Calcium and Vitamin D for optimal bone health. The body’s bones/skeletal system contains a huge amount of calcium. Close to 100% of the body’s total calcium is in the bones. Calcium is a nutrient that helps the body rebuild/repair bones.
This means an individual needs enough calcium throughout their lifetime for healthy bones. Individuals with osteoporosis have an increase of fracture/s, which means it is even more important to have the proper amount of calcium.
However, the body also needs enough vitamin D to properly absorb the calcium. When the body does not have enough vitamin D, the body will not be able to utilize all the calcium being taking in. Maintaining bone health requires keeping track of calcium and vitamin D intake.
How much calcium the body needs depends on various factors, that include age. Listed are basic recommendations of calcium intake by age, but individuals should talk with a doctor about how much calcium is best for them on a daily basis.
Children and Young Adults
- 1-3 years of age 500mg
- 4-8 years of age 800mg
- 9-18 years of age 1,300mg
Adult Men and Women
- 19-49 years of age 1,000mg
- 50+ years of age 1,200mg
Women Pregnant and Breastfeeding
- Under 18 years of age 1,300mg
- 19+ years of age 1,000mg
This can help to get a general idea of how much calcium is needed every day. The best way to get enough calcium through what is eaten and drank regularly. Here are some foods that offer the proper amount of calcium:
- Cooked Broccoli 60mg in 8 oz.
- Fruit Juice with Added Calcium 200-260mg in 6 oz.
- Low-fat and Skim Milk 300mg in 8 oz.
- Low-fat Plain Yogurt 415mg in 8 oz.
- Swiss Cheese 220-270mg in 1 oz.
These are estimates for the amount of calcium these foods offer. Always look at the food label to get an accurate number. These are also just examples of what foods can help meet the calcium requirement for the day. If unable to get enough calcium from the diet, supplements can be taken to make sure the appropriate amount is met.
An example of not being able to get the proper amount is individuals that are lactose intolerant. This can be a challenge to get the calcium needed. For individuals not getting enough calcium should talk with a doctor, nutritionist, or health coach about supplements. They will help figure out the best calcium supplement and how much to take. However, getting too much calcium can be detrimental to overall health. That’s why finding the best balance is key.
Vitamin D is what helps the body absorb calcium. The body makes vitamin D when outside in the sun. This is a perfect reason to go outside more often. 15 minutes of exposure to the sun every day will significantly increase vitamin D production. Some individuals are not able to make enough vitamin D, no matter how much sunlight exposure. However, Vitamin D is also found in various foods like:
For some individuals, it can also be a challenge to get enough vitamin D. There are vitamin D supplements that can help fill daily requirements. A doctor can tell if supplements are needed with various tests that can tell how much vitamin D the body is getting. There are two types of vitamin D supplements: They are D3 and D2. Research shows that D3 and D2 are both good for bones. And just like calcium, the amount of vitamin D needed depends on age:
Children and Young Adults
IU stands for international units which is how vitamin D is measured.
- 1-18 years of age 400 IU
Adult Men and Women
- 19-49 years of age 400-800 IU
- 50+ years of age 800-1,000 IU
- Any age 400-800 IU
Getting enough calcium and Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones and a healthy body. Our nutritionist and health coach can help get you back on track to optimal health.
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Fischer, V et al. “Calcium and vitamin D in bone fracture healing and post-traumatic bone turnover.” European cells & materials vol. 35 365-385. 22 Jun. 2018, doi:10.22203/eCM.v035a25