Calcium has received much attention as the most prominent of bone minerals. It is essential for bone health and helps maintain the necessary level of bone mass throughout the lifespan, and especially in old age. Adequate calcium intake is particularly important to help prevent the development of osteoporosis, a disorder characterized by weak and brittle bones that can result in painful vertebral fractures in the spine.
However, calcium alone will not make strong bones, as evidenced by the high rate of osteoporosis despite high calcium supplementation. Calcium must be balanced with other synergistic nutrients for strong bones.
Calcium is found in many foods, most popularly in dairy products such as yogurt, cheese, and milk. Other common sources of calcium include dark green leafy vegetables such as kale and bok choy, many legumes, some types of fish such as sardines and salmon (for example, canned with bones), and a variety of other foods such as almonds, oranges, tofu, and blackstrap molasses.