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Top 10 Tips - Boosting Calcium Absorption

Aging, Kids and Parenting, Diets, General Nutrition, Musculoskeletal - Arthritis, Joint, Bone and Muscles, Pregnancy, Womens Health, Healthy Eating, Infants, Breastfeeding / Lactation
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1.    Calcium is required in the body to perform several important functions including neuromuscular contractions and relaxations, secretion of hormones and enzymes. It is also responsible for the normal development and maintenance of the skeleton.

2.    Milk and its products contain the highly absorbable calcium in the highest concentration. Therefore, one must consume 2-3 serves of dairy calcium per day as recommended by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). These levels increase during pregnancy, lactation, aging and teenage years.

3.    One serve of calcium =

  • 250 ml of low fat milk
  • 2 slices of cheese 
  • 200g of yoghurt

4.    Dark green leafy vegetables (broccoli, spinach), legumes, fish with edible bones (sardines and tin salmon), fortified soy beverages, almonds, sesame seeds, egg yolk and some breakfast cereals are other good sources of calcium. Although, efficiency of calcium absorption through these foods is low as compared to milk. 

5.    NHMRC Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) for calcium is as follows:

·      For infants (0-12 months) : 210-270 mg/day

·      For children (1-8 yrs) : 500-700 mg/day

·      Boys and girls (9-11 yrs) : 1000 mg/day

·      Boys and girls (12-18 yrs) : 1300 mg/day

·      Men (19-70 yrs) and Women (19-50 yrs) : 1000 mg/day

·      Men (> 70 yrs) and Women (> 50 yrs) : 1300 mg/day

·      Pregnancy and Lactation (14-18 yrs) : 1300 mg/day

·      Pregnancy and Lactation (19-50 yrs) : 1000 mg/day

6.    Insufficient dietary calcium or hormonal imbalance leads to low blood calcium levels, which in turn leads to leaching of calcium from bones. This makes the bones soft and susceptible to fractures because of low bone density, leading to a condition known as Osteoporosis. Low blood calcium levels may cause sensations of tingling, numbness, muscle twitches, or muscle spasms. 

7.    To keep the bone health at its best, Vitamin D is as important as calcium because it increases the absorption and utilisation of dietary calcium.

8.    Cigarette smoking, excessive intakes of laxatives, alcohol, sodium and diuretics like tea, coffee, leads to low calcium absorption, increased urinary excretion and thus results in low bone density. Therefore, their consumption should be limited to avoid implications of osteoporosis.

9.    Calcium supplementation is widely used to reduce bone resorption in osteoporosis, for building bone mineral density, fracture prevention, in conditions like hypertension, premenstrual syndrome, osteomalacia / rickets, type 2 diabetes, weight loss and many other medical conditions.

10.During and post menopause, there is a decline in intestinal calcium absorption and increased urinary excretion disturbing the calcium balance. Therefore, calcium supplementation and a diet rich in calcium is recommended to minimize or prevent the onset of osteoporosis. Also it has been proposed that herbs with estrogenic properties may increase supplemental calcium absorption in post menopausal women.


Are you pregnant or breastfeeding, peri or post menopause or simply not getting enough calcium or Vit D in your diet?  Have a nutritionist or dietitian conduct a dietary and lifestyle analysis to ensure you are encouraging good bone health. Find a dietitian or nutritionist near you. 

Top 10 Tips - Boosting Calcium Absorption