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  1. Anderson, John J. B. PhD
  2. Rosen, Clifford J. MD


Recent reports question the need of calcium intakes greater than 700 to 800 mg/d to support the maintenance of bone mass and density, especially among older adults. In addition, several publications suggest that calcium supplements may not be helping older adults reduce skeletal fractures or maintain bone mass, except in truly undernourished elders who are typically institutionalized. Finally, calcium supplements may contribute to arterial and heart valvular calcifications, renal stones, and, possibly, to brain lesions and depression, but a cause-and-effect relationship has not been established. Current US intakes of calcium by adults have increased in the last couple of decades, in large part because of supplements. Because of the potential adverse effects of calcium supplements, that is, calcium loading that may result in arterial calcification and renal stones, some suggest recommendations of calcium intakes for healthy adults from food sources with only additional amounts from supplements when institutionalized or frail elderly cannot obtain enough calcium from foods. A reassessment of the recommended dietary allowances of older adults seems warranted.