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    Many people find it difficult to achieve an adequate calcium intake by natural methods. Fortunately there are many calcium supplements, both over the counter (these often have additional supplements of vitamin D; which is vital for the body to absorb calcium) or calcium prescribed by the doctor.

    Calcium recommended daily allowances

    Women between the ages of twenty to forty typically require a recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 1000 mg/day in the UK, as age increases so does the recommended dose of calcium required; this is due to many reasons, but boils down to the change in rate of calcium absorbtion and retention in the bones of older women. For women over 40 years of age, who are not taking hormone replacement therapy, the recommended calcium dose is 1200 mg/day in the UK . For Women 40 and above who take hormone replacement therapy the recommended daily allowance of calcium is slightly lower at 1000 mg/day. The recommended calcium daily allowance for women over sixty is 1200 mg/day.

    These RDA figures are based on those available from the national osteoporosis society in the UK . An alternative to the RDA method is given by the now defunct Committee on the Medical Aspects of Food (COMA) in the UK . Typically most women above the age of forty require 700 mg/day by natural intake (according to the COMA policy), these recommendations are lower than the RDA because they try to take into account factors that affect calcium retention in people of varying ages.

    Types of Calcium Supplements

    The chemical form that calcium supplements are taken in is not of great import so long as it is in a non-toxic form. Typical supplements that are used to increase calcium intake include microcrystalline hydroxyapatite (from young beef bone and therefore not suitable for vegetarians) or salts such as citrates, gluconates, carbonates and phosphates. Calcium salts are rapidly absorbed by the body.

    Calcium and Vitamin D

    For women who are housebound and may therefore have trouble getting natural sunlight it is recommended to take vitamin D supplements in addition to calcium (vitamin D and calcium are often combined in over the counter supplements). The recommended dose is 400 to 800 ID. This amount of vitamin D will help immensely in the absorption of calcium by the bones and the dosage should not cause any problem if the user does not have a vitamin D deficiency.