Below are the answers to three key questions about calcium intake.
How Much is Too Much Calcium?
The table below indicates the maximum amount of calcium (from food and supplements) you can consume regularly without causing any risk to your health. Note this is not the recommended intake.
|Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) from all sources||Age Range|
|2500 mg||1-8 years|
|3000 mg||9-18 years|
|2500 mg||19-50 years|
|2000 mg||51+ years|
Source: Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D, 2010
Can I get too much calcium from food?
It would be quite difficult to get too much calcium from food. When people consume more than the UL, it’s generally from supplements. For example, an adult would have to consume approximately 10 cups of milk every day to go above the UL intake! Don’t automatically assume you need a calcium supplement. Check how much calcium you are getting from food first. Experts agree it’s best to aim to meet your calcium needs from food if possible. If you can’t get enough from food, you may need a supplement.
What happens if I consume too much calcium?
If it happens for a short time, nothing would happen. However, consuming more than the UL of calcium for an extended period of time would put you at increased risk for adverse health effects, such as kidney stones.
To find out if you’re on track with your calcium intake, try the Calcium Calculator™ online tool or order the print resource.
by Nicole Spencer, MEd, RD