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Ask the doctor: Calcium supplements: Not routinely recommended

February 14, 2015

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Dairy products are good sources of calcium.

Q. My internist told me to take calcium because I have osteoporosis. However, I heard that blockages in heart arteries could also contain calcium. Am I hurting my arteries by taking calcium supplements?

A. Doctors often recommend calcium supplements for people with osteoporosis, and I'd advise you to follow your physician's advice, as calcium is important for bone health. The Recommended Dietary Allowance for calcium for adults is 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams (mg) a day; dairy products are the best sources. For healthy people who get enough calcium in their diets, the role of calcium supplements is less clear, although some people hope that taking them may help preserve bone strength.

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