Intake and Distribution

The dietary intake of calcium in the United States is approximately 20mmol (600-1200 mg) per day unless supplements are consumed. Approximately 73% of dietary calcium is supplied from milk products, 9% from fruits and vegetables, 5% from grains, and the remaining 12% from all other sources. Approximately 25% of women take a nutritional supplement that contains calcium, but supplement use by men and children is much lower.

Approximately 25-50% of dietary calcium is absorbed and delivered to the exchangeable calcium pool. Of the 25-30 mol (1000-1200 g) of calcium in the body, 99% is found in the skeleton and teeth. The remaining 1% is in the blood, extracellular fluid, muscle, and other tissues. The extracellular pool of calcium turns over 20-30 times per day in adults, whereas bone calcium turns over every 5 or 6 years. A remarkably large amount is filtered through the kidneys, approximately 250mmol (10 000mg) per day, of which approximately 98% is reabsorbed, so that urinary excretion of the mineral is only 2.5-5 mmol (100-200 mg) per day (Figure 1).

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