Are you Tracking your Calcium? Try a Calculator
Many of us are trying to get most, if not all, our calcium from diet, but sometimes this can be hard to do and calculate. If you aren’t getting enough of your daily requirement from food, then you’ll have to supplement with calcium. If you are eating dairy products with this information on the package, that’s great, but what about the things we eat that doesn’t provide this information? I rarely take supplemental calcium, because I usually get enough from my diet, according to the amount my doctor recommends. If you just can’t reach your goal with food alone, then add oral calcium supplements.
Another thing to keep in mind is some medications can’t be taken with calcium or they also interfere with the absorption of the calcium.
Here’s a list of medications that can cause this absorption problem - calcium stealers.
Lately, there have been quite a few studies warning us about calcium and arterial plaque, heart disease and stroke. Many of us are worried about the amount of calcium we take, and questioning the recommendations given by the Institute of Medicine, the National Osteoporosis Foundation and the National Institute of Health. Some of us may have pre-existing medical conditions that limit our calcium intake, or we may have trouble absorbing the calcium too. If this sounds like you, calculating your calcium is very important.
If you need to regularly calculate your calcium, D and magnesium too, a calculator can help. Let’s start with the calculators where you can plug in the information and have it total the amount for you.
With this calculator from CalciumInfo.com above, you choose the food Category and then click on each Food Name you eat and how often - in the Frequency column. At the bottom enter your age, by clicking the +10 and +1 to add up to your age. Be sure to go through all the differing categories, since each one display’s different types of food in that group. In the Frequency column, choose between: multiple possibilities, like several times a month, several times a week or a day. With this app you can determine a daily average for calcium.
Once you input your age and enter all the food categories, let the application total all your foods, by clicking the Enter button, and you’ll get a daily or target total and possible suggestions on how much supplemental calcium you need to add, based on the 1,200 milligrams a day requirement, suggested by various health institutions for your recommended daily intake (RDI).
If you find that some of the things you eat, are not included, then add those up by hand to the total the app gives you.
To look up nutrient food totals without using a calculator, go to NutritionData.com and enter the item. You need to register, at this site, but it’s free and well worth it when you see the amount of data and information they provide on this topic and many others like diet and nutrition help. Here’s a page I like that list items high in calcium, magnesium and potassium. On this page you can chose any item you want and it gives information on protein content, carbohydrates, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and calories.
Remember that it’s best to take only 500 milligrams of calcium per serving, since our body will not absorb more than that at one meal. Total each meal, keeping it under or at 500 mgs, to reach the RDI total at the end of the day.
Good luck with your calcium, D, magnesium and other bone nutrient intakes, and try these two calculators to help simplify this arduous task. Any thing that can help us deal with bone loss is a big plus! If you have a calculator or app, that you really like, tell us about it and post the link or location for downloading apps to cell phones.
Pam wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Osteoporosis.