“Seven hundred is a threshold. What they are establishing is really a threshold. Anything below that will be associated with an increased risk of fracture but that doesn’t mean that’s the recommended allowance for most people,” Dr. Rosen explains.

Dr. Rosen says his committee discovered that the majority of Americans are getting between 750 and 900 mg through diet, so some people don’t need to take supplements. He recommends talking to your doctor or nutritionist to see if you’re getting enough.

Donald Miller, chair of the department of pharmacy practice at North Dakota State University in Fargo, agrees. “You don’t need to go crazy taking calcium supplements. Talk with your doctors and find out if you need to take a calcium supplement before going out on your own,” he says. “Americans love to take supplements and think, ‘Well, it can’t hurt.’”

But, actually, it could. Dr. Rosen says you don’t want to get too much calcium because there’s a risk of kidney stones and possible cardiovascular risk, which is still being studied. He says one exception is people taking corticosteroids, such as prednisone, because these drugs can cause higher fracture risk. “There is some evidence to suggest that calcium intake in that group should be above 1,000 mg,” Dr. Rosen says.

It’s also important for your bone health to keep track not just of your calcium intake, but also how much vitamin D you are getting because vitamin D helps absorb calcium, he adds. The IOM recommendations suggest people get between 600 and 800 international units of vitamin D daily. “If vitamin D is low then the calcium intake is critical because they feed off each other,” Dr. Rosen explains.

But Dr. Rosen says overall, he thinks the message about calcium and vitamin D is getting out and being heard. “Most people are now consuming more calcium and vitamin D and I think the bottom line message is if you have low calcium intake you are at increased risk of fracture but it is easy to fix, and if your vitamin D is low then more calcium is necessary,” he says.