Formal Names:

Calcium carbonate

Supplement forms:

Pills, food, liquid

Recommended daily allowance (in mg):



200 - 260



700 - 1,300






1,000 - 1,200


Pregnant Women

1,000 - 1,300


Lactating Women

1,000 - 1,300


What is...?

Normally, calcium is about 2% of body weight and 99% of that calcium is found in bones and teeth. The remainder of the calcium in the body is utilized by muscles, nerves, and blood. Calcium needs to be taken in conjunction with other nutrients, especially vitamin D, in order to be absorbed properly by the body. Other nutrients which assist in calcium absorption include phosphorus and magnesium, as well as vitamins B12, C, and K.

Bodily functions

Bones and teeth are the body’s biggest repositories of calcium. Since bones are constantly renewing at different times in life, calcium is particularly critical during those periods. The bones also store a reserve of calcium until needed by muscles, tissues, or blood. This calcium aids in the contraction of muscles, especially the heart muscles. The human nervous system needs calcium to aid in messaging between different parts of the body, while blood movement and clotting are improved by proper calcium levels. Calcium also helps to release enzymes and hormones which are critical for body function.

Deficiency Symptoms

Long-term calcium deficiency symptoms include the following: Bone fractures, rickets, insomnia, high blood pressure, hypoparathyroidism, PMS, obesity, high cholesterol, and/or muscular weakness.


Milk, cheese, yogurt, broccoli, kale, collard greens, spinach, beans, soybeans, salmon, sardines (with bones), almonds, sesame seeds, oatmeal, hummus, dried figs, rhubarb, and tofu.

Side effects

There are not many side effects to the use of calcium in recommended dosages, but large dosages of calcium should be avoided. Inconclusive research studies suggest that overdosing on calcium can cause heart attacks. Calcium does have a moderate interaction with some drugs. Taking calcium while in certain conditions, such as pregnancy, breast-feeding, or hypothyroidism, should be under the advisement of a physician.

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