Calcium is a chemical element that is essential for living organisms, including humans. It is the most abundant mineral in the body and vital for good health. We need to consume a certain amount of calcium to build and maintain strong bones and healthy communication between the brain and other parts of the body. Calcium is found naturally in many foods.

Fast facts on calcium

•Calcium is vital for bone health.

•Vitamin D helps the body absorb and retain calcium.

•Milk, broccoli, and tofu are just some of the foods rich in calcium.

•Calcium supplements can produce side effects, such as bloating and gas.

•Some dark green vegetables contain high levels of oxalic acid, which can reduce the body's ability to absorb calcium.

How much calcium should I consume each day?

According to the Institute of Medicine (IoM), we should consume calcium daily at the following amounts:

•age 1-3 years: 700 milligrams (mg) per day

•age 4-8 years: 1,000 mg per day

•age 9-18 years: 1,300 mg per day

•age 19-50 years: 1,000 mg per day

•breastfeeding or pregnant teenager: 1,000 mg per day

•breastfeeding or pregnant adult: 1,000 mg per day

•age 51-70 years (male): 1,000 mg per day

•age 51-70 years (female): 1,200 mg per day

•age 71+ years: 1,200 mg per day