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Are We Reading the Same Article?

July 9, 2012
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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

8 Comments leave one →
  1. July 10, 2012 1:20 pm

    Thank you for posting this to Facebook! It was a great reminder to come read your site.

    I’d love to subscribe to your RSS feed, but it only shows a preview of the article. Since I usually read my feeds when I don’t have an internet connection, a preview-only feed is useless to me. But posting new articles on Facebook is the next best thing. Thank you.

  2. Rosa Goldman permalink
    November 28, 2012 3:21 pm

    It is also important to remember that vegans don’t need to constantly replenish their calcium. Processing animal protein uses up calcium. The less animal protein you ingest, the less calcium you need to ingest.

  3. December 16, 2012 1:21 pm

    I just wanted to point out that tofu is only a good source of calcium if it’s made with calcium sulfate so you need to check the label. Your list has mg of calcium for tofu at 120-400 a day per 4 oz serving which is roughly between 10-40%of the RDA. The package in front of me has a serving size of 3 oz and is only 2% of the RDA. Even adjusting for a higher RDA of 1300 mg per day, and instead using a standard of 1000mg per day, it still only provides 2.6 percent of RDA, 26 mg in the 3 oz size and about 35mg per 4oz serving size,which fallsbfar short of the amounts listed in the chart.

  4. Ahmed Studstill permalink
    March 14, 2013 10:43 am

    A kidney stone is a solid piece of material that forms in the kidney from substances in the urine. It may be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a pearl. Most kidney stones pass out of the body without help from a doctor. But sometimes a stone will not go away. It may get stuck in the urinary tract, block the flow of urine and cause great pain. ;

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