best calcium sources vegan
Medically reviewed by Sara Osman,RD,PT


Calcium is the most abundant mineral in our bodies and it makes up 1.9% of the body by weight. [1,2]

The body gets calcium in two ways, either by eating calcium-rich foods or supplements or by drawing calcium from the body or bones specifically. [4]

The borrowed calcium from bones is usually replaced at a later stages when the nutrient levels go up, but it might not happen always. [4]

Calcium salts provides rigidity to the skeleton whereas calcium ions help in the metabolic process. [2]

Different hormones work with the kidney to control the calcium reserves in the body as well as excretion. [4]

In case of calcium deficiency, the body will remove calcium from the bones. [4]

  • Ingested calcium is mixed with digestive juice calcium to be absorbed in the proximal small intestine. [2]
    Net absorption percentage increases with intakes and peaks at 35% at an intake of 400 mg and then falls off as intake increases further. [2]
  • Net calcium absorption declines with ageing. It could be as high as 60% in infants and young children but decrease to 15-20% in adulthood and so forth. [1]
  • However, certain anti-nutrients like oxalates and phytates can bind to calcium and decrease its bioavailability. [3,4]
  • Almost 99% of the calcium is stored in the bones and teeth. [1,3]
  • The remaining 1% is used by the body for nerve transmission, muscular function, intracellular signalling and other such important functions. [1]
  • Bone mineral serves as the ultimate reservoir for the calcium circulating in the extracellular fluid.[2]
  • When calcium levels drop in the blood, certain hormones signal the bone to release more calcium in the bloodstream, activate vitamin D to improve absorption of calcium in the intestines and reduce calcium excretion in urine. [4]
  • Some of the absorbed calcium is excreted from the body in urine, faeces and sweat. [1]
  • The average calcium losses in excretion are estimated to be around 240 mg/day. [7]

Body Functions

Recommended Daily Intake

how much calcium is recommended daily

Deficiency Symptoms

Calcium Food Sources

foods high in calcium

Excessive Intake/ Toxicity Side Effects

Groups At Risk of Calcium Deficiency

Calcium Interaction With Other Nutrients

  • Vitamin D Vitamin D intake improves calcium absorption. [1]
  • Iron and ZincHigh calcium intake can possibly interfere with the absorption of iron and zinc. High calcium phosphate intake (1,360 mg/day) may decrease zinc absorption. [1,3]
  • Sodium – High sodium intake increases urinary calcium excretion as it is believed that sodium competes with calcium for reabsorption in renal tubules. [1,2]
  • ProteinHigh protein intake, especially animal protein and certain grains (acid ash protein) may increase urinary calcium excretion
    and is therefore thought to negatively affect calcium status. [1,2,3,6]
    One study found that 0.85 mg of calcium was lost for each gram of protein in the diet. [2]
  • Magnesium Magnesium deficiency may be a result of high calcium intake. [3] Calcium intakes in excess of 2600 mg/day have shown to decrease magnesium absorption.[3]
  • Oxalic and Phytic acid – Foods rich in oxalic or phytic acid may inhibit calcium absorption. [3]

Nutrient Profiles For Food Groups

Fruits ( i )

Raw or frozen – 22.66 mg
Canned – 18.62 mg
Dried 19.4 mg
Juice – 19.5 mg

Legumes ( i )

Flour – 196.71 mg
Dry – 164.53 mg
Raw- 89.93 mg
Canned – 40.96 mg
Cooked – 47.56 mg

Nuts & Seeds ( i )

Nuts – 74.86 mg
Seeds – 136.48 mg

Veggies ( i )

Dried – 82.16 mg
Raw or frozen – 54.50 mg
Cooked – 59.96 mg
Canned – 52.55 mg

Cereal grains & Flour ( i )

Flour – 39.50 mg
Raw grains – 32.72 mg
Cooked – 11.67 mg

Oils ( i )

Cooking oils – 0.37 mg
Other edible oils – 0.28 mg


Medically reviewed by Sara Osman,RD,PT

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