Initial Posting: 4/25/2014    Last Update: 6/2/2019
Answer: Maintaining adequate calcium intake is important for bone and cardiovascular health. However, getting too much calcium, particularly from supplements, can be harmful, and has been associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer, kidney stones, and heart attack -- especially in post-menopausal women. Use of calcium supplements may increase the risk of dementia in elderly women who have evidence of cerebrovascular disease or who have a history of stroke. There is mixed evidence as to whether calcium from supplements increases the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
For women over age 50 and men over age 70, 1,200 mg is the recommended daily intake of calcium from food and supplements combined (for women under 50 and men under 70 it's 1,000 mg, while for older kids and teenagers it's 1,300 mg). If you can get most of it from food, then limit your calcium supplement to just the amount you need. It is generally felt that calcium supplementation should not exceed 500 mg per dose and no more than 900 mg per day.
More information about calcium, including amounts of calcium in foods and our tests of calcium supplements, is found in the Calcium Supplements Review >>