Calcium is often thought of as a nutrient that helps to keep your bones and teeth strong. It is necessary for maintaining healthy communication between the brain and other parts of the body and plays a role in muscle movement and cardiovascular function.
It is also involved in your nervous system, blood clotting and controlling your muscles. In the UK, the recommended intake for adults is 700 milligrams per day. You can get all the calcium you need from a vegan diet.
Calcium occurs naturally in many foods, and food manufacturers add it to certain products. Supplements are also available.
Alongside calcium, people also need vitamin D, as this vitamin helps the body absorb calcium. Vitamin D comes from fish oil, fortified dairy products, and exposure to sunlight.
Vegan-friendly sources of calcium
Calcium-set tofu, calcium-fortified milk and yoghurt alternatives and soya and linseed bread fortified with extra calcium are particularly good sources of this nutrient.
For example, 400ml of calcium-fortified plant milk – just under two cups – provides roughly two-thirds of an adult’s recommended daily intake of calcium, and 100g of calcium-set tofu (uncooked) can provide half of an adult’s daily needs. Other good sources of calcium include kale, pak choi, okra, spring greens, dried figs, chia seeds and almonds.
How much calcium do I need?
Adults aged 19 to 64 need 700mg of calcium a day.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women require 1,000–1,300 mg depending on age.
You should be able to get all the calcium you need from your daily diet.
See the full government dietary recommendations (PDF, 148kb) for levels for children and older adults.
What happens if I take too much calcium?
Taking high doses of calcium (more than 1,500mg a day) could lead to stomach pain and diarrhoea.
What does the Department of Health and Social Care advise?
You should be able to get all the calcium you need by eating a varied and balanced diet.