The benefits of calcium extend beyond strong bones. Heart, muscles, and nerves also need calcium to function properly. Some studies even suggest that calcium, together with Vitamin D, protect the body against high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer.
How Much Calcium Do I Need?
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of calcium for men up to age seventy is 1000 mg per day. For women, 1000 mg is recommended until the age of fifty.
For men 71 and older, and women 51 and older, calcium requirements rise to 1200 mg per day.
What is the Best Source of Calcium?
The best dietary sources of calcium are dairy products and dark leafy greens. But calcium alone is not enough; in order to metabolize calcium, the body needs Vitamin D. Vitamin D is found in egg yolks, canned salmon that contains bones, and from sun exposure. However, Vitamin D deficiency is becoming more common as awareness grows about the dangers of excessive sun exposure and of the cholesterol in egg yolks. Ask your healthcare provider to check if Vitamin D supplementation is appropriate.
Am I at Risk for Calcium Deficiency?
Depending on your diet, you may have trouble getting enough calcium in your diet. Ask about calcium supplements if you:
- Have a high protein or high sodium diet. Both protein and sodium can prevent your body from absorbing calcium.
- Are a vegan. A vegan diet excludes many high-calcium foods.
- Are lactose intolerant or have some other reason to limit your consumption of dairy products.
Some medications and health conditions also affect calcium. You may require calcium supplements if you:
- Have osteoporosis
- Have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), celiac disease, or any gastrointestinal disorder that causes malabsorption of calcium
- Take corticosteroids on a long-term basis
You Can Get Too Much of a Good Thing!
If you do need calcium supplements, be careful to take the right amount. Too much calcium is associated with heart disease, and with prostate cancer in men. It’s best to stick to the recommended daily allowance (RDA), noted above.
At Hamilton Grove Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, in Hamilton, NJ, our care programs are designed specifically to meet the unique needs and interests of seniors and long-term care patients. We emphasize restorative care, maximizing each patient’s potential to regain and maintain function and mobility. Part of our success is due to the care we take with our residents’ nutrition. Our world-class culinary team offers a tempting variety of meal selections that are produced under the supervision of a registered dietitian. The result: well-balanced, health-conscious meals that are sure to please even the most discerning palate. And, of course, special dietary needs are gladly accommodated.
Or better yet, come see for yourself: Contact us to schedule a tour by calling 609-588-5800 or by clicking here.