Daily Calcium Requirement Male


Most healthy men don’t need to take calcium supplements.

Calcium is important for men for optimal bone health, but in general it’s best to get calcium from foods. Dairy products have calcium and so do dark green leafy vegetables. Certain processed foods and drinks, such as orange juice, are fortified with calcium.

Here’s the daily Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for calcium for healthy adult men. Note that the upper limit represents the highest amount you can safely take — but it’s not how much you should aim to get. Taking more than the upper limit increases your risk of adverse effects.

Calcium: Daily RDA for men
Age (years) RDA (milligrams) Upper limit (milligrams)
Sources: 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans; Institute of Medicine (The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine)
19-50 1,000 2,500
51-70 1,000 2,000
71 and older 1,200 2,000

Don’t forget vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium. Foods rich in vitamin D include fatty fish, such as salmon, trout, and tuna. Other food sources are mushrooms and eggs. Milk, some cereals, orange juice, and other foods and drinks are fortified with vitamin D. You can also get vitamin D from sun exposure.

Remember, these guidelines are for healthy adult men in general. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about not getting enough calcium.


Why do I need calcium?

Calcium is a mineral that the body needs to build strong bones and teeth. Calcium allows blood to clot normally, muscles and nerves to function properly, and the heart to beat normally. Most of the calcium in your body is found inside your bones.

What if I do not consume enough calcium?

If you do not consume enough calcium, your body begins to take calcium from your bones, decreasing your bone mass and putting you at risk for osteoporosis. Inadequate calcium intake may also increase your risk for high blood pressure.

How much calcium should I consume?

The following guidelines will help ensure that you are consuming enough calcium:

1.) Try to meet these recommended amounts of calcium each day (Recommended Dietary Allowances):


Age Male Female Pregnant Lactating
0-6 months* 200 mg 200 mg
7-12 months* 260 mg 260 mg
1-3 years 700 mg 700 mg
4-8 years 1,000 mg 1,000 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
51-70 years 1,000 mg 1,200 mg
71+ years 1,200 mg 1,200 mg


* adequate intake

2.) Eating and drinking two to four servings of dairy products and calcium-rich foods a day will help ensure that you are getting enough calcium in your daily diet. Please refer to the table (below) for examples of food sources of calcium.

3.) The best sources of calcium are dairy products, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and calcium-fortified beverages such as almond and soy milk. Calcium is also found in dark-green leafy vegetables, dried peas and beans, fish with bones, and calcium-fortified juices and cereals.

4.) Vitamin D will help your body use calcium. Some of your daily vitamin D can be obtained through regular exposure to the sun. Vitamin D is also found in fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and swordfish. Beef liver, cheese, mushrooms, and egg yolks also provide small amounts. Most milk is fortified with vitamin D; however, foods made from milk, like cheese and ice cream, are usually not fortified. Vitamin D is added to many breakfast cereals and to some brands of orange juice, yogurt, margarine, and milk alternatives; check the labels.

Reading food labels:

The amount of calcium in a product is listed as the percent of daily needs based on 1000 milligrams (mg) of calcium per day. To calculate the milligrams of calcium, just add a zero to the percent of calcium on the label. For example, if 1 cup of milk contains 30% of calcium needs, then it contains 300 milligrams of calcium .


How can I get enough calcium if I am lactose-intolerant?

Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest lactose, the sugar found in milk. It causes cramping, gas, or diarrhea when dairy products are consumed. Lactose intolerance occurs because of the body’s lack of lactase, an enzyme needed to digest lactose.

Here are some suggestions to help you meet your calcium needs if you are lactose-intolerant:

  1. Try consuming lactose -free milk such as Lactaid®, or calcium-fortified soy, almond, or rice milk.
  2. You may be able to tolerate certain dairy products that contain less milk sugar, such as yogurt and cheese. Try lactose-free or low lactose cheese or cottage cheese or lactose-free yogurt.
  3. Talk to your dietitian about other lactose-reduced products.
  4. Eat non-dairy foods that are good sources of calcium, such as broccoli, dried peas and beans, kale, collard, dark green leafy vegetables, canned salmon with soft bones, sardines, calcium-enriched fruit juice, blackstrap molasses, almonds, and tofu processed with calcium.

Should I take a calcium supplement?

If you are having trouble consuming enough calcium-rich foods in your daily meal plan, talk to your physician and dietitian for suggestions.

The amount of calcium you will need from a supplement depends on how much calcium you are eating from food. Calcium supplements and some antacids containing calcium may help you meet your calcium needs. Many multi- vitamin supplements contain a limited amount of calcium. Protein powders contain variable amounts of calcium.

Factors that optimize calcium absorption:

  • Limit calcium supplements to 600 mg elemental calcium maximum at a time. Review the Nutrition Facts label, and review the serving size and amount of calcium that is provided for that serving size.
    • One calcium carbonate supplement typically provides 500-600 mg elemental calcium.
    • One calcium citrate supplement typically provides 200-300 mg elemental calcium.
  • Calcium carbonate is best absorbed when taken with food.
  • Calcium citrate is best absorbed with or without food.
  • Avoid taking calcium and iron supplements at the same time.

How much calcium do you need per day?

The average adult needs 1,000 mg of calcium per day. The amount increases to 1,200 mg per day for women over the age of 50 and men over the age of 71.

“It’s best for your calcium intake to come from your diet, which is very achievable since it’s a mineral found in many foods,” says Dr. Brown. “Those who follow a healthy diet are likely getting an optimal amount of calcium.”

