Calcium

Quick Guide

Got Milk?

If there’s one mineral Americans know a lot about, it’s calcium. Thanks to the long-running “Got Milk?” campaign, we know calcium is important for strong bones and that milk contains plenty of it. So why are Americans falling short on this important nutrient? Learn everything you need to know about calcium and the new FDA regulations that affect calcium labeling.

Calcium Declared a Nutrient of Public Health Concern

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 have identified calcium as one of the five nutrients of public health concern for Americans. The others are potassium, vitamin D, dietary fiber, and for women of childbearing age, iron.1 A nutrient of public health concern is one that is under-consumed by the population and has health risks associated with its underconsumption.

Nutrition Label Changes for Calcium

The new nutrition label regulations require all the nutrients of public health concern to be listed on the nutrition panel. Calcium, iron, and dietary fiber remain mandatory label nutrients as before. However, new to the lineup are potassium and vitamin D, which are replacing vitamins A and C. While vitamins A and C are no longer mandatory, they can still be included on the nutrition label as voluntary label nutrients.

In addition, the vitamins and minerals listed on the nutrition label must be declared in terms of weight (e.g., mg for calcium), as well as % DV. Another change affecting calcium is a DV update from 1000 mg to 1300 mg, an increase of 30%.

When manufacturers update their nutrition labels, the % DV of calcium must be recalculated based on the new DV. The increase in DV for calcium means that in order to maintain a product’s current % DV declaration, and/or any “good source” or “excellent source” claims, it will likely be necessary to add more calcium to the product. Product developers should be especially alert to any changes in a product’s taste, mouthfeel, appearance, and pH when they test increased calcium levels in a product.

Why We Need Calcium

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. While calcium is stored primarily in the teeth and bones, a small percentage of the body’s calcium is present in the blood, muscle cells, and nerve cells. The main functions of calcium in the body include:

  • Development and maintenance of teeth and bones
  • Constriction and relaxation of blood vessels
  • Muscle contraction
  • Nerve signaling
  • Secretion of hormones (such as insulin)
  • Blood clotting

Adequate calcium intake is vitally important for maintaining healthy and strong bones over time. When calcium intake is not sufficient to cover the essential functions requiring calcium, calcium is released from the bones to compensate, drawing down the body’s reserves. Insufficient calcium levels are associated with softened or brittle bones, fractures, and osteoporosis.A

How Much Calcium Do We Really Need?

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Food Sources of Calcium

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The Important Role of Vitamin D

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Making the Future of Food Even Better

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Four Key Considerations for Developing a Custom Nutrient Premix

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What is a Custom Nutrient Premix?

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The Four Most Important Things to Consider

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