Are You Getting Enough Of These Vitamins?
At any age, getting enough calcium and vitamin D is crucial to building strong bones. Both of these nutrients are in many foods. However, many people still struggle to get enough. How do these supplements work together to promote bone health?
The role of calcium
Calcium is a crucial nutrient for the proper functioning of nerves, muscles, and heart health. A significant amount of research has shown a link between calcium deficiency and increased risk of osteoporosis and bone fracture. About 99% of all calcium is found in the bones and teeth. Many people struggle to get enough of the mineral. Calcium-rich foods include dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and fortified foods.
The role of vitamin D
Without enough vitamin D, the body will struggle to absorb calcium properly. People can get vitamin D through sun exposure, food sources, or supplements. Egg yolks, saltwater fish, and liver are all foods high in vitamin D. Many people struggle to get enough of the vitamin through food sources alone. In these cases, a supplement may be beneficial.
How do the two work together?
Adequate vitamin D levels are crucial to proper calcium absorption. Without vitamin D, the body will not absorb enough calcium from food sources. In turn, the body then takes calcium from the stores in the skeleton, weakening bones.
How much do I need?
Calcium and vitamin D intake and needs will vary on an individual basis. In general, during adolescence, people ages 9-18 need about 1,300 mg daily of calcium. From ages 19-70, most people do well with 1,000 mg per day, with needs increasing slightly as people age. In some cases, women will need to increase calcium intake after the age of 50. For most people, 600 IU of vitamin D daily is sufficient up to the age of 70. After 70, most experts recommend upping intake to 800 IU. In some cases, when vitamin D deficiency is severe, a doctor may recommend a stronger supplement.
Improving overall bone health
Remember, getting enough calcium and vitamin D is just one component of an overall plan for promoting healthy bones. People should also perform weight-bearing exercises, like walking or strength training, at least 3 times per week. Peak bone mass is built before the age of 30, so the earlier people get started with healthy habits, the better. For more information about building strong bones, schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider. To learn more about calcium and vitamin D supplementation, speak with a pharmacist.