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Calcium Supplements: Do men need them too?




Q. Should men take calcium supplements?


A. Some men may benefit from taking calcium supplements. Calcium is important for men of all ages for optimal bone health. If you don't get enough calcium from dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables or fortified foods, calcium supplements may help you meet your needs. Because calcium supplements can interfere with some prescription medications, talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking them.


Here's the daily Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for healthy adult men, according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM). Note that the upper limit represents the safe boundary — it's not how much you should aim to get. Exceeding the upper limit increases your risk of health problems.


Calcium: RDA for men


Age (years) RDA (milligrams each day) Upper limit (milligrams each day)
19-50 1,000 2,500
51-70 1,000 2,000
71 and older 1,200 2,000

Source: Institute of Medicine, 2010


Don't forget vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium. Some calcium supplements contain vitamin D. Food sources of vitamin D include egg yolks and fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna. You can also get vitamin D through fortified foods and even from sun exposure.


Here's the daily RDA for vitamin D for healthy adult men, according to the IOM.


Vitamin D: RDA for men


Age (years) RDA (international units each day) Upper limit (international units each day)
19-70 600 4,000
71 and older 800 4,000

Source: Institute of Medicine, 2010


Remember, these guidelines are for healthy adult men in general. Talk to your doctor about your situation before taking any supplements.


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