Good sources of the mineral calcium include milk, cheese and other dairy foods, green leafy vegetables (such as broccoli, cabbage and okra, but not spinach), soya beans, tofu, soya drinks with added calcium, nuts, bread and anything made with fortified flour, and fish where you eat the bones, such as sardines and pilchards.

How much do I need?

You should be able to get all the calcium you need from your daily diet. Adults need 700 mg a day.

What does it do?

Calcium has a number of important functions. For example it:

  • helps build strong bones and teeth
  • regulates muscle contraction, including the heartbeat
  • makes sure blood clots normally

It's thought that calcium may help to lower high blood pressure and may help to protect against colon and breast cancer, although more evidence is needed to confirm this.

What happens if I take too much?

Taking high doses of calcium could lead to stomach pain and diarrhoea.

What is our advice?

You should be able to get all the calcium you need by eating a varied and balanced diet. But if you decide to take calcium supplements it's a good idea not to take too much.

Taking 1500 mg or less of calcium supplements a day is unlikely to cause any harm.