[Bioavailability of dietary calcium]

Arq Bras Endocrinol Metabol. 2006 Oct;50(5):852-61. doi: 10.1590/s0004-27302006000500005.
[Article in Portuguese]


Dietary calcium (Ca) is fundamental to the bone's health. Both the purport and the element bioavailability in the food need to be considered. The purpose of this work was to summarize the factors involved in Ca absorption and point out the sources with higher bioavailability. Ca is mostly absorbed in the jejunum and low pH seems to favor its absorption, which is higher during growth, gestation/lactation and Ca and phosphorus (P) deficiency, and lower with aging. The richest and best-absorbed Ca source is cow's milk and its derivatives. Other foods show high Ca concentrations but variable bioavailability: foods rich in phytates and oxalates show a smaller absorption and carbohydrate-rich foods show higher absorption. Since Ca bioavailability in other animal's milk, soymilk and some vegetables is closer to that in cow's milk, adequate amounts of these foods could be used as an alternative.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Availability
  • Bone Density / physiology
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Bone Resorption / metabolism*
  • Calcium / deficiency
  • Calcium Carbonate / metabolism
  • Calcium, Dietary / pharmacokinetics*
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption / physiology*
  • Lactation / metabolism
  • Lactose / metabolism
  • Lactose Intolerance / metabolism
  • Male
  • Milk / metabolism
  • Nutritional Requirements*
  • Osteoporosis / diet therapy
  • Osteoporosis / prevention & control
  • Soy Milk / pharmacokinetics
  • Vegetables / metabolism


  • Bone Density Conservation Agents
  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Calcium Carbonate
  • Lactose
  • Calcium