Around 99% of the total body calcium is stored in the bones and teeth. Remaining 1% is found in the blood, muscle, and cell fluids where it is needed for muscle contraction to make limbs move, heart contraction, blood clotting, secretion of hormones and enzymes; and sending messages through the nervous system.

According to Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) recommends:

  • 600mg of calcium per day for your children aged from 1 to 9 years of age

  • The recommendation increases to 800mg per day for children ageing 10 years and above. It continues to be the same till they are adolescents ( till 17 years of age). Children need more calcium than adults for growing bones

  • A normal adult male and female requires 600mg/day

  • Calcium RDA increases to 1200mg/d for pregnant and lactating mothers to meet the increased needs of the baby in the womb and to compensate for calcium secreted in the breast milk

  1. Milk = 1 cup milk (non fat) 245g = 299mg

  2. Yogurt = 100g = 110mg

  3. Cheese = 100g = 83mg

  4. Soybeans = 100g = 277mg

  5. Tofu = 100 = 350mg

  6. Almonds = 100g = 264mg

  7. Sesame seeds = 100g = 975mg

Some important facts about calcium:

  • Vitamin D is essential for adequate calcium absorption

  • There are some anti-nutritional factors in certain foods which decrease the absorption of calcium. These are oxalates present in green leafy vegetables, horse gram dal, gingelly seeds etc; and phytates present in whole cereals. They bind calcium and make it unavailable for absorption

  • When the dietary intake of calcium is low, the release of calcium from bones increases in order to maintain blood levels. If this process continues for long, bones will ultimately become so weak that they may break