How Much Calcium Do You Really Need?

Various types of dairy products

Calcium is essential for maintaining a healthy body. Not only does it help build strong bones and teeth, but it’s also vital for proper muscle and nerve functioning. It even helps blood clot!

What’s the right amount? Your daily calcium needs vary depending on life stage:

  • Infants from birth to 1 year: 400-600 mg
  • Children ages 1-10: 800 mg
  • Preteens and teenagers: 1,200 – 1,500 mg
  • Adults: 1,200 mg
  • Pregnant women: 1,500 – 2,000 mg
  • Lactating women: 1,200 – 1,500 mg
  • Seniors: 1,500 mg

What to find it? Dairy products, like milk, cheese, and yogurt are the best food sources of calcium. However, there are also many non-daily foods high in calcium. Those include sardines, dark leafy greens (kale, turnips, and collard greens), soybeans, and tofu. You can also look for foods fortified with calcium like orange juice, cereal, and soymilk.

How to best absorb it: Vitamin D is key because it helps the body adsorb calcium. In fact, the body cannot absorb any calcium without having some vitamin D present. The top sources of vitamin D are sunlight, and certain like eggs, butter, fatty fish, and most foods fortified with calcium.