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infants in terms of handling excess calcium cannot be derived based on the literature, and little is available to inform the scientific judgment for public health protection except body weight. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) growth charts,2 infants should increase their weight between birth and 3 months of age from about 7.0 pounds (3.5 kg) to 13.0 pounds (6 kg), and then to about 17.5 pounds (8 kg) by 6 months of life. The NOAEL of 1,750 mg/day—which is derived from one study within the age range of 3 to 9 months (Sargent et al., 1999)—is reduced by an uncertainty factor of 2 to adjust for this weight difference and rounded to 1,000 mg of calcium per day to serve as the UL for this life stage group. This is admittedly a cautious approach but, by establishing a UL for infants, their safety is more readily ensured than would be the case in the absence of a UL, and the value is reasonable in view of the available data and current biological understandings. The 1997 IOM report on calcium DRIs did not establish a UL for infants (IOM, 1997).

Infants 6 to 12 Months of Age

The NOAEL of 1,750 mg/day is a reasonable starting point for the UL for older infants. Consistent with general principles of human physiology and toxicology, the committee considered that an infant’s capacity to handle excess nutritional substances is increased with increased body size. Presumably in the case of calcium, which is a critical requirement during these periods of bone development, the infant’s ability to tolerate higher levels of intake is greater as the infant grows and develops skeletal structure. Therefore, the NOAEL of 1,750 mg/day is not unreasonable as the basis for a UL. However, given the paucity of data, a slight uncertainty correction is warranted, and the UL is set at 1,500 mg/day for infants 7 to 12 months of age. No UL for this age group was established in 1997 (IOM, 1997).

ULs for Children and Adolescents 1 Through 18 Years

Children 1 Through 3 Years of Age

Children 4 Through 8 Years of Age



UL 2,500 mg/day Calcium

Children 9 Through 13 Years of Age

Adolescents 14 Through 18 Years of Age



UL 3,000 mg/day Calcium


Available online at (accessed July 19, 2010).

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