You’ve probably heard that you need to take a calcium supplement each day – even if you are taking a multi-vitamin. This is because most people don’t get enough calcium in their diets and the multi-vitamins don’t have the recommended daily dosage of calcium in them; even though they do have other nutrients and minerals that we need.
We need calcium to keep our bones and teeth strong, but it is also needed to help our muscles contract properly, to help our blood clot, to help nerves carry messages, to keep our hearts beating properly, and to prevent diseases such as Osteoporosis. Without calcium our bodies are in big trouble!
We get some calcium from the foods we eat. Dairy products, broccoli, rice, salmon, tuna, beans, nuts, seeds, oysters, shrimp, turnip greens, okra, other green vegetables, oranges, figs, and several other foods all contain calcium. But again, most people don’t consume enough of these foods in a single day to get the required amount of calcium that is needed by the body, even if they are taking an additional multi-vitamin.
Most people don’t even know how much calcium they need to meet their body’s requirements. Doctors always tell us to take a calcium supplement – but they almost always fail to say how much calcium is enough, and how much is too much!
First, let’s look at how much is too much, in terms of calcium. Nobody has ever overdosed on calcium, but some people have had health problems that were caused because they were getting too much calcium – the solution was always to cut down on the calcium of course. So far, scientists and doctors agree that up to 2500 milligrams of calcium per day is perfectly safe – but you don’t even need that much.
Most health care professionals agree that if you aren’t drinking three eight ounce glasses of milk per day, you are not getting enough calcium. Babies between the ages of newborn and six months old should have at least 210 milligrams of calcium each day. From seven months to one year, they should have 270 milligrams per day. Children aged one to three years should have 500 milligrams, four to eight years should have 800 milligrams, and nine years to eighteen year olds should have 1300 milligrams.
It is vitally important that children under the age of eighteen get the calcium that they need, because this is when their bones and teeth are developing, and their bodies crave calcium!
Adults between the ages of nineteen and fifty need 1000 milligrams of calcium per day, which adults aged fifty one and over need to increase their calcium intake to 1200 milligrams per day.
If you are taking a supplement to get your daily calcium make sure you are also taking magnesium with it. Magnesium is the transport that brings the calcium to your cells. The ratio of magnesium to calcium should be 2:1. In other words if you are taking 1200mg of calcium you should also be taking 600mg of magnesium for a complete solution.
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