Calcium retention in relation to calcium intake and postmenarcheal age in adolescent females

Lisa A. Jackman, Stephanie S. Millane, Berdine R. Martin, Olivia B. Wood, George P. McCabe, Munro Peacock, Connie M. Weaver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

177 Scopus citations


Achievement of maximal calcium retention during adolescence may influence the magnitude of peak bone mass and subsequently lower the risk of osteoporosis. Calcium retention is generally considered to reach a plateau at a certain calcium intake. To test this hypothesis, calcium balance was measured in 35 females with a mean (± SD) age of 12.7 ± 1.2 y (range: 12- 15 y) who consumed from 841 ± 153 to 2173 ± 149 mg Ca/d. Subjects ate a basal diet that included a fortified beverage containing different amounts of calcium citrate malate. Twenty-one subjects were studied at two dietary calcium intakes with use of a crossover design. Results from a previous study in 14 subjects who were studied at only one calcium intake were included in the data analysis. Calcium retention was modeled as a nonlinear function of calcium intake that included a parameter representing mean maximal retention. Mean maximal calcium retention was 473 mg/d (95% CI: 245, 701 mg Ca/d). At higher postmenarcheal ages, maximal calcium retention was lower but the intake required to achieve this was not affected. Calcium intake explained 79% and 6%, respectively, of the variation in fecal and urinary calcium excretion. Intake of 1200 mg Ca/d, the recommended dietary allowance for calcium published in 1989, resulted in a mean calcium retention that was 57% of the maximal value (95% CI: 25%, 89%). Intake of 1300 mg Ca/d was the smallest intake that allowed some adolescent females to achieve 100% of maximal calcium retention (95% CI: 26%, 100%). These data support the idea that calcium retention plateaus at a certain calcium intake although it continues to increase at intakes > 2 g/d.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)327-333
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1997


  • Adolescent females
  • Calcium balance
  • Calcium citrate malate
  • Calcium intake
  • Calcium requirements
  • Calcium retention
  • Maximal calcium retention
  • Postmenarcheal age

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science

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