Frank R. LaBarbera, M.D., F.A.C.O.G.

Obstetrics and Gynecology                                                914 686-1600




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Dietary Calcium and Osteoporosis

Adequate calcium intake is important at all ages, not just after menopause, to reduce your risk of osteoporosis and fractures.  Your bones continue to grow until around age 35.    After that time the bone mass gradually decreases.  The decrease can become more rapid after menopause.  Adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D along with regular weight bearing exercise is important in maintaining good bone health.  Your goal should be about 1500 milligrams per day.

Dietary sources are generally the best.  Dairy products are high in easily absorbable calcium (but watch the fat and cholesterol.)  Calcium from fruits and vegetables, although an important part of your diet, is generally not as well absorbed. 

If your diet does not provide you with enough calcium there are numerous supplement products available.  Choose carefully as calcium absorption can vary greatly from product to product and may have no relationship to cost.   If you need to take more than one per day, spread out the dosing to increase absorption.  Remember the best way to avoid fractures is to avoid falls.  A simple evaluation of your home to eliminate hazards is the most effective way to stay safe. 

Food Serving Calcium Food Serving Calcium
Low fat yogurt 1 cup 400 mg Dried figs 10 200 mg
Low fat milk 1 cup 300 Collard greens 1 cup 300
Soft serve ice milk 1/2 cup 275 Soybeans 1 cup 100
Vanilla ice cream 1/2 cup 100 Bok choy 1 cup 150
Swiss cheese 1 ounce 250 Almonds 1 ounce 75
Low fat cottage cheese 1/2 cup 75 Pizza 1 slice 150
Tofu 1 cup 200 Burrito 1 200
Sardines with bones 3 ounces 375 Egg 1 25
Salmon 3 ounces 150 Whole wheat bread 1 slice 25
Oysters 6 200 Raisins 1/2 cup 25


Frank R. LaBarbera. M.D.     914 686-1600

Copyright 2002 Frank R. LaBarbera, M.D., F.A.C.O.G.  All rights reserved.
Revised: April 1, 2004