Calcium In Oranges For Bones

  • Rukhsar Jabbar Masters in Physiotherapy, Jamia Millia Islamia, India
  • Muna Hassan Bachelor of science in molecular biology and Genetics (2023)

Who doesn't love eating oranges? But do you know oranges hold such nutritious value?

Oranges are known to be a rich source of vitamin C but in addition to that it does contain calcium, potassium and much more.

However, oranges can't be the primary source of calcium for bones but definitely can bring immense benefits in terms of bone health.

Let’s get more into the topic of “ how eating oranges benefits bones”?

Everyone is familiar with the association of milk with calcium but little did people know that apart from milk, various other sources contain calcium too!

One of them is orange.


Importance of Calcium for Health

Calcium is a nutrient that is required for the human body to operate properly. This macroelement, which regulates many extracellular and intracellular processes, is required for bone formation, growth, and maintenance, as well as the cellular cytoskeleton's integrity.7

Calcium is a mineral that plays important roles in the skeletal, cardiovascular, endocrine, and neurological systems. Around 99 percent of total body calcium is found in bone, where it serves as calcium storage and gives stiffness and structure to the skeletal system. The remainder is involved in metabolic processes such as vascular and muscular contraction, nervous system transmission, transmembrane transport, enzyme activation, and hormonal function.1

The majority of studies on the long-term effects of insufficient calcium consumption focus on bone health, particularly rickets in children and fractures, osteopenia, and osteoporosis in people over 60.1

Calcium is engaged in a wide range of critical processes. Although most calcium research has focused on bone health, the benefits of dietary calcium or calcium supplements have recently been shifted to other health outcomes.2

Overview of Calcium-rich Foods

Dairy products is by far the most significant source of calcium in the human diet, and as such, it has received the most attention among dairy nutrients.3

Calcium consumption is typically related to the consumption of dairy products such as milk, yoghurt, and cheese, which are high in calcium.2

Milk and dairy products provide 75% of dietary calcium, with vegetables and fruits providing 15%, mineral water providing 5%, and other foods providing the remaining 5%.3

Kale, broccoli, and watercress are calcium-rich vegetables.2

Brief Description of Oranges

Citrus fruits are an essential source of phytochemical elements and have long been regarded for their good nutritional and antioxidant capabilities. Oranges' high vitamin and mineral content has been scientifically demonstrated to provide numerous health benefits.5

Oranges also feature a high concentration of vitamin A as well as other antioxidants known as flavonoids such as alpha and beta carotenes, beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, and lutein. Orange fruit also has a high mineral content, including potassium and calcium. Potassium, an essential component of cell and body fluids, regulates heart rate and blood pressure.5

Nutritional Composition of Oranges

Oranges were discovered to be high in vitamin C, carbohydrates, and minerals such as K, Mg, Ca, and P.4

Benefits of Calcium for Bones

Role of Calcium in Bone Structure

The adult human skeleton is made up of 80% compact bone and 20% cancellous bone, and it is extensively vascularized throughout.

By alternate resorption and accretion, bone is constantly remodelled. To maintain bone structure, the balance between these two is tightly maintained by mechanical and hormonal inputs. Diseases such as osteoporosis, which is characterized by decreased bone density, result from an imbalance. Trace elements such as iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P), and magnesium (Mg) also influence bone formation and metabolism. It is considered that both trace element shortage and excess may be risk factors for the development of bone disorders such as osteoporosis.7

Link between Calcium and Osteoporosis Prevention

Ca insufficiency is the primary risk factor for osteoporosis. Changes in serum Ca levels promote bone remodelling adaptations, such as increased bone resorption caused by low serum Ca levels. The effect of increased Ca consumption on bone health in perimenopausal, postmenopausal, and elderly women, supplementing with Ca for more than five years lowers bone loss in postmenopausal women, particularly those whose regular Ca intake is low (400 mg/day).7

The total Ca content of an adult human body is approximately 1200 g or about 2% of body weight. Approximately 99% of the Ca in the body is located in the bones and teeth, where it is deposited as hydroxyapatite, which is responsible for tissue mineralization. Ca demand fluctuates throughout life, depending on varied growth requirements in childhood and adolescence, as well as during pregnancy and lactation.7

Calcium intake controls peak bone mass in early adulthood by regulating skeletal calcium retention during bone growth, and it also helps to prevent bone loss and osteoporotic fractures later in life. Low calcium consumption is a problem that affects people of all ages and countries. As a result, ensuring appropriate calcium consumption throughout one's life is critical for bone health and the prevention of osteoporosis.6

How Calcium in Oranges Supports Bone Health?

Absorption of Calcium from Oranges

Orange juice (OJ) fortified with calcium (Ca) and vitamin D has made it a convenient source of these nutrients for both children and adults. 

