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Calcium profile, daily requirement, deficiency and more

Calcium - profile, daily requirement, food & more

Want to find out more about calcium? Then you've come to the right place. In this article, I will explain everything you need to know about the bulk element calcium. From a clear profile, to its type, physiological importance, daily requirement, overdose and deficiency, through to foods and food supplements. Finally, there is special information for vegans and vegetarians.

Here is in advance a short Overview for you:

  1. Profile
  2. Recording
  3. Daily requirement
  4. Meaning
  5. Overdose
  6. Mangel
  7. Foods
  8. Vegan
  9. Food supplement

Notice: This article is not a substitute for medical advice, but merely provides general information about calcium. Please consult your doctor if you feel unwell or want to prevent health problems with medical care.


Assignment: Quantity element
Synonyms: Calcium, abbreviation in the periodic table Ca
Important for: Mineralization of bones and teeth, blood clotting, muscle contraction
Daily requirement: 600-1000 milligrams a day from the age of 19.1,2
Overdose: Upper Limit 2,500 milligrams per day3
Deficiency symptoms: e.g. muscle cramps, tingling in arms and hands, diarrhea
Food: Sesame seeds, (calcium-rich) mineral water, almonds, kale
Food supplement: mostly not necessary, if necessary as powder, tablets or capsules

HOW CAN I ADMIT calcium optimally?

Particularly important in calcium intake is Vitamin D. The sun vitamin ensures that calcium can be absorbed in the intestine. The higher your vitamin D intake, the more calcium absorption increases.4 Thus, with regard to calcium absorption, vitamin D supplementation may be useful.

In addition to the vitamin D intake, the absorption of the nutrient also depends on the food itself and the amount of calcium per meal. For example, absorption decreases if a meal contains a lot of calcium.5 It can therefore be helpful to drink calcium-rich mineral water, as this will help you to absorb calcium throughout the day.

Just like Iron or Zinc optimize organic acids also the absorption of calcium. Corresponding acids can be, for example, citric acid from raspberries, peppers or citrus fruits or lactic acid from (soy) yogurt, sauerkraut or sourdough bread.

Phytic and oxalic acid inhibit calcium absorption, but this is no reason to remove foods containing phytic or oxalic acid from your diet. Instead, it makes sense to break down the two acids with the right preparation methods. Phytic acid can be broken down primarily by soaking, sprouting, heating or fermenting. Oxalic acid is water-soluble, so you can cook spinach in water, for example, and then drain off the water. However, you should not reuse it as it contains the dissolved oxalic acid.


Pasta with calcium green cabbage

The reference values for the daily calcium requirement have a range of approximately 600 to 1,000 mg per day. The reason for this is the fluctuating absorption rates. While the German Nutrition Society (DGE) rather generously recommends 1,000 mg per day for adults1, a study by Hunt & Johnson came up with 741 mg per day.6 The recommendation of is even somewhat lower at 600 mg per day.2 According to the DGE, the calcium requirement for pregnant and breastfeeding women remains the same.1 The following table shows the recommended by the DGE Calcium requirements for children and adolescents to the overview:

Children and teenagersmg/day
1 to under 4 years600
4 to under 7 years750
7 to under 10 years900
10 to under 13 years1100
13 to under 19 years1200
DGE reference values for the daily calcium requirement of children and adolescents in milligrams

What functions does calcium support in the body?

Calcium is known above all for its influence on the Bone Health known. However, it is very important to know that it alone has only a limited effect on bone health and that there are many other nutrients that are valuable for bone and tooth health. Some examples are magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, selenium, copper, manganese, boron, silicon, vitamins B12, B9, B6, C, D and K, as well as some phytochemicals.7 In addition, calcium supports the body in other functions such as the Blood clotting, Muscle contraction or also at the Stabilization of cell membranes.

The Calcium functions short and to the point:

  • Mineralization of bones and teeth
  • Blood clotting
  • Muscle contraction
  • Stabilization of cell membranes

Is intoxication with calcium possible?

As already mentioned in the fact sheet, the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for calcium is 2,500 mg per day.3 It is rather unlikely that you would absorb such quantities of the nutrient through your diet. For example, you would have to eat a kilogram of almonds or one and a half kilograms of rocket for this. Even if you were to exceed the limit from time to time, it wouldn't be the end of the world. It is simply important that you do not exceed the UL for a longer period of time.

