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Looking at the U.S. Government’s Guidelines on Calcium

The U.S. Government has provided guidelines on calcium intake — Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) — based on age group (and gender, for those in the 51-70 age group). Because your body doesn’t make minerals such as calcium, you need to eat foods rich in calcium for optimal health.

As with other nutrients that you consume, expert panels of scientists determine the acceptable level of calcium intake for optimal health. The expert panel comes up with recommendations depending on your age and gender, as well as whether you’re pregnant or nursing. You can read the Food and Nutrition Board's full report.

The table shows the calcium recommendations for children; girls and women; and boys and men. You can easily fulfill these recommendations by taking one calcium tablet twice daily as an adult and eating a portion of any of the foods listed among the best sources of calcium.

Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) and Upper Safe Intake Levels (UL) for Calcium
Age RDA: Milligrams of Calcium Daily UL: Milligrams of Calcium Daily
Up to 6 months 200* 1,000
7 to 12 months 260* 1,500
1 to 3 years 700 2,500
4 to 8 years 1000 2,500
9 to 18 years 1,300 3,000
19 to 50 years 1,000 2,500
51 to 70 years:
Women
Men

1,200
1,000

2,000
2,000
Older than 70 years 1,200 2,000

* An adequate intake (AI) value was set instead of an RDA.

Men get osteoporosis and suffer hip fractures just like women. By age 80, about 25 percent of men will have had a hip fracture. Eat your calcium and vitamin D-rich foods, men!

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