Should men take calcium supplements?

Answer From Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.

Most healthy men don't need to take calcium supplements.

Calcium is important for men for optimal bone health, but in general it's best to get calcium from foods. Dairy products have calcium and so do dark green leafy vegetables. Certain processed foods and drinks, such as orange juice, are fortified with calcium.

Here's the daily Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for calcium for healthy adult men. Note that the upper limit represents the highest amount you can safely take — but it's not how much you should aim to get. Taking more than the upper limit increases your risk of adverse effects.

Calcium: Daily RDA for men
Age (years) RDA (milligrams) Upper limit (milligrams)
Sources: 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans; Institute of Medicine (The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine)
19-50 1,000 2,500
51-70 1,000 2,000
71 and older 1,200 2,000

Don't forget vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium. Foods rich in vitamin D include fatty fish, such as salmon, trout, and tuna. Other food sources are mushrooms and eggs. Milk, some cereals, orange juice, and other foods and drinks are fortified with vitamin D. You can also get vitamin D from sun exposure.

Remember, these guidelines are for healthy adult men in general. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about not getting enough calcium.

Sept. 11, 2020 See more Expert Answers

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