Your body needs calcium and vitamin D. Are you getting enough? Most people don’t get enough vitamins. The best way to get more calcium is through your diet.
- What Is Calcium And What Does It Do?
- Foods with High Calcium Content
- Foods High in Vitamin D
- How Much Calcium and Vitamin D Do I Need?
What Is Calcium And What Does It Do?
Calcium is a mineral found in many foods. The body needs calcium to protect bones and to perform many important functions. Almost all calcium is stored in bones and teeth, where it supports and provides to maintain their structure and hardness.
The body also needs calcium for muscles to move and nerves to carry messages between the brain and every part of the body. In addition, calcium is used to help blood vessels move blood in the body and to release hormones and enzymes that affect almost every function in the human body.
Can Calcium Be Harmful?
Taking too much calcium can cause constipation. It can also affect the body’s ability to absorb iron and zinc, although this effect has not been fully established. In adults, too much calcium (from dietary supplements but not from foods) can increase the risk of kidney stones. Some research shows that people who consume high amounts of calcium may increase their risk of prostate cancer and heart disease, but more research is needed to understand these possible links.
Foods High in Calcium Content
You probably already know that dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt provide calcium. Other foods high in calcium include:
- Dry beans
- Some fish such as sardines, salmon, sea bass and trout
- Calcium fortified foods such as some orange juice, oatmeal and breakfast cereals
Foods High in Vitamin D
Vitamin D (also called “calciferol”) is a fat-soluble vitamin found naturally in several foods, added to others, and found as a dietary supplement. It is also produced endogenously when ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight hit the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis.
Vitamin D from sun exposure, food and supplements is biologically ineffective and requires two hydroxylations in the body for activation. The first hydroxylation in the liver converts vitamin D to 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25 (OH) D], also known as “calcidiol”. The second hydroxylation occurs mainly in the kidney and forms the physiologically active 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D [1,25 (OH) 2D], also known as “calcitriol”.
Vitamin D supports calcium absorption in the gut and maintains adequate serum calcium and phosphate concentrations to ensure normal bone mineralization and prevent hypocalcemic tetany (which leads to involuntary muscle contraction, cramps and spasms). It is also required by osteoblasts and osteoclasts for bone growth and bone remodeling. Without enough vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen. Vitamin D deficiency prevents rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Along with calcium, vitamin D also helps protect older adults from osteoporosis.
Health Risks from Excess Vitamin D: In extreme cases, vitamin D toxicity causes kidney failure, calcification of soft tissues in the body (including coronary vessels and heart valves), cardiac arrhythmias, and even death. Vitamin D toxicity was caused by the consumption of dietary supplements containing excess vitamin D, inappropriately or excessive amounts, or improperly prescribed by doctors, due to manufacturing errors.
Vitamin D Deficiency
People can develop vitamin D deficiency when normal intakes are lower than recommended levels over time, exposure to sunlight is limited, the kidneys are unable to convert 25 (OH) D to its active form, or when vitamin D absorption from the digestive system is inadequate. Diets low in vitamin D are more common in people with a dairy allergy or lactose intolerance and those consuming an ovo-vegetarian or vegan diet.
Vitamin D deficiency in children manifests as rickets, a disease characterized by that bone tissue is not properly mineralized and results in soft bones and skeletal deformities. In addition to bone deformities and pain, it can cause severe rickets, developmental delay, hypocalcemic seizures, tetanic spasms, cardiomyopathy, and dental abnormalities.
Foods that provide vitamin D include:
- Fatty fish such as tuna, mackerel and salmon
- Vitamin D enriched foods such as certain dairy products, orange juice, soy milk and cereals
- Beef liver
- Egg yolk
Fish is a good option to get vitamin D from food. 85 grams of cooked salmon has about 570 international units (IU).
How Much Calcium and Vitamin D Do I Need?
How much calcium and vitamin D you need each day, according to the Institute of Medicine. Calcium and vitamin D need intake rates by age are below.
- Children 1-3 years old: 700 milligrams (mg)
- Children 4-8 years old: 1,000 mg
- Children 9-18 years old: 1.300 mg
- adults aged 19-50: 1,000 mg
- Women from 51 to 70: 1.200 mg
- Men 51-70: 1,000 mg
- Women and men 71 years and older: 1.200 mg
- 1-70 Age: 600 IU
- 71 years and older: 800 IU
Your doctor may recommend higher levels of calcium and vitamin D, especially if you are not getting enough or are at risk of osteoporosis. What Are Devit 3 Drops Used For, What Are Their Benefits And Harm?