Does a high dietary intake of calcium adversely affect iron status in humans?

Bo Lönnerdal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Some short-term studies in humans have shown a pronounced negative effect on iron absorption by calcium added to a meal, while other studies show modest or no effects. This suggests that methods for determining iron absorption need to be re-evaluated. Extrapolation of results from some studies on iron absorption have led to the dietary recommendation that the high calcium content, often in the form of milk, of meals containing iron should be decreased to prevent a deterioration in iron status. However, to date, studies on infants, children, girls and pre- and postmenopausal women show no negative effects of high calcium intakes in meals on iron status, even when high levels of calcium (500-1000 mg/day) have been given for long periods (6-12 months). These observations suggest that iron absorption adapts in the presence of high levels of calcium and that iron homeostasis is achieved. Thus, a change in our daily habits of calcium intake appears unwarranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-84
Number of pages3
JournalScandinavian Journal of Nutrition/Naringsforskning
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999


  • Calcium
  • Calcium intake
  • Iron
  • Iron absorption
  • Iron status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science


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