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Calcium has several important functions.

These include:

  • helping build strong bones and teeth
  • regulating muscle contractions, including your heartbeat
  • making sure blood clots normally

A lack of calcium could lead to a condition called rickets in children, and osteomalacia or osteoporosis in later life.

Sources of calcium

Sources of calcium include:

  • milk, cheese and other dairy foods
  • green leafy vegetables – such as curly kale, okra and spinach
  • soya drinks with added calcium
  • bread and anything made with fortified flour
  • fish where you eat the bones – such as sardines and pilchards

How much calcium do I need?

Adults aged 19 to 64 need 700mg of calcium a day.

You should be able to get all the calcium you need from your daily diet.

What happens if I take too much calcium?

Taking high doses of calcium (more than 1,500mg a day) could lead to stomach pain and diarrhoea.

What does the Department of Health and Social Care advise?

You should be able to get all the calcium you need by eating a varied and balanced diet.

If you take calcium supplements, do not take too much as this could be harmful.

Taking 1,500mg or less a day is unlikely to cause any harm.

Page last reviewed: 3 August 2020
Next review due: 3 August 2023