The Basics: Overview
Your body needs calcium to build strong bones when you are young and to keep bones strong as you get older. Everyone needs calcium, but it's especially important for women and girls. Many people, including most women, don't get enough calcium.
How much calcium do I need every day?
- If you are age 19 to 50, get 1,000 mg (milligrams) of calcium every day.
- If you are age 51 or older, get 1,200 mg of calcium every day.
- If you are ages 19 to 70, get 1,000 mg of calcium every day.
- If you are age 71 or older, get 1,200 mg of calcium every day.
- Kids ages 9 to 18 need 1,300 mg of calcium every day.
Calcium can help prevent osteoporosis (weak bones).
Osteoporosis (“os-tee-oh-puh-ROH-sis”) is a disease that makes your bones fragile and more likely to break. Some people don’t know they have it until they break a bone.
One in 3 women and 1 in 5 men over the age of 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis. Calcium helps to keep your bones strong and less likely to break.
The Basics: Foods and Vitamins
How can I get enough calcium?
There are 2 easy ways to get your calcium.
1. Eat foods with calcium every day.
Calcium is in foods like:
- Fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk, yogurt, and cheese
- Soymilk with added calcium
- Broccoli and dark green leafy vegetables
- Tofu with added calcium
- Orange juice with added calcium
For more ideas, check out this list of foods that are high in calcium.
2. Take a calcium pill every day.
You can take a multivitamin or a pill that has only calcium. Talk to your doctor before you start taking extra calcium.