Getting the Right Amount of Calcium

You need different amounts of calcium at different times of your life. The handy chart will give you an idea of what you need now. If you are at high risk for osteoporosis, you may need 1500 milligrams of calcium a day, regardless of the category you fall in.

How Much Is Enough?

Calcium needs are listed in milligrams (mg).

Infants, Children, Young Adults Per Day
Infants (Up to 6 Months) 400 mg
Infants (6-12 Months) 600 mg
Children (1-10 Years) 800-1,200 mg
Adolescents, Teens, Young Adults (11-24 Years) 1,200-1,500 mg
Women Per Day
Adults (25-50 Years) 1,000 mg
Pregnant and Nursing Women 1,200-1,500 mg
Postmenopausal Women on HRT* 1,000 mg
Postmenopausal Women Not on HRT* 1,500 mg
Postmenopausal Women over 65 1,500 mg
Men Per Day
Adults (25-65 Years) 1,000 mg
Adults over 65 1,500 mg

* Hormone Replacement TherapySource: NIH guidelines

These calcium recommendations include calcium from both your diet and supplements. The calcium from supplements is absorbed just as well as the calcium from food. For postmenopausal women, even extra calcium may not be enough to prevent osteoporosis. Usually some type of medication, such as hormone replacement therapy, becomes necessary.