Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Benefits of Calcium and Vitamin D

What are the benefits of calcium and vitamin D?

Calcium: This is a mineral that makes up a large part of bones. Calcium is needed in order to build strong bones and teeth as well as for proper functioning of the heart, muscles and nerves.

Vitamin D: This vitamin aids in the functioning of the immune system as well as in the reduction of inflammation. An adequate amount of vitamin D promotes absorption of calcium and allows for bone growth.

Both nutrients may prevent the breakdown of bone and ultimately osteoporosis later in life.

How much do I need?



Vitamin D

1-3 years


5mcg (200 IU)

4-8 years


5mcg (200 IU)



5mcg (200 IU)

19 to 50 years


5mcg (200 IU)

51 to 70 years


10mcg (400 IU)

71 years and older


15mcg (600 IU)

Pregnant and breastfeeding women under 18 years require 1,300mg of calcium and 1,00mg if 19 years or older.

Where can calcium and vitamin D be obtained?

Food: Low fat and nonfat dairy products as well as fortified breakfast cereals and fish are high in both vitamin D and calcium.

-Try low-fat or fat-free milk, soy milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese, and soybeans

-Low-fat and fat-free dairy products provide the same amount of calcium and vitamin D as whole milk or 2% milk, but less saturated fat and calories.

Be sure to compare brands and similar products to choose foods that are highest in calcium.

Supplements: Although obtaining nutrients from the diet is best, supplements can be used if lactose intolerance is present or if food preferences limit the consumption of foods high in calcium and vitamin D.

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