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Non Dairy Sources of Calcium

Non-dairy sources of calcium are sought by individuals who are commonly lactose intolerant. non-dairy-sources-of-calcium | ArticleAccording to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), on its National Digestive Disease Clearinghouse webpage:

“Lactose intolerance is the inability or insufficient ability to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and milk products. Lactose intolerance is caused by a deficiency of the enzyme lactase, which is produced by the cells lining the small intestine. Lactase breaks down lactose into two simpler forms of sugar called glucose and galactose, which are then absorbed into the bloodstream.

People sometimes confuse lactose intolerance with cow milk allergy. Milk allergy is a reaction by the body’s immune system to one or more milk proteins and can be life threatening when just a small amount of milk or milk product is consumed. Milk allergy most commonly appears in the first year of life, while lactose intolerance occurs more often in adulthood.

Researchers have identified a possible genetic link to primary lactase deficiency. Some people inherit a gene from their parents that makes it likely they will develop primary lactase deficiency.

Secondary lactase deficiency results from injury to the small intestine that occurs with severe diarrheal illness, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, or chemotherapy. This type of lactase deficiency can occur at any age but is more common in infancy.

Examples of natural non dairy sources of calcium include:
Rhubarb, frozen, cooked, 1 cup 348 mg
Sardines, with bone, 3 oz. 325 mg
Spinach, frozen, cooked, 1 cup 291 mg
Salmon, canned, with bone, 3 oz. 181 mg
Soy milk, unfortified, 1 cup 61 mg
Orange, 1 medium 52 mg
Broccoli, raw, 1 cup 41 mg
Pinto beans, cooked, 1/2 cup 40 mg
Lettuce greens, 1 cup 20 mg
Tuna, white, canned, 3 oz. 12 mg”

Fortified foods offer other non-dairy sources of calcium.  Many fortified options, that are also dairy-free, are beverage or drink mixes.  Many also feature added vitamins, minerals, or fiber. New fortified food choices are becoming more available.  Examples include cereals, energy snacks or bars, and pasta.  In many cases, calcium carbonate is used as the forticant.  Calcium carbonate may not be as absorbable as other types of calcium under certain conditions and can cause gas.

 WebMD, in its Dairy-free quiz notes that:

“[M]any foods are fortified with calcium, so they offer as much calcium as milk. One cup of 1% low-fat milk has 290 milligrams of calcium. Regular orange juice, soymilk, and rice milk contain some natural amounts of calcium, but not nearly as much as found in milk..For instance, a cup of regular soymilk has only 93 milligrams of calcium, while fortified soymilk provides 368 milligrams. Be sure to shake fortified drinks vigorously. Calcium is a mineral that can settle to the bottom of containers" 

non-dairy-sources-of-calcium | ArticleOf course, a calcium supplement also can be a convenient option. Most are made from non-dairy sources of calcium.  AdvaCAL calcium supplements are non-dairy, well absorbed and  have been clinically shown to increase bone density. They now contain 1000 IU or more of vitamin D3 per daily dose.  AdvaCAL use starting in early life, can help reduce the risk of bone loss.  While nutritionists commonly recommend getting calcium from foods, it may be difficult for those pursuing a dairy-free lifestyle. A calcium supplement --- especially an effective one -- can be a "smart" necessity for those choosing non-dairy sources of calcium.