This is a reader-friendly overview of Calcium mineral. For more details, see our health professional fact sheet on Calcium .

What is calcium and what does it do?

Calcium supplement is a mineral your body needs to build and maintain strong bones and to carry out many important functions. Calcium is the most abundant nutrient in the body.

Almost all calcium in the body is stored in bones and teeth, giving them structure and hardness.

Your body requirements calcium for muscles to move and for nerves to carry messages between your brain and every part associated with the body. Calcium supplements also helps blood vessels move blood throughout your body and helps release hormones that affect many features in your body. Vitamin D assists your body absorb calcium mineral.

How much calcium supplement do I need?

The amount of calcium supplements you need each day depends on your age and sex. Average daily recommended amounts are listed below in milligrams (mg):

Life Stage Recommended Amount
Birth to 6 months 200 mg
Infants 7–12 months 260 magnesium
Children 1–3 years 700 mg
Children 4–8 years 1, 000 mg
Kids 9–13 many years 1, 300 mg
Teens 14–18 yrs 1, three hundred mg
Adults 19–50 years 1, 500 mg
Adult men 51–70 many years 1, 000 mg
Adult women 51–70 years 1, 200 mg
Adults 71 years and older one, 200 magnesium
Pregnant plus breastfeeding teens 1, 300 mg
Pregnant and breastfeeding adults 1, 000 mg


What foods provide calcium?

Calcium is found in numerous foods. You can get recommended amounts of calcium by eating a variety of foods, including the particular following:

  • Milk, yogurt, and cheese are the main food sources of calcium for most people in the United States.
  • Canned sardines and salmon with bone fragments contain calcium mineral.
  • Certain vegetables, such as kale, broccoli, and Chinese cabbage (bok choi) also contain calcium supplement.
  • Calcium is added to some beverages, including many fruit juices and milk substitutes such because soy plus almond beverages, as well as a few brands of tofu and ready-to-eat cereals. To find out whether these foods have calcium added, check the product labels .
  • Most grains (such as breads, pastas, and unfortified cereals) do not have high levels of calcium supplements. However , because people eat them often, what they contribute adds up.

What kinds of calcium dietary supplements are available?

Calcium will be found within many multivitamin-mineral supplements , in calcium mineral supplements , and in supplements that contain calcium supplement and other nutrients such as vitamin D. Check the Supplement Facts label to determine the amount of calcium in the supplement.

The two main forms of calcium in dietary supplements are calcium supplements carbonate plus calcium citrate. Calcium carbonate is absorbed best when taken with food. Some over-the-counter antacids, like Tums and Rolaids, also contain calcium carbonate.

Calcium citrate is well absorbed on an empty stomach or a full stomach. People along with low levels of belly acid—a condition most common in older people—absorb calcium citrate more easily than calcium carbonate.

Other forms of calcium mineral in health supplements and fortified foods include calcium sulfate, calcium ascorbate, calcium microcrystalline hydroxyapatite, calcium supplement gluconate, calcium supplements lactate, and calcium phosphate.

Calcium is usually absorbed best when you take 500 magnesium or less at one time. If you get 1, 500 mg/day of calcium from supplements, with regard to example, it is better to take a smaller dose twice a day than to take it all at once.

Calcium supplements might cause gas, bloating, and constipation in several people. In case you have any of these symptoms , try spreading away the calcium dose all through the day, taking the supplement with meals, or switching the form associated with calcium you take.

Am I getting enough calcium mineral?

Many people in the United States get less compared to recommended amounts of calcium supplement from food and supplements, especially:

  • Children and teenagers aged 4 to 18 years
  • People who are Black or Asian
  • Adults aged 50 years plus older living in poverty

Certain groups of people are a lot more likely than others to have trouble finding enough calcium supplements, including:

  • Postmenopausal women. The body absorbs and retains much less calcium after menopause . Over time, this can lead to fragile bones.
  • People who don’t drink milk or even eat other dairy products. Dairy products are rich sources of calcium, but people with lactose intolerance, people with milk allergies, and vegans (people who don’t consume any animal products) must find other sources of calcium mineral. Options consist of lactose-free or reduced-lactose dairy products; canned fish with our bones; certain veggies, such as kale, spargelkohl, and Chinese language cabbage; calcium-fortified fruit juices plus milk alternatives for example soy and almond beverages, tofu, and ready-to-eat cereals; and dietary supplements that contain calcium supplement.

What happens if I don’t get enough calcium supplements?

Getting too little calcium can cause several conditions, including the following:

  • Osteoporosis , which causes weak, fragile bone tissues and increases the risk of falling
  • Rickets , a disease in children that causes soft, poor bones
  • Osteomalacia , which in turn causes soft bones within children and adults

What are some effects of calcium mineral on health?

Scientists are usually studying calcium supplement to understand how it affects health. Here are several examples associated with what this research has shown:

Bone health in older adults
After about age 30, bones slowly lose calcium supplements. In middle age, bone loss speeds up and can lead in order to weak, delicate bones (osteoporosis) and broken bones ( fractures ). Although bone tissue loss is more typical in women, it can affect men too.

The health of your bones is measured with a bone fragments mineral density test, which will tell whether your bones are healthy plus strong, or even weak and thin. A few studies possess found that will calcium supplements with or without vitamin D increase bone vitamin density within older grown ups, but others do not. In addition, it is not clear whether calcium products help prevent fractures. More research is needed to better understand regardless of whether consuming more calcium through food or supplements improves bone wellness in old adults.

