Sources of Calcium

I have been worried about Bella’s Calcium intake for some time, and Mum brought it up on the phone this morning. She can’t have cow’s milk, and won’t drink Soy milk, rarely eats Soy products (such as soy yogurt and custard). She is incredibly thin, seems to eat well, but has nowhere near the calcium intake of Milo, who eats Cheese and yogurt and drinks soy and cow’s milk like they are going our of style!!

Bella often suffers from achy legs at night. I also suffered from similar leg pains as a growing child, and in fact still do from time. I now interpret these pains as the body stripping the Calcium from my leg bones for other uses… this is most likely Kylie rubbish :)). I thought I’d better do some research to understand how to modify Bella’s diet to get the calcium from the food she eats.

After reviewing the calcium content of various “alternate foods”, I’ve realised that it is near impossible to get Bella to eat enough Calcium rich food to reach the recommended daily intakes:

0-6 months 210 mg
7-12 months 270 mg
1-3 years 500 mg
4-8 years 800 mg
9-18 years 1,300 mg
19-50 years 1,000 mg
51-70+ years 1,200 mg

Reference: Havard Uni Health Services

  • Babies – 0 to 6 months (breastfed) recommended dietary intake (RDI) 300mg
  • Babies – 0 to 6 months (formula-fed) RDI 500mg
  • Babies – 7 to 12 months RDI 550mg
  • Children – 1 to 3 years RDI 700mg
  • Children – 4 to 7 years RDI 800mg
  • Children – 8 to 11 years (girls) RDI 900mg, (boys) RDI 800mg
  • Children and teenagers – 12 to 15 years (girls) RDI 1000mg, (boys) RDI 1200mg
  • Teenagers – 16 to 18 years (girls) RDI 800mg, (boys) RDI 1000mg.

Reference: Victorian Government Better Health website

On to the supplements.

We have tried a number of supplements to date. Bella is very resistant to chewing tablets -and if you’ve ever chewed a calcium tablet you would understand why… its like eating chalk!!!

Then I found a Children’s Chewable Calcium supplement. Horray. Unfortunately, after eating these tablets, Bella was sent home from school very distressed, with severe stomach pains caused by cramps and constipation – which I suspect was caused by the supplements. They contained Calcium-Citrate. I’m not sure if the stomach cramps/constipation was caused by this compound, or the fillers used to make the tablets taste ok. (We had checked there was no diary or other allergens).

Our latest and most successful plan is “Calmax” powder. At $46 for 175g, it ain’t the cheapest, however 1 teaspoon provides 406mg of calcium. We dissolve it in hot water and add it to raspberry cordial. As we don’t normally let the kids drink cordial, Bella thinks its a treat. So far so good…. but she still get cramps from time to time.

2 responses to “Sources of Calcium

  • mary

    According to my childrens endocrinologist,the 1300mg of calcium a day is too low. He recommends 2000mg for growing girls. If you don’t get enough in food then you need to supplement. The supplements should be spaced for best absorbtion. Viactiv is a great chewable tab. Many flavors and the kids like it. We take 3 500mg tabs a day. With flavor choices it doesn’t get too bad. Make sure it is taken with food

  • kylie

    Hi Mary,

    Thanks for the comment.
    I think you may have missed the point of this blog. The reason I have been concerned about Calcium intake is my daughters allergies that cause her to have a restricted diet. These supplements include “non-fat milk” and “chocolate” as ingredients, as well as soy and other allergens. They cannot be taken by children with severe food allergies to these ingredients.


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