Vegans need to make sure their calcium intake is adequate. In a prospective cohort study of self-reported fracture risk, compared with meat eaters, fracture incidence rate ratios were higher for vegans than for fish eaters and vegetarians. However, among subjects consuming at least 525 mg/day calcium the corresponding incidence rate ratios were similar and lowest for vegans.
A meta-analysis of randomized trials in which calcium, or calcium in combination with vitamin D, was used to prevent fracture and osteoporotic bone loss concluded: “Evidence supports the use of calcium, or calcium in combination with vitamin D supplementation, in the preventive treatment of osteoporosis in people aged 50 years or older.”
Here are some great dietary sources of calcium:
Dark leafy greens: collards, kale, others (100-200+ mg/cup chopped and cooked. There is less calcium bioavailability in spinach, chard, beet greens)
Although it is possible to meet the calcium recommendations by eating greens alone, the average vegan probably will not meet recommendations without drinking a glass of fortified drink each day, eating calcium-set tofu, or taking a 250 – 300 mg supplement (in addition to eating an otherwise balanced diet). Although it is important to get enough calcium, do not get more than 1,400 mg of calcium per day. Please see Daily Needs on the Vegan Health website for the most up-to-date calcium recommendations.