Calcium is a mineral necessary for bone and teeth. It also plays a role in muscle function, nerve signaling and heart health.
The RDA for calcium is set at 1,000 mg per day for most adults and increases to 1,200 mg per day for adults over the age of 50 (51).
Plant sources of calcium include bok choy, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, watercress, broccoli, chickpeas, calcium-set tofu and fortified plant milks or juices.
However, studies tend to agree that most vegans don’t get enough calcium (52, 53).
An often-heard remark among the vegan community is that vegans have lower calcium needs than omnivores because they do not use this mineral to neutralize the acidity produced by a meat-rich diet.
More research is currently needed to evaluate how meatless diets affect daily calcium requirements. However, there is evidence that vegans consuming less than 525 mg of calcium tend to have an increased risk of bone fractures (53).
For this reason, all vegans are encouraged to aim for the RDA, making sure they consume 525 mg of calcium per day at the very least. Supplements should be used if this cannot be achieved through diet or fortified foods alone.
BOTTOM LINE:Vegans consuming too little dietary calcium should consider taking a daily supplement. This is especially important for those getting less than 525 mg per day.