Calcium 101: How Do I Know Which Supplements to take and how much?
The average 44 yr. old American woman has a calcium intake of 440 mg per day,
only one third of the recommended daily allowance (RDA). Menopausal women need
even more daily calcium: 1500 mg, whether or not they take estrogen replacement
therapy as well. Its a challenge to get this from your diet, especially if
you are trying to count calories, control cholesterol, do the Atkins diet, or
are lactose intolerant. Taking calcium supplements is a fine alternative.
Many foods are calcium fortified, like orange juice. Calcium supplements also
come in tasty, multi-flavored chewable forms like Tums. The latest product
is the Viactiv line of chocolates and caramels with only 20 calories each.
Women who prefer pills have many choices. Just be sure to check the labels
for elemental calcium content-not just the total. If taking generics, be sure
that the product dissolves by soaking it in a half cup of vinegar and water.
If it doesn't in 30 minutes, try a different brand. Multivitamins don't generally
have much calcium; read the label. If you take iron and calcium, take
them at different times. If you get constipated, take your calcium in divided
doses with a full glass of water.
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Created: 10/25/2001  - Donnica Moore, M.D.
Reviewed: 6/30/2003  - Donnica Moore, M.D.