When supplementing calcium, I recommend using a food supplement that contains a maximum of 500 mg per daily dose. This ensures that the toxic range is not reached.

As you can see in the article about Iron as you may have already read, you should be careful not to combine high doses of calcium with meals that contain too much iron.

When does a deficiency occur?

Calcium deficiency tends to occur primarily when the supply of Vitamin D is too low. Other potential causes are Excessive coffee and alcohol consumptionas this increases the excretion of calcium via the urine. Another factor is a general Malnutrition, i.e. a qualitatively and quantitatively insufficient food intake.8

What are the best sources of calcium?

Calcium is often associated with dairy products. Meat, fish and eggs tend to contain rather little calcium, so the daily requirement is mainly covered by plant-based foods in addition to dairy products. Particularly calcium-rich foods are:

  • Sesame seeds (783 mg per 100 gram)
  • Almonds (252 mg per 100 gram)
  • Hazelnuts (225 mg per 100 gram)
  • Kale (212 mg per 100 gram)
  • Arugula (160 mg per 100 gram)
  • Spinach (cooked, 140 mg per 100 gram)
  • Broccoli (cooked, 87 mg per 100 gram)


Calcium is classified by the DGE as a potentially critical nutrient for vegans and vegetarians.9 However, if you make sure to regularly include calcium-rich foods in your diet, combine them with organic acids and pay attention to your vitamin D intake, you should be taking in perfectly adequate amounts of calcium.

For people who do not eat dairy products, special Plant drinks supplemented with calcium can be a good option. The nutrient is usually added naturally by a calcium-containing red algae. You can usually recognize these plant drinks by labels such as "with calcium" or "+ calcium".

Are dietary supplements with calcium useful?

Actually should be a Calcium supplementation at a balanced dietas already mentioned, will not be necessary. Since Vitamin D plays a major role in calcium absorption, it makes sense either to supplement with vitamin D alone or, if you want to be on the safe side, to use a combined preparation containing vitamin D and calcium.

Such a Multi-preparationwhich combines vitamin D, calcium and a number of other nutrients that are particularly relevant for nutrition, you get here*.

Cover the daily calcium requirement

Calcium is probably the mineral most associated with bone health and dairy products. However, bone health is actually influenced by many other nutrients. The actual effect of the nutrient is therefore less than generally claimed.

As you have learned today, there are also many good plant-based sources of calcium, so that vegans can also cover their calcium requirements. A valuable practical tip is to combine calcium-containing foods with organic acids, as this not only promotes calcium absorption, but also iron and zinc absorption.

Do you have any questions or suggestions about this article on calcium? Then please leave me a comment.

All the best,

Julian from CareElite

PS.: You want to know, why you should live vegan or how you can Strengthen health or avoid nutrition-related diseases can. In the linked articles you will find all the information you need to know.

1 Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung e. V.: Calcium,, [21.05.2021].

2 calcium,, [21.05.2021].

3 European Food Safety Authority: Scientific Opinion on the Tolerable Upper Intake Level of Calcium,, [21.05.2021].

4 Center for Health: Taking Calcium the Right Way,, [05/21/2021].

5 R. P. Heaney, C. M. Weaver, M. L. Fitzsimmons: Influence of calcium load on absorption fraction,, [05/21/2021].

6 C. D. Hunt, L. K. Johnson: Calcium requirements: new estimations for men and women by cross-sectional statistical analyses of calcium balance data from metabolic studies,, [21.05.2021].

7 N. Rittenau (2018): Goodbye vegan cliché! Scientific answers to critical questions about vegan nutrition, VENTIL-Verlag.

8 G. A. Goldmayer: Calcium deficiency: causes, signs, therapy,, [May 22, 2021].

9 Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung e. V.: Supplement to the position of the German Nutrition Society regarding population groups with special nutritional needs,, [22.05.2021].

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* Links with asterisks are so-called Affiliate linksIf you click on it and buy something, you automatically and actively support my work with, as I receive a small share of the proceeds - and of course nothing changes in the product price. Many thanks for your support and best regards, Christoph!

Julian Hölzer

Julian Hölzer

Hi, my name is Julian and I am a trained vegan nutritionist. In 2016 I started to get involved with veganism and quickly learned how big an impact our diet has on the environment and how diverse plant-based diets can be. That's why I want to inspire you to get involved with veganism too.

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