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October 4, 1995

Optimal Calcium Intake-Reply

JAMA. 1995;274(13):1012-1013. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530130018012

In Reply.  —Dr Heaney is to be thanked for helping to clarify an aspect of the report of the NIH Consensus Development Panel on Optimal Calcium Intake. In section 4 of the report, the panel considered the best ways to achieve optimal calcium intake. The ideal approach is to attain the recommended amount of dietary calcium primarily through foods such as low-fat dairy products, broccoli, kale, calcium-set tofu, some legumes, canned fish, seeds, and nuts. Recognizing that it is difficult to achieve optimal calcium intake through foods alone, the panel endorsed alternatives: foods fortified with calcium and calcium supplements. Heaney points out that our report does not make clear the ideal timing of taking calcium supplements relative to meals. He is right. The panel's concern about ingesting calcium supplements with meals related to possible interference with the absorption of other nutrients, especially iron. Interference with absorption of iron in postmenopausal

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