Calcium is important for bone health, and muscle contraction and plays an important synergistic role with vitamin D3. With certain medications like prednisone, we are at increased risk of lowered calcium. To check out some of calcium’s other functions- check out our deep dive HERE.
How Much Calcium Do You Need?
Did you know calcium needs change throughout our lives? Pregnancy and age increase our demand for calcium which is why needs in the chart are slightly higher.
Just like vitamin D, it is possible to get too much calcium so it’s important to not overdo calcium if supplementing. If you aren’t supplementing calcium, you probably don’t need to worry about overdoing calcium-rich sources in the context of a diverse diet.
|Age||Calcium Recommendations||Upper Limit (do not exceed)|
|0-6 months||200 mg||1000 mg|
|7-12 months||260 mg||1500 mg|
|1-3 years||700 mg||2500 mg|
|4-8 years||1000 mg||3000 mg|
|9-18 years||1300 mg||2500 mg|
|19-50 years||1000 mg||2000 mg|
|51-70 years||1000 mg (male), 1200 mg (female)||2000 mg|
|70 years and older||1200 mg||2000 mg|
|Pregnancy & Lactation (under 18 years old)||1300 mg||3000 mg|
|Pregnancy & Lactation (over 18 years old)||1000 mg||2500 mg|
Calcium – Non-dairy Sources
We typically only hear about dairy products as being calcium-rich. However, there are other sources to find calcium in. Since dairy is often not well tolerated in IBD- it’s great to know that there are other ways you can still get calcium!
Check out the chart below for some calcium-rich foods with serving amounts and doses of calcium in each. Also, one of my favorite foods to include with some calcium is Tahini! Check out more HERE.
|Food Source||Serving Size / Dosing|
|Tofu||500 mg (¾ cup)|
|Fortified Milk Alternative||300 mg (1 cup)|
|Chia Seed||68 mg (1 Tbsp)|
|Salmon or Sardines (canned with bones)||200 mg (2.5oz)|
|Kale||106 mg (1 cup)|
|Collard Greens||88 mg (1 cup)|
|White Beans||85 mg (½ cup)|
|Chia Seeds||68 mg (1 Tbsp)|
|Almond Butter||56 mg (1 Tbsp)|
|Edamame||37 mg (½ cup)|
|Dried Figs||13 mg (1 fig)|
Is it Possible to Get Enough Calcium without Dairy in the Diet?
In the US, milk is marketed as almost the only go-to source of calcium. However, it is possible to get enough calcium in the diet without dairy intake.
Here is an example day: 1500 mg Calcium
- Breakfast: Oatmeal with soy milk (300 mg, 1 cup), almond butter (56 mg, 1 TBSP), chia seeds (68 mg) and berries
- Lunch: Baked Salmon (240 mg, 3 ounces) with rice, white beans (85 mg, 1/2 cup) and green beans
- Dinner: Tofu (670 mg, 1 cup) in stir fry with tolerable vegetables & steamed kale (106 mg, 1 cup)