Older Adults: Ages > 70 Years

Several physiologic differences in older adults need to be considered in setting the UL for people over age 70. Because this population is more likely to have achlorhydria (Recker, 1985), absorption of calcium, except when associated with meals, is likely to be somewhat impaired, which would protect these individuals from the adverse effects of high calcium intakes. Furthermore, there is a decline in calcium absorption associated with age that results from changes in function of the intestine (Ebeling et al., 1994). However, the elderly population is also more likely to have marginal zinc status, which theoretically would make them more susceptible to the negative interactions of calcium and zinc (Wood and Zheng, 1990). This matter deserves more study. These effects serve to increase the UF on the one hand and decrease it on the other, with the final result being to use the same UL for older adults as for younger adults.

UL for Older Adults

> 70 years

2,500 mg (62.5 mmol)/day

Pregnancy and Lactation

The available data were judged to be inadequate for deriving a UL for pregnant and lactating women that is different from the UL for the nonpregnant and nonlactating female.

UL for Pregnancy

14 through 50 years

2,500 mg (62.5 mmol)/day

UL for Lactation

14 through 50 years

2,500 mg (62.5 mmol)/day

Special Considerations

Not surprisingly, the ubiquitous nature of calcium results in a population of individuals with a wide range of sensitivities to its toxic effects. Subpopulations known to be particularly susceptible to the toxic effects of calcium include individuals with renal failure, those using thiazide diuretics (Whiting and Wood, 1997), and those with low intakes of minerals that interact with calcium (for example, iron, magnesium, zinc). For the majority of the general population, intakes of calcium from food substantially above the UL are probably safe.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement