We have patients ask us nearly every day what sort of calcium supplement to take since they can longer eat dairy products due to an allergy. The short answer is: a supplement is probably not required. You can likely get enough calcium from other, non- dairy foods, without taking a supplement to cover your daily recommended intake of this essential nutrient.
Calcium is used by the body for many processes, but bone formation and structural integrity are generally the most well-known. Deficiencies in calcium can result in various disorders such as tooth decay and osteoporosis. Getting a steady supply of dietary calcium helps to prevent these and other health issues. Different amounts of calcium are required at various stages of life for men and women. For adults between the ages of 19 and 50 the recommended calcium intake is 1,000 mg per day.
It is important to understand that calcium is present in a wide variety of foods, not just dairy products. If you can not eat dairy products or don’t like certain foods, you are likely still getting the calcium you need from other, unsuspecting calcium-rich sources.
In order to get the calcium you need, as well as many other important nutrients, it is important to have a varied diet. As long as your diet includes a wide variety of foods, supplements should not be necessary. So enjoy your calcium, even if you can’t enjoy your dairy.
Dr. Stephen Wangen is the award winning author of two books on solving digestive disorders, and a nationally recognized speaker on IBS. He has been on ABC, NBC, and Fox as well as public radio. He was recently named one of Seattle’s Top Doctors by Seattle Magazine.