Are We Reading the Same Article?
According to the Dairy Herd Network, milk remains the “gold standard” for calcium intake.They claim that “studies have linked calcium supplements to a higher risk of heart attacks and kidney stones.”
They base their claim on an article in The Wall Street Journal, “Dutifully Taking Your Calcium Pill? It May Be Too Much.”
Let me preface by stating that I am not a nutritionist, but I can read.
None of the studies attributed DAIRY MILK consumption with a decreased risk of heart attack or kidney stone. Nor did any of the studies claim that the only source of calcium can be obtained from the milk of another species. At no point did the WSJ state that milk is the “gold standard” for calcium intake.
The premise of the article is that excess calcium supplements, especially exceeding 2,000 mg a day, may increase the risk of kidney stones and heart attacks. Even though that is the premise, the journalist acknowledges that the studies are conflicting.
According to the Institute of Medicine, most adults only need around 1,000 mg of calcium each day. In the United Kingdom, the recommended daily allowance is suggested at 700-1000 mg/day.
You can obtain calcium in food other than dairy milk. Dairy products have been touted as good sources of calcium, but the truth is that no one needs dairy to reach their daily calcium intake.
Vitamin D plays a role in how well calcium is absorbed, so make sure to eat foods with vitamin D! Or, spend 15-20 minutes in the sun (season permitting) without sunscreen each day. The article did not suggest there was any issue with a vitamin D supplement, so perhaps consider that over a calcium supplement.
Sources of calcium (Note: Dark leafy greens contain oxalic acid which can limit calcium absorption. This is not a problem for healthy teenagers and adult, but can pose a risk for those with kidney or gallbladder stone problems. There are plenty of other plant-based calcium sources). The following list was obtained here.
Bok choy (cooked) – 330 mg
Kale – 180mg
Bean sprouts – 320 mg
Spinach (cooked) – 250 mg
Collard greens (cooked) – 260 mg
Mustard greens (cooked) – 100 mg
Turnip greens (cooked) – 200 mg
Swiss chard (cooked) – 100 mg
Seaweed (Wakame) – 120mg
Okra – 130 mg
Broccoli – 45 mg
Fennel – 45 mg
Artichoke – 55 mg
Celery – 40 mg
Leeks – 55 mg
Almonds (1/4 cup) – 95 mg
Brazil nuts (1/4 cup) – 55 mg
Hazelnuts (1/4 cup) – 55 mg
Almond butter (1 tbsp) – 43 mg
Sesame seeds (1 tbsp) – 63 mg
Tahini (1 tbsp) – 65 mg
Amaranth (cooked, ½ cup) – 135 mg
Brown rice (cooked, 1 cup) – 50 mg
Quinoa (cooked, 1 cup) – 80 mg
Chickpeas (cooked, 1 cup) – 80 mg
Pinto beans (cooked, 1 cup) – 75 mg
Soy beans (cooked, 1 cup) – 200 mg
Tofu (soft or firm, 4 oz) – 120 – 400mg
Tempeh (1 cup) – 150 mg
Navy beans (1 cup) – 110 mg
White beans (cooked, 1 cup) – 140 mg
Figs (dried) – 300 mg
Apricots (dried) – 75mg
Kiwi – 60mg
Rhubarb (cooked) – 350 mg
Orange – 70 mg
Prunes – 75 mg
Blackberries – 40 mg
Blackstrap molasses (1 tbsp) – 135 mg