Do older people need more calcium?
It is important that older people get enough calcium; an adequate supply can help to maintain bone strength and keep bones healthy during older age.
The calcium requirement for the over 65s is set at 700mg a day, which is the same as for younger adults. A 200ml glass of milk, a pot of yogurt or a matchbox–sized piece of cheese can each supply around a third of these calcium needs. See Dairy through Life for more information.
Vitamin D is also important for healthy bones in older people as it’s needed for the absorption of calcium from food. We get small amounts of vitamin D from our diet, from foods such as oily fish, meat and eggs, and foods with added vitamin D such as some breakfast cereals but the majority is made in our skin from exposure to summer sunlight. As we get older, our skin becomes less efficient at producing vitamin D.
Older people who don’t get outdoors very often or who cover up when they are outside, are particularly at risk of being short of vitamin D so it is recommended that people over the age of 65 take 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day.