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Do you really consume enough calcium?

by 3737 · December 20, 2012 at 1:51 AM

Those of you who don't consume dairy, have you checked your typical routine to see if you're getting enough calcium? Have you had any lab tests to confirm? I suspect I'm getting most of my calcium from my lunch, which is a big salad of spinach and spring mix topped w/various veggies. I haven't looked yet at other foods that I eat and that will be my next step when I have the time.

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12607 · December 19, 2012 at 9:50 PM

I think calcium is a nutrient that we should focus on a bit more. I guarantee most people who eat a diary free paleo diet will have total intake of calcium well below the RDA, unless they eat a lot of green foliage and/or supplement.

I gave an answer a while back on calcium requirements (link) where I made the case (as others have) that a well constructed paleo diet significantly reduces the need for calcium. But by how much? I suggested 700mg a day as a safe number. Perhaps even lower, 500mg a day, might be acceptable for most people. But given the diet logs I've seen from people on this site, many are below even this number.

If you want to talk evolutionary narrative, Boyd Eaton has published papers suggesting the calcium intake of paleolithic people was over 1000mg per day. It's certainly not unreasonable that we could have taken in a lot of calcium from our diets via the bones of small animals and insect exoskeletons.

I eat dairy products, small fish with bones, and even supplement with calcium occasionally. Otherwise, my diet is mostly tubers, fruits, and meat, which just do not give me the amount of calcium I believe to be sufficient.

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18437 · December 20, 2012 at 1:51 AM

I do dairy, but if I didn't I'd work to eat extra bone broth, chew on some bones, eat bone in fish (sardines, salmon, and such). You can get enough by doing that.

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11251 · December 19, 2012 at 9:45 PM

I don't have a clue what enough calcium is, and I know supplementing can be pretty dangerous since under certain circumstances you can paint your arteries with the stuff. I don't remember what those circumstances are, but I think Jenny Ruhl did it by accident.

Recently, I watched Rosedale's Ancestry Health Symposium talk, and he is apparently completely against supplementation. This is somewhat comforting to me, because calcium supplementation tends to make me feel worse.

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