Calcium How Much Is Enough

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - 9:47am

Study finds many people may be taking in too much calcium via supplements.

A lot of us pop calcium supplements because we feel we're not getting enough, but according to a major new study from the Institute of Medicine, we may not need to after all.

There's no question calcium and Vitamin D are essential to keeping bones strong and healthy as we age.

But how much do we need?

Government agencies commissioned the prestigious Institute of Medicine to pour over nearly a thousand studies on calcium and Vitamin D intake and provide new recommendations on how much of the bone-builders we should get.

Dr. Catharine Ross chaired the committee that reviewed the research.

They found most of us are getting good amounts of both Vitamin D and calcium through diet: Milk, cheese, fish, even some vegetables and grains.

For those people a supplement may not be necessary.

"If you're consuming several servings a day of those types of foods, chances are that your calcium intake is already at the recommended dietary level," says Dr. Ross.

Those new recommended levels are: No more than 600 international units of Vitamin D a day for most of us, and no more than 800 for those over age 70.

That's less than some supplements on the market.

Most adults need about 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day; a little more for the elderly, a little less for children.

The experts say you can have too much of a good thing.

The committee found going well above the recommended levels could lead to kidney and heart damage.

The committee also said previous studies that have shown Vitamin D deficiencies in the population may have been flawed because different labs use a variety of cut-off levels for how much Vitamin D is sufficient.

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