OJ may be advised as a helpful dietary strategy for boosting Ca and vitamin D levels, acid-base balance, and bone health in children and adults.8

Other Nutrients in Oranges Enhancing Calcium Utilization

The most significant ingredient in orange juice is ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Calcium and other minerals are better absorbed when ascorbic acid and citric acid are present. Iron absorption and ascorbic acid levels were found to be closely related.  In the summer, a glass of chilled orange juice or a few fresh oranges or mandarins are highly refreshing and contain electrolytes. One orange (200 g) contains around 2 milligrams of iron. Two oranges per day can provide 4 mg, which is more than 10% of the RDA in the United States. The RDA is calculated based on a 10% rate of intestinal absorption.11

Recommended Daily Intake of Calcium

General Calcium Requirements

Calcium intakes of 700 to 1200 mg/day are recommended for people over the age of 19, with some authorities advocating an increase during lactation. Recommendations increase again for women after menopause and in populations over 70, as calcium bioavailability declines with age.1

Vitamin D is required for active, transcellular calcium absorption in the intestine and is important in maintaining normocalcemia and hence bone mineralization; thus, dietary calcium requirements are influenced in part by vitamin D status.1

Tailoring Calcium Intake to Individual Needs

Recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) for calcium by age/gender

  • 0-6 months: 200 mg
  • 7-12 months: 260 mg
  • 1-3 years: 700 mg
  • 4-8 years: 1,000 mg
  • 9-18 years: 1,300 mg
  • 19-50 years: 1,000 mg
  • 51-70 years: 1,000 mg for men and 1,200 mg for women
  • 71+ years: 1,200 mg

New food and supplement labels now provide the amount of calcium in the product as well as the percentage Daily Value (DV). The daily values are nutrient reference quantities to consume or not exceed.9


Recap of the Role of Calcium in Bone Health

At all stages of life, enough calcium consumption is required for bone health. Calcium dietary requirements are governed by the demand for bone formation and bone maintenance, which change throughout life and are higher during childhood and adolescence, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and in the elderly.10

Encouragement to Include Oranges in a Balanced Diet

At breakfast, citrus fruit or juice can be a fantastic source of health-promoting elements. A 150-200 mL glass of orange juice each day delivers several nutrients necessary for healthy human health. Citrus juices also contain minerals such as calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium, copper, and phosphorus, which are essential components of the human body's enzyme system. Orange juice has been demonstrated to provide numerous health benefits, including those for the cardiovascular system, bone and skin health, brain function, cognitive functioning, ageing, and cancer.11


  1. Shlisky J, Mandlik R, Askari S, Abrams S, Belizan JM, Bourassa MW, et al. Calcium deficiency worldwide: prevalence of inadequate intakes and associated health outcomes. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2022 Jun;1512(1):10–28.Available from:
  2. Cormick G, Belizán JM. Calcium intake and health. Nutrients [Internet]. 2019 Jul [cited 2023 Nov 27];11(7):1606. Available from:
  3. Melse-Boonstra A. Bioavailability of micronutrients from nutrient-dense whole foods: zooming in on dairy, vegetables, and fruits. Frontiers in Nutrition [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2023 Nov 28];7. Available from:
  4. Topuz A, Topakci M, Canakci M, Akinci I, Ozdemir F. Physical and nutritional properties of four orange varieties. Journal of Food Engineering [Internet]. 2005 Feb 1 [cited 2023 Nov 28];66(4):519–23. Available from:
  5. A review on sweet orange (Citrus sinensis l osbeck): health, diseases and management [Internet]. [cited 2023 Nov 28]. Available from:,5&as_ylo=2013&as_yhi=2023
  6. Zhu K, Prince RL. Calcium and bone. Clinical Biochemistry [Internet]. 2012 Aug 1 [cited 2023 Nov 28];45(12):936–42. Available from:
  7. Ciosek Ż, Kot K, Kosik-Bogacka D, Łanocha-Arendarczyk N, Rotter I. The effects of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, fluoride, and lead on bone tissue. Biomolecules [Internet]. 2021 Apr [cited 2023 Nov 28];11(4):506. Available from:
  8. Lee SG, Yang M, Wang Y, Vance T, Lloyd B, Chung SJ, et al. Impact of orange juice consumption on bone health of the U.S. population in the national health and nutrition examination survey 2003-2006. J Med Food. 2014 Oct;17(10):1142–50.Available from:
  9. Mayo Clinic Health System [Internet]. [cited 2023 Nov 29]. Primary care in rochester and kasson. Available from:
  10. Vannucci L, Fossi C, Quattrini S, Guasti L, Pampaloni B, Gronchi G, et al. Calcium intake in bone health: a focus on calcium-rich mineral waters. Nutrients [Internet]. 2018 Dec 5 [cited 2023 Nov 29];10(12):1930. Available from:
  11. Zvaigzne G, Kārkliņa D. Health promoting chemical components of orange juice. Proceedings of the Latvian Academy of Sciences Section B Natural, Exact, and Applied Sciences [Internet]. 2013 Nov 1 [cited 2023 Nov 29];67(4–5):329–33. Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Rukhsar Jabbar

Masters in Physiotherapy, Jamia Millia Islamia, India

Rukhsar Jabbar is a physiotherapist specializing in neurology, having attained her master's degree in the field. She is particularly passionate about research-based medical content writing, demonstrating a commitment to promoting health awareness. Her dedication lies in bridging the gap between evidence-based scientific information to accessible content, catering to individuals of diverse backgrounds. Looking ahead, Rukhsar aspires to make significant contributions to the field of research, further enhancing the understanding and application of evidence-based information in healthcare.

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