I always thought that vitamin C blocked calcium absorption, yet I see calcium-fortified orange juice at my grocery store regularly. Is it okay to take calcium with orange juice? —J.L, Poplarville, Mississippi
Yes, it's okay. The vitamin C in orange juice does not interfere with calcium absorption. Calcium-fortified orange juice is an excellent source of calcium. Most brands provide about 300 mg calcium per cup, about the same as in a glass of milk or 6 ounces of yogurt.
The recommended dietary allowance for calcium is 1,000–1,500 mg daily. Teens, women who are expecting, and older adults have the highest needs.
Calcium is necessary for building and maintaining strong bones. In addition to milk products, canned sardines or salmon, broccoli, kale and bok choy are all good sources of calcium.
If you're not getting enough calcium in your daily diet, consider taking a calcium supplement. Choose one with 500 mg or less of calcium. Since higher amounts are not readily absorbed at one time, you may find it necessary to take two a day. Calcium is better absorbed when taken with meals.
If you are taking an osteoporosis medication, check with your doctor first because calcium can reduce the effect.