Barefield, MS, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
Women between the age of 51 and 70 years need more calcium than males due to lower estrogen levels after menopause. Lower estrogen levels results in decreased calcium absorption and increased calcium breakdown from bone. Therefore, the recommended daily allowance for this age group is 1,200 mg/day. Women 19 to 50 years old need 1,000 mg/day. Adult women, adolescent girls, and women over 50 years tend to have low calcium intakes from food. You can meet your calcium requirements with a daily supplement of 500 mg of calcium with vitamin D and magnesium.

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Calcium is a nutrient that is important to both women and men, however degenerative bone disease is more common in women than in men because women make less bone than men, lose it at a faster rate, and live longer. All body cells need calcium, but over 99 percent of the calcium in the body is used to strengthen bones and teeth. It’s believed that a long-standing poor calcium intake contributes to osteopenia (early stage), osteoporosis (later stage) degenerative bones diseases reflecting a loss of both bone quality and quantity. This can lead to a decrease in height, and fractures. In addition to the challenge of a fracture, there are often associated concerns including the loss of mobility, loss of ability to self care, and resulting depression. Although osteoporosis is a disease associated with older people, prevention of it starts with adequate nutrient intake during childhood and throughout life. Calcium in the adult diet is important to “protect the bank account.” In other words, allow the bones to keep their calcium, and let the calcium from the diet do the other jobs (blood clotting, muscle contraction, and nerve function, among others). For adults (men and women) aged 19 - 50, the RDA is 1000mg/day. After age 50, the RDA is 1200 mg per day.

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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.