About 99% of the calcium in our body is present in the bones and teeth. The remaining 1% is found in blood and has very important functions.

If we have less calcium in our blood then automatically it will be taken from the bone. It is good one side but also dangerous because in course of time the bone mass density can come down.

Calcium plays an important role in nerve conduction, muscle contraction and blood clotting. Therefore, it is very important to take enough calcium to maintain the amount in blood as well as in bones.

Osteoporosis is the disease which calcium deficiency brings. Here the bone mineral density decreases and the bones become porous. Increased risks of fractures are the result. It affects the women after menopause.

The recommended amount of daily intake of calcium is as follows:

Age Daily intake(mg) Females (mg) Males (mg)

0 to 12 months 250 - 500
1 to 3 years 600
4 to 6 years 700
7 to 9 years 800
10 to 12 years 900 1000
13 to 14 years 900 1000
15 to 18 years 800 900
above 19 years 800 800
Pregnant +400
Breastfeeding +400

The foods rich in calcium include:

Milk and dairy products
Dark green leafy vegetables
Salmon & sardines

The substances which decrease calcium absorption include:

Oxalic acid – spinach, Soya beans and some other vegetables also
Phytates – in some plant foods
Dietary fibre – plant foods
Excess of phosphorous – also need vitamin-D for absorption.
Laxatives – no time for calcium absorption.
Tannins – present in tea, can bind with calcium.
Medicines – long time use of corticosteroids and anticonvulsants

There is an important relationship between calcium, estrogens and vitamin D. For calcium absorption we need vitamin D and/or estrogens. That is why after menopause when the estrogens level drops women may have problem. It is much more complicated as we think.

Is the advertisement in Indian television correct with calcium+D? It is a very good question. In India, calcium+D tablets are not needed. Here we have enough sunlight. So there will be no problem for vitamin D production. This calcium+D are produced for Europe and other countries where there is not enough sunlight. Better buy something where there is only calcium, that also only if it is absolutely necessary Food is the good source for calcium. If you supplement calcium you must know several things thoroughly. Otherwise, you could bad to your health.

Normally a healthy person need not take calcium tablets. If he eats normal food he gets enough calcium. We need the supplementation only in later life, i.e., for the postmenopausal women and aged persons. Consult your doctor or dietician


Postmenopausal woman …..1500 mg
Aged persons, 65+ ….....1500 mg

Do not take more than 500 mg at a time and after 4 to 6 hours only the next dose, since calcium absorption occurs very slowly. The supplement should be taken in between two meals. Otherwise calcium can interfere with the absorption of many essential elements including iron.

Is it so simple to supplement and increase the amount of calcium, thus the bone mineral density? If one reads it sounds so simple but it is very complicated. I have worked more than 20 years with calcium and its problems. I have conversed with thousands of women about their food habits to understand their calcium intake. The conclusions are very interesting that they take more than recommended calcium. But there are more points that they should know.

• If you take too much of calcium from your food and supplementation then the body excretes also much more calcium.
• If you take more sodium, then more calcium is excreted.
• If the urine becomes acidic from too much intake of protein, then also much calcium is eliminated.

If too much of calcium is there, then sodium and potassium have problems and we are often tired. It is better to have a counselling to make it tailor-cut calcium intake for you.