Can female athletes have low calcium levels?

The recommended intake of calcium for women is:

  • 9-18 years: 1,300 mg
  • 19-50 years: 1,000 mg
  • 50+ years: 1,200 mg       

Most women can get enough calcium, vitamin D and other essential vitamins and minerals from their diet. Some foods, like grains and cereals, are fortified with extra vitamins and minerals. But if your doctor tells you that you have shortages of any one vitamin or mineral, he or she will also give you tips on what foods to eat and how to supplement properly.

Some female athletes could develop low calcium levels for the same reason that menopausal women do: low levels of the hormone estrogen in their bodies. Female athletes have been linked to a trio of problems (called the "female athlete triad") that could cause low calcium levels. This trio includes changes in diet patterns, not having a period, and osteoporosis. Because of this possibility, very physically active women may need to supplement with calcium and should to see their doctor for any of these problems. Low calcium levels might lead to inflammation of gum tissue and further oral health problems.

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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.