Several research shows that people that have high intakes associated with calcium from food plus supplements have got a lower risk of cancers of the colon and rectum, but other studies do not. Some research have demonstrated that males with higher intakes associated with calcium through dairy food items have an increased danger of prostate cancer . For some other types of cancer, calcium does not really appear to impact the risk of getting cancer or even dying associated with cancer. More studies required to much better understand whether or not calcium from foods or dietary supplements affects cancer risk.

Heart disease
Calcium mineral can attach to fats and reduce the amount of fat that your entire body absorbs. Some studies show that supplements have got no effect on heart disease, while others show calcium supplements might even increase the risk of heart illness. Overall, experts believe that calcium mineral intakes along with or without having calciferol through foods or even supplements carry out not affect the risk associated with heart condition or of dying from heart disease. (See the section called Can calcium supplement be harmful? )

Preeclampsia is definitely a serious complication of late pregnancy. Symptoms include high blood pressure and large levels associated with protein inside the urine . Calcium supplements might reduce the risk of preeclampsia in some pregnant ladies who eat too little calcium supplements. Therefore , several experts recommend supplements during pregnancy for women with low calcium intakes.

Weight management
Research hasn’t clearly proven whether calcium from milk products or dietary supplements helps a person lose weight or prevents weight gain. A few studies show that consuming more calcium mineral helps, yet other studies usually do not. For more information, read our own fact sheet on dietary supplements for weight loss .

Metabolic syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is really a serious medical condition that raises your risk of heart problems, stroke , and diabetes . You have metabolic syndrome if you have three or more from the following:

Some research suggests that the higher intake of calcium supplement might help lower the particular risk associated with metabolic symptoms in females but not guys. More studies are needed.

Can calcium be harmful?

Several research suggests that high calcium content might boost the risk of heart disease and prostate cancer.

High levels of calcium supplements within the blood and pee can cause poor muscle tone, poor kidney function, lower phosphate amounts, constipation, nausea , bodyweight loss, extreme tiredness, frequent need to urinate, abnormal heart rhythms , plus a high risk associated with death through heart disease. However, high ranges of calcium in the blood and urine are usually caused by a health condition such as higher amounts of parathyroid hormone or even cancer, not by high calcium intakes.

The every day upper limits for calcium mineral include content from all sources—food, drinks, and supplements—and are outlined below.

Life Stage Upper Limit
Birth in order to 6 weeks 1, 000 mg
Babies 7–12 a few months 1, 500 mg
Kids 1–8 yrs 2, five hundred mg
Children 9–18 years 3, 500 mg
Grown ups 19–50 many years 2, 500 mg
Grownups 51 yrs and older 2, 000 mg
Expecting and breastfeeding a baby teens 3, 000 mg
Pregnant plus breastfeeding adults 2, five hundred mg


Does calcium supplement interact with medications or additional health supplements?

Calcium supplement dietary supplements may interact or interfere with certain medicines, and some medicines can lower calcium levels in your own body. Here are some examples:

  • Dolutegravir (Dovato, Tivicay) is a medicine to treat HIV. Taking calcium supplements at the particular same period as dolutegravir can reduce blood amounts of the medicine. In order to help avoid this interaction, take dolutegravir 2 hours before or even 6 hrs after taking supplements.
  • Levothyroxine (Synthroid, Levoxyl, and others) is really a thyroid hormone used to treat hypothyroidism plus thyroid malignancy. Levothyroxine is not absorbed nicely when taken within 4 hours of taking a calcium carbonate supplement.
  • Lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid) is utilized to treat bipolar disorder . Long-term use of lithium, or getting lithium together with calcium health supplements, can lead to abnormally high ranges of calcium supplements in your blood.
  • Quinolone antibiotics (examples are ciprofloxacin [Cipro], gemifloxacin [Factive], and moxifloxacin [Avelox]) are not assimilated well whenever taken within 2 hours of taking a calcium supplement.

Tell your own doctor, pharmacist , plus other healthcare providers regarding any health supplements and prescription or over-the-counter medicines a person take. They can tell you if the dietary supplements may interact with your medications or if the medicines might hinder how your body absorbs, uses, or breaks down nutrients like calcium.

Calcium supplements and healthful eating

People should obtain most associated with their nutrition from food and beverages, according in order to the federal government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans . Foods consist of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber , and other components that benefit health. In some cases, fortified meals and health supplements are useful when it is not possible to meet needs for one or more nutrients (for example, during specific life stages such while pregnancy). With regard to more info about building a healthy dietary pattern, see the particular Dietary Guidelines regarding Americans external link disclaimer plus the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate external link disclaimer .

Where can We find out more about calcium?

  • Regarding general details on calcium mineral:
  • For more information on meals sources of calcium:
  • To get more advice on buying dietary products:
  • Intended for information about building a healthful dietary design:


This truth sheet by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) provides information that should not get the place associated with medical advice. We encourage a person to talk to your healthcare providers (doctor, registered dietitian, pharmacologist, etc. ) about your interest in, questions about, or make use of dietary supplements and exactly what may be best for your overall health. Any mention in this publication of a specific product or service, or recommendation from an organization or professional society, does not represent a good endorsement by ODS of that product, service, or expert advice.

Updated: October 6, 2022 History of changes to this reality sheet

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