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October 4, 1995

Optimal Calcium Intake

Author Affiliations

Creighton University Omaha, Neb

JAMA. 1995;274(13):1012. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530130018011

To the Editor.  —The conclusions of the NIH Consensus Development Panel on Optimal Calcium Intake1 can be summarized as follows: (1) calcium is important for bone health throughout life; (2) most Americans are not getting enough calcium; and (3) the optimal intakes turn out to be higher than we had thought.These are important findings and deserve the broadest possible dissemination to both the general public and the health professions.While the report, in general, is exceptionally well put together, appropriately nuanced, and well documented, there is one paragraph in section 4 (on the best ways to obtain optimal calcium intake) that contains some possibly misleading information.1(p1946) The paragraph twice suggests that, if calcium supplements are to be used, they should be ingested between meals, and it implies that gastric acid is needed for absorption of calcium carbonate. The reasons given for the first statement were that calcium can

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