The body requires calcium each day. Not only to keep bones strong, but for many other functions vital to life. Calcium makes the heart beat, and controls its rhythm; causes the muscles to contract during body movement; helps blood to clot and wounds to heal; and allows the nerves to send signals to the brain. These latter functions have first claim on calcium in the body. If there is not enough available in the blood, then some of the calcium stored in bones is taken for these vital processes, and the bones become thin and weakened. If this continues long enough, osteoporosis results. Click here to download a Specialty Minerals Information Sheet about Osteoporosis.
U.S. Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) For Calcium
For the United States, the Institute of Medicine of the National Institutes of Health in 1997 issued guidelines on the amount of calcium that should be consumed each day: the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI), also known as the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). The U.S. Recommended Daily Intake for calcium is linked to a person’s age and stage of life.
A child or teen must take in enough calcium to build bones that will last throughout the person’s life. Bone building normally ends when a person is 20 to 25; if bones are not sufficiently strong by then, they never will be. Thereafter, a person needs to ingest enough calcium daily to supply heart, blood, and nerve functions, while also ensuring that viable bone mass is maintained. In women, estrogen plays a role in building and maintaining strong bones, so when she reaches menopause and estrogen levels drop, added calcium is required to make sure bone density remains high. The same is true for men as they reach an advanced age.
Since calcium absorption is also linked to the presence (or absence) of Vitamin D, it is important not only to get enough calcium, but Vitamin D as well.
The health authorities in most other countries have issued the RDI or RDA for its citizens. These tend to be quite similar (though not necessarily identical) to those shown in the above table.
Getting a Day’s Recommended Daily Intake for Calcium
There are many ways to ensure adequate daily calcium consumption:
- Foods inherently high in calcium: Milk and other dairy products are naturally calcium rich. There is also calcium in dark green vegetables such as broccoli and turnip greens, in kelp and other seaweeds, beans, salmon, and sardines that still have their bones.
- Foods fortified with calcium: Many types of foods are available with calcium added, ranging from baked goods, snack and meal bars, breakfast cereals, and soymilks (which have low levels of natural calcium), to milk, ice cream, and dairy yogurts to which extra calcium has been added.
- Calcium supplements: The nutritional supplement industry provides calcium and calcium-containing supplements in many forms: chewable, swallowable and effervescent tablets, soft chews, soft gels, energy, protein and nutrition bars, liquid meal replacements, and powdered beverage mixes.
Specialty Minerals Inc. (SMI) is supporting the fortified food and nutritional supplement industries with over 25 different and highly bioavailable calcium carbonate products that are used to make healthy products that taste excellent. Click here to read more about the kinds of foods and calcium supplements possible with SMI precipitated and ground calcium carbonates.
- Osteoporosis: Anyone Can Be At Risk – Even You! A downloadable information sheet
- SMI minerals in consumer products: See the products you use every day—foods, nutritional supplements, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, toiletries, and other personal-care items—that use Specialty Minerals talcs and calcium carbonates.
- SMI minerals in nutritional supplements
- SMI minerals in food fortification uses
- SMI minerals in beverages – cow’s milk, soy milk, powdered drinks
- SMI minerals in frozen dairy products
- SMI minerals in cereals, baked goods, pastas and other solid foods
- SMI calcium carbonates for food, nutritional supplements, pharmaceuticals and personal care products
- Useful information for formulators: Downloadable information sheets on formulating with calcium carbonate, the effect of particle size and shape on a product, high bioavailability of calcium carbonate, California Proposition 65 lead limits, and calcium carbonate lead levels.