There’s some disagreement, however, surrounding recommendations. Some experts say that 1,200 mg is higher than what the body actually needs. While a few studies have shown that increased calcium intake helps maintain optimal calcium balance and prevent fractures in postmenopausal women, several others fail to show a clear connection to fracture prevention and increased bone density.

“Regardless of whether 1,000 or 1,200 mg per day might be too high, meeting either requirement via your diet is usually still achievable,” Dr. Brown says. “Just be sure you’re eating a few servings of calcium-rich foods every day.”

And if you’re unsure whether you’re getting enough calcium, consult with your doctor.

“Your physician can help you understand whether there are any dietary changes you may need to make, tests that may be needed to check for osteoporosis and if calcium supplementation is recommended,” Dr. Brown adds.

Plus, it’s not just calcium that you need to promote proper bone health. You need vitamin D, too.

“Vitamin D helps your body effectively absorb calcium,” says Dr. Brown. “If you’re vitamin D deficient, you may not be adequately absorbing enough of the calcium you’re consuming — even if you’re getting plenty of it. Sometimes optimizing your calcium balance is as simple as correcting a vitamin D deficiency, which is fairly common.”


 How Much Calcium Is Too Much?

We’ve likely all heard that “milk builds strong bones” — with calcium being the star ingredient.

It’s one of bone’s major components so it makes sense that getting plenty of calcium is important to keep them strong and healthy. Plus, it plays other important roles, such as supporting muscle movement, blood clotting and the release of hormones.

And having too little calcium? The consequences are considerable.

“Calcium deficiency can, over time, lead to weak and brittle bones, which is called osteoporosis,” says Dr. Donald Brown, primary care practitioner at Houston Methodist. “It’s characterized by reduced bone density, increased bone loss and a higher risk of hip, wrist and spine fractures. Many people don’t get enough calcium, actually. But the good news is that this can often be corrected with dietary changes, especially in those younger people who might be lacking.”

Hence, the famous “Got Milk” ad campaigns featuring milk mustaches on celebrities like Jonathan Taylor Thomas, the Olsen twins and Brett Favre. They drink milk! And we should, too.

But what about getting too much calcium? It’s an especially relevant question for people who struggle to get enough calcium in their diet and wonder whether they should take supplements. Can calcium supplements ever do more harm than good?

What’s the best calcium supplement for osteoporosis?

Some people may have a hard time getting sufficient calcium via their diet, while others may already have bone loss that puts them at higher risk of osteoporosis.

“This is when a person might consider taking a calcium supplement, but it’s important to consult your doctor about this first,” says Dr. Brown.

You’ll need help to determine the type of calcium supplement that’s best for you, as well as the correct dose and timing of supplementation.

“Calcium carbonate is the less expensive option, but it must be taken with a low-iron meal,” says Dr. Brown. “Additionally, some medications prevent absorption of this type of calcium, so it’s important to review your medications with your doctor beforehand.”

Calcium citrate is the other calcium supplement option. Its benefit is that you can take it on an empty stomach. But be wary of any calcium citrate supplements containing more than 500 mg of calcium per dose.

“Your body has trouble absorbing more than 500 mg of calcium at a time. Any extra calcium will likely just be passed through your system into your urine,” adds Dr. Brown.

Lastly, there’s an upper limit to calcium consumption — what you’re consuming via your diet and any supplement you’re taking.

“Adults shouldn’t consume more than 2,000 mg of calcium per day,” cautions Dr. Brown. “Exceeding this limit can result in side effects and even complications.”

Do calcium supplements have side effects?

One of the main reasons to get the majority of your calcium through your diet, rather than a supplement, are the side effects that can accompany taking a calcium supplement, including:

  • Gas, bloating and constipation
  • Indigestion

“There’s also the potential for adverse effects,” warns Dr. Brown. “For instance, calcium supplements may lead to kidney stones since they cause more calcium to be eliminated via the urine. Additionally, these supplements might increase a person’s risk of heart disease and prostate cancer, although the evidence is mixed and more research is needed.”

Importantly, the side effects and complications seen with prolonged use of calcium supplements aren’t seen when calcium is consumed through diet.

Before trying a supplement, make sure you’re eating calcium rich foods and exercising

Rather than relying on a supplement, Dr. Brown recommends first trying to optimize your calcium intake naturally.

“You can help ensure you’re getting enough calcium by consuming between two and four servings of calcium-rich foods per day,” says Dr. Brown.

Calcium-rich foods include:

  • Low-fat dairy: yogurt (plain or Greek), milk (low-fat, skim or whole) and certain cheeses (part-skim ricotta, part-skim mozzarella and cheddar)
  • Green leafy vegetables: collard greens, kale, bok choy and broccoli
  • Seafood with soft bones that you can eat: sardines and canned salmon
  • Calcium-fortified foods: soy products (tofu) and milk substitutes (almond milk and soy milk), as well as certain orange juices and cereal

“In addition to eating a calcium-rich diet, exercise is a great way to build and maintain strong bones,” says Dr. Brown. “And it’s never too late to add exercise into your routine to help slow bone loss.”

Walking, jogging, running and using an elliptical machine help maintain bone density in your legs, hips and lower spine. Strength training, which includes body weight exercises, helps maintain the bones in your upper body, including your arms and upper spine.

“There generally aren’t any obvious short-term symptoms of calcium deficiency, so if you’re at all worried about your calcium levels — either due to your diet or having a history of a sedentary lifestyle — start by consulting your doctor,” says Dr. Brown. “Calcium supplements might be needed to support dietary and exercise changes, but this isn’t always the case.”

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