Dr. Siris shares how much calcium women need per day to protect their bones.
In a post-menopausal woman we advocate that the total intake of calcium needs to be about 1200 mg a day and that does not mean that you’re supposed to take two 600 mg pills everyday. It means that you’re supposed to get a total of 1200 and for many people that can be gotten from the diet. Most foods containing calcium in reasonable amounts are dairy products and we, of course, like low fat dairy products.
A glass of milk is 300 mg, a cup of yogurt is 300 mg, couple of ounces of cheese will give around 300 mg, you need to look at what you routinely take, and of course orange juices and cereals often have calcium added. Think about what you’re getting on a daily basis, add it up and if you’re short of that 1200 maybe take a tablet to get you there and remember you get about 300 mg of calcium from everything in your diet that isn’t dairy. So you can factor that in as well.
If you’re not getting much dairy you may need to take calcium in pill form once or twice a day. Never take more than 500 or 600 mg at a time if it’s in a pill. Take enough but you don’t have to go overboard, it doesn’t help.
About Dr. Ethel Siris, M.D.:
Dr. Ethel S. Siris is the Director at the Toni Stabile Osteoporosis Center, Columbia University, is the Madeline C. Stabile Professor of Medicine at Columbia University, and is the immediate past-President for the National Osteoporosis Foundation. She is board certified in endocrinology and internal medicine, focusing on osteoporosis, metabolic bone disease, and bone and mineral metabolism.