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The Institute of Medicine, the Food and Drug Administration, and the calcium conundrum

Neupane, Shristi, Knohl, Stephen J
Public health nutrition 2014 v.17 no.8 pp. 1865-1867
Food and Drug Administration, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, adults, antacids, calcium, diet, females, homeostasis, males, medicine, patients, risk, United States
In the present article we aim to bring forward the apparent disconnect between two US government-sponsored entities – the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – regarding the safe upper limit of Ca intake. In light of the 2011 US Congress-appointed IOM report indicating an upper limit of elemental Ca intake of 2000–2500 mg/d in adults (based on age group), it is perplexing that the FDA has not yet required a change on the labelling of over-the-counter Ca-containing antacids, some of which indicate an upper limit of elemental Ca intake of 2800–3000 mg/d. Even more concerning is that Ca intake is rarely from supplementation in isolation. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data from 2003–2006 indicate that mean dietary Ca intakes for males ranged from 871 to 1266 mg/d and for females from 748 to 968 mg/d depending on the age group. The estimated total Ca (diet + supplements) intake exceeded the upper limit in 5 % of the population older than 50 years. Furthermore, NHANES data from 1999–2000 indicate that when Ca is taken as part of an antacid preparation, patients often fail to report this as Ca intake. Thus, individuals taking the maximum allowable dose of supplemental Ca as antacids are at high risk for complications associated with excess Ca intake. Our hope is that by describing Ca homeostasis and highlighting the risks and dangers of Ca overload, the FDA will align its recommendation with the IOM and solve the current Ca conundrum in the USA for the sake of patient safety.