Dietary intake levels and requirements of Mg and Ca for different segments of the U.S. population

Magnesium. 1989;8(3-4):117-23.


Human dietary requirements for essential mineral nutrients are not precisely known. Estimates differ according to the method used. For magnesium, balance studies yield values from 300 to 354 mg/day for American women and from 420 to 483 mg/day for men. Lower figures are obtained from measurements of urinary and sweat losses. Little is known about requirements for children. Actual intakes in the United States are about 202 mg/day for children from 1 to 5 years old, 228 mg/day for women, and 331 mg/day for men (19-50 years old). Intakes are lower in blacks. Calcium requirements for adults have been estimated as the amount of dietary calcium required to ensure absorption of 150 mg/day. This amount is about 540 mg/day. A similar figure is assumed for children. Intakes are 870 mg/day for children, 683 mg/day for women, and 948 mg/day for men. Again, intakes are lower in blacks. Dietary requirements are used as the basis for recommended dietary intakes, but the latter are generally set higher to ensure adequate intakes. Selected 1980 Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) set by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council are for magnesium (mg/day): children 1-3 years 150; 4-6 years 200; 7-10 years 350; men 19-50 years 350; women of any age 300. Selected RDAs for calcium (mg/day) are: children 1-10 years 800; men and women 15-18 years 1,200; 19-50 years 800. An extra 150 mg of magnesium and 400 mg of calcium are recommended daily in the diets of pregnant or lactating women.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Eating*
  • Humans
  • Magnesium / metabolism*
  • Nutritional Requirements*
  • Population
  • United States


  • Magnesium
  • Calcium