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Calcium: An Essential Mineral for Bones and Teeth
Feb 09, 2022
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and is integral in vascular and muscle function, nerve transmission, cellular signaling and hormonal secretion.1 However, only about 1% of the body’s calcium stores are used for these important functions.1 The remaining 99% of the body’s calcium is stored in bones and teeth to help maintain their structural support and strength1 and to provide reserves to maintain levels in the blood, muscles, and intracellular fluid. In addition to vitamin D, which helps improve calcium absorption2, there are other key nutrients that play a role in overall bone metabolism, including magnesium, vitamin K and phosphorus.† Adequate calcium throughout life, as part of a well-balanced diet, may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.†
DIETARY CALCIUM RECOMMENDATIONS
Until 2010, the Food and Nutrition Board of the of the National Academy of Medicine did not have adequate information for a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for calcium. However, in 2010, new guidance and dietary recommendations were published for calcium and vitamin D. The body of scientific literature for both nutrients was reassessed and RDA values were determined, rather than the Adequate Intake (AI) values, which were previously in place.1
The table below outlines the Recommended Dietary Allowance for calcium:
FOOD SOURCES OF CALCIUM4
It is important to promote the inclusion of calcium-rich foods in the diet to help individuals achieve their recommendations. While calcium in the diet is primarily found in dairy products
and green leafy vegetables, nationally representative data reveals that many Americans are not consuming enough calcium through their diets alone. Specifically, many adolescents and teenagers (ages 9–18), women (ages 51–70), and both men and women (ages 70+) are not meeting their RDA for calcium.3 If you still are unable to meet your calcium recommendation from diet alone, you may want to determine an appropriate supplementation regimen to help you fill the gap from your dietary intake. The recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2020-2025) identified numerous “underconsumed nutrients,” and calcium is included in this list. Calcium is one that is under-consumed to the extent that it may lead to adverse health outcomes and is a “nutrient of public health concern.”
Yogurt, plain, low-fat
Sardines, with bones
1 can (3.75 oz)
Orange juice, fortified
Milk (fat-free, 1% or 2%)
Fortified dairy alternative
Mozzarella cheese, whole milk
ARE YOU AT RISK FOR INADEQUATE CALCIUM INTAKE?
Inadequate calcium intake is prevalent within the entire population. In fact, population data shows that approximately 43% of US adults (19 years and older) do not consume adequate calcium in their diets.5
You may be at particular risk if you:
Are a man or woman who does not consume calcium-rich foods
Are a woman
Are post-menopausal or any man or woman 70+ years old
Are lactose intolerant or avoid dairy products
Follow a calorie restricted diet
Have a malabsorption disorder or had recent weight loss surgery
DOES CALCIUM SUPPLEMENTATION NEGATIVELY IMPACT HEART HEALTH?
Research consistently support that the health benefits outweigh the risks of taking calcium supplements for those with a nutrient gap.6 Current literature does not suggest stopping calcium for those who need it. There is ample evidence to demonstrate that calcium supplementation regimens are safe and have no negative effects on heart health, including:
A systematic review concluded calcium supplements have minimal cardiovascular effects and that vitamin D at moderate to high doses alone or in combination with calcium may reduce cardiovascular risk.7†
Calcium supplementation at 1,200 mg/day did not significantly increase the risk of atherosclerotic vascular disease in elderly women. Further analysis suggests that calcium supplementation may reduce the risk of hospitalization and mortality in patients with preexisting atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.8†
A cross-sectional analysis of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) evaluated the association between calcium intakes and cardiovascular mortality in 18,714 adults with no history of heart disease. The analysis concluded that there was no evidence of an association between dietary calcium intake, supplemental calcium intake, or total calcium intake and cardiovascular mortality in either men or women.9
SHOULD I ADD A DIETARY SUPPLEMENT TO MY DAILY ROUTINE?
It’s important for patients to communicate with their healthcare professionals about any changes to their daily regimen including dietary supplements. Work together to understand personal nutrition needs as well as current dietary patterns to identify nutrient gaps. For those who are still unable to meet their nutrient needs from diet alone, it’s important to discuss the need to fill any potential nutrient gaps with dietary supplements, as a safe and effective way to ensure adequate intake of all essential nutrients
ABOUT Nature Made®
Over the last 50 years, Nature Made has been a trusted leader in the wellness industry. They have helped pioneer quality standards for vitamin, mineral and herbal supplements, and remain dedicated to formulating products backed by science. Committed to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), Nature Made’s quality extends to every aspect of production, from purchasing high-quality raw materials to routine testing for purity and potency. In fact, they were the first national supplement brand to have a product verified by United States Pharmacopeia (USP), and it is the national supplement brand with the most products carrying the USP Verified Mark, verification that products meet stringent quality criteria for purity and potency. Nature Made is also the #1 Pharmacist Recommended Supplement Brand in 9 Categories**
These materials are intended for educational purposes only. *Find those Nature Made USP verified products on NatureMade.com/USP **Based on U.S. News & World Report – Pharmacy Times Survey, 2021 †These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Committee to Review Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin D and Calcium, Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2010.
Fleet JC, Schoch RD. Molecular mechanisms for regulation of intestinal calcium absorption by vitamin D and other factors. Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci. 2010;47(4):181-195.
Bailey RL, et al. Estimation of total usual calcium and vitamin D intakes in the United States. J Nutr. 2010 Apr;140(4):817-22.
S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central, 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/
Reider CA, et al. Inadequacy of Immune Health Nutrients: Intakes in US Adults, the 2005-2016 NHANES. Nutrients. 2020;12(6):1735.
Nordin BEC, et al. The calcium scare—what would Austin Bradford Hill have thought? Osteoporos Int 2011 Dec;22(12):3073- 7.
Wang L, et al. Systematic review: vitamin D and calcium supplementation in prevention of cardiovascular events. Ann Intern Med 2010; 152:315-323.
Lewis JR, et al. Calcium supplementation and the risks of atherosclerotic vascular disease in women: results of a 5-year RCT and a 4.5-year follow-up. J Bone Miner Res 2011;26(1):35-41.
Van Hemelrijck M, et al. Calcium intake and serum concentration in relation to risk of cardiovascular death in NHANES III. PLoS One. 2013;8(4):e61037
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