Are You Getting Enough Calcium?

Most people, especially women, assume they have a calcium deficiency or need more calcium. It’s essential for strong bones and teeth, and it feels like every single breakfast food is fortified with it. That’s because we so desperately need it, right? Surprisingly, most of us are already getting enough of this important mineral.

Our current calcium-sufficiency is a result of a large push by the dairy industry years ago to promote milk products as good for bone health, and the FDA fortifying drinks like orange juice and cereal to boost levels. Doctors also started liberally recommending supplements, to women in particular, to help prevent osteoporosis. While these things have decreased the risk of low calcium, they’ve increased the risk of some potential health concerns associated with over-supplementing, Zhaoping Li, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine and chief of the division of clinical nutrition at UCLA, tells SELF. “Calcium supplementation is being associated with calcifications of coronary arteries, meaning it may cause increased risk of heart disease,” Li says. “So yes, we’re doing a much better job dealing with calcium intake issues, but that also comes with the concern that we actually may have overdone it.”

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