Digestive System Home > Lactose Intolerance and Calcium

It's important to get proper nutrition when dealing with lactose intolerance, and calcium is especially needed to prevent osteoporosis (decrease in bone mass). Patients with lactose intolerance can find dairy-free sources of calcium, such as salmon and broccoli. If someone with lactose intolerance feels that he or she is not getting enough calcium, a doctor or dietician can decide whether a calcium supplement is needed.

An Overview of Lactose Intolerance and Calcium

Milk and other dairy products are a major source of nutrients in the American diet. One of the most important of these nutrients is calcium. Calcium is essential for the growth and repair of bones throughout life. In the middle and later years of one's life, a shortage of calcium may lead to thin, fragile bones that break easily -- a condition called osteoporosis.
Getting enough calcium from a diet that includes little or no dairy products can be a concern for both children and adults with lactose intolerance.

How Much Calcium Should A Person Get?

The Institute of Medicine released a report listing the requirements for daily calcium intake. The amount of calcium a person needs to maintain good health varies by age group. Recommendations from the report are shown in the following table:
Age group
Amount of calcium to consume daily, in milligrams (mg)
0–6 months
400 mg
6–12 months
600 mg
1–5 years
800 mg
6–10 years
1,200 mg
11–24 years
1,200–1,500 mg
19–50 years
1,000 mg
51–70+ years
1,500 mg
In addition, pregnant and nursing women need between 1,200 and 1,500 mg of calcium daily.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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