A- A+

RDA FOR Calcium

RDA for calcium is a matter of age. Recommended daily allowance, also known as % Daily Value of % DV is 1000 mg of calcium for adults under 50 and 1200 mg for those over 50.   RDA-For-Calcium | Review Article

In its Fact Sheet, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) provides the following RDA for calcium:

“Intake recommendations for calcium and other nutrients are provided in the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) developed by the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (formerly National Academy of Sciences). DRI is the general term for a set of reference values used for planning and assessing the nutrient intakes of healthy people. These values, which vary by age and gender, include:

  • Recommended Dietary Allowance [such as RDA for calcium] average daily level of intake sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97%-98%) healthy individuals.
  • Adequate Intake (AI): established when evidence is insufficient to develop an RDA and is set at a level assumed to ensure nutritional adequacy.
  • Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL): maximum daily intake unlikely to cause adverse health effects.

The FNB established AIs for the amounts of calcium required to maintain adequate rates of calcium retention and bone health in healthy people.

Adequate Intakes (AIs) for Calcium

Age Male Female Pregnant Lactating
Birth to 6 Months 210 mg 210 mg    
7-12 months 270 mg 270 mg    
1-3 years 500 mg 500 mg    
4-8 years 800 mg 800 mg    
9-13 years 1,300 mg 1,300 mg    
14-18 years 1,300 mg 1,300 mg 1,300 mg 1,300 mg
19-50 years 1,000 mg 1,000 mg 1,000 mg 1,000 mg
50+ years       1,200 mg 1,200 mg    

There are basically two means to achieve your RDA for calcium: foods and/or supplements.  While dairy is a rich source of calcium, it is frowned upon in some circles. In his book Dr. McDougall’s Digestive Tune Up, the author noted:

“A 1998 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine looked at sixty-five severely constipated children averaging only one bowel movement every three to fifteen days. . .forty-four of the sixty-five (68%) found relief of their constipation by removing cow's milk from their diet. Related problems…were all resolved with the elimination of cow's milk. When cow's milk was reintroduced into their diet eight to twelve months later, all of the children redeveloped constipation within five to ten days."

A list of rich dairy free calcium sources includes greens, nuts and certain fish.  Nowadays, a variety of juices and snacks also can help you meet your RDA for calcium.  WebMD, in its Dairy-free quiz explains that:

“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"

RDA-for-Calcium | Review ArticleThose who don’t eat enough calcium should consider calcium supplements. There are hundreds of brands.  Some types of calcium, such as AAACa calcium in AdvaCAL, have impressive clinical data in osteoporotic or osteopenic women.  Either way, there is no good excuse for not getting your RDA for calcium everyday.