Calcium 101: How Do I Know Which Supplements to Take and How Much?
The average 44-year-old American woman has a calcium intake of 440 mg per day
-- a third of the RDA. Menopausal women need even more daily calcium: 1500
mg, whether or not they take estrogen. It's a challenge to get this from your
diet, especially if you are trying to count calories, control cholesterol, or
are lactose intolerant. Taking calcium supplements is a fine alternative.
The most important reason for most women to take calcium is to protect their
bones. Calcium may also have a role in preventing colon cancer, heart disease,
and even PMS.
Many foods are calcium fortified, like orange juice. Calcium supplements also
come in tasty, multi-flavored chewable forms like Tums. You can even get it
in chocolates -- Viactiv products come with only 20 calories each. Women who
prefer pills have many choices. [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 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: 5/17/2001  - Donnica Moore, M.D.