Saturday, August 2, 2014

Vegan Calcium: Needs, Myths and Best Sources


Jonathan Rasmus said...

Thank you for your great videos. Along with and Primitive Nutrition, you are my go-to nutrition blog. Japanese recommendations are 700 and adequate dietary allowance seems to be 525 I believe. These seem to be a fair bit lower than what you mention. In Denmark the recommendation is to consume 800 mg. Do you know if other wild plants (e.g grains, legumes) also have more calcium compared to their domesticated counterparts?

Don Matesz said...

Jonathan, sorry if I was unclear in the video about numbers.

525 may be 'adequate' in that so long as you get this, you may not put yourself at increased risk for fractures.

The one study I cited found that over a short term the average individual needed ~750 mg to remain in calcium balance...i.e. not losing bone calcium.

Japanese people are smaller than Danes and individual requirements will vary a bit based on skeletal size, but their recommendations (Japanese and Danish) embrace the 750 level (+/- 50 mg).

However, to ensure adequate intake for 95% of population, and take into account the limitations of short term balance studies, one must provide an allowance for those who have above average requirements (on a Bell Curve) so that leads to the recommendation of ~1000 mg for long term population recommendations.

From a comparative mammalian requirements standpoint on a weight basis, humans would however be predicted to require 1000-2000 mg per day.

I am not saying this is established as a fact, but that 750-1500 mg per day is IMO prudent based on these data and calculations, given that the RDI is also 1000 mg.

It is my understanding that wild plants of all types have an average calcium content of 100 mg/100 g weight. Lentils have ~50 mg/100 g. Averages are averages, so some wild plants are lower than 100 mg/100 g, others higher. Not sure yet about how for example wild legumes compare to cultivated in this respect. But overall, someone eating only wild plant foods would most likely obtain ~1000 mg calcium daily if not more.

Google search calcium content of traditional African vegetables and you will find a number of articles that report significantly higher mineral including calcium contents than cultivated varieties. For example: