Dear Dr. Liesmaki; How much calcium do I need?
This is a good question that has recently created some controversy. Many doctors used to recommend daily supplemental calcium for all patients. In more recent years, however, some research has shown that calcium in excess can be potentially harmful for your heart and can put you at risk for cardiac complications. Given this research, the best recommendation is to aim for a daily calcium intake of about 800 milligrams.
You will first need to calculate the amount of calcium you take in through your diet and then supplement to reach the 800-milligram goal. Dietary calcium is better absorbed than calcium in supplements, so maximizing your calcium through food sources is recommended. It is also important to have adequate daily vitamin D intake (about 1,000 IU daily), as this helps with calcium absorption.
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