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Calcium and Vitamin D: Important at Every Age

Discussion in 'Women Health' started by smartteddy, Aug 21, 2017.

  1. smartteddy

    smartteddy Administrator Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2016

    The Role of Calcium

    Calcium is needed for our heart, muscles, and nerves to function properly and for blood to clot. Inadequate calcium significantly contributes to the development of osteoporosis. Many published studies show that low calcium intake throughout life is associated with low bone mass and high fracture rates. National nutrition surveys have shown that most people are not getting the calcium they need to grow and maintain healthy bones. To find out how much calcium you need, see the Recommended Calcium Intakes (in milligrams) chart below.

    Recommended Calcium Intakes
    Life-stage group mg/day
    Source: Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, 2010.
    Infants 0 to 6 months 200
    Infants 6 to 12 months 260
    1 to 3 years old 700
    4 to 8 years old 1,000
    9 to 13 years old 1,300
    14 to 18 years old 1,300
    19 to 30 years old 1,000
    31 to 50 years old 1,000
    51- to 70-year-old males 1,000
    51- to 70-year-old females 1,200
    70 years old 1,200
    14 to 18 years old, pregnant/lactating 1,300
    19 to 50 years old, pregnant/lactating 1,000

    To learn how easily you can include more calcium in your diet without adding much fat, see the Selected Calcium-Rich Foods list below.

    Selected Calcium-Rich Foods
    Food Calcium (mg)
    Source: The 2004 Surgeon General’s Report on Bone Health and Osteoporosis: What It Means to You. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General, 2004, pages 12–13.
    Fortified oatmeal, 1 packet 350
    Sardines, canned in oil, with edible bones, 3 oz. 324
    Cheddar cheese, 1½ oz. shredded 306
    Milk, nonfat, 1 cup 302
    Milkshake, 1 cup 300
    Yogurt, plain, low-fat, 1 cup 300
    Soybeans, cooked, 1 cup 261
    Tofu, firm, with calcium, ½ cup 204
    Orange juice, fortified with calcium, 6 oz. 200–260 (varies)
    Salmon, canned, with edible bones, 3 oz. 181
    Pudding, instant (chocolate, banana, etc.) made with 2% milk, ½ cup 153
    Baked beans, 1 cup 142
    Cottage cheese, 1% milk fat, 1 cup 138
    Spaghetti, lasagna, 1 cup 125
    Frozen yogurt, vanilla, soft-serve, ½ cup 103
    Ready-to-eat cereal, fortified with calcium, 1 cup 100–1,000 (varies)
    Cheese pizza, 1 slice 100
    Fortified waffles, 2 100
    Turnip greens, boiled, ½ cup 99
    Broccoli, raw, 1 cup 90
    Ice cream, vanilla, ½ cup 85
    Soy or rice milk, fortified with calcium, 1 cup 80–500 (varies)
    Calcium Culprits

    Although a balanced diet aids calcium absorption, high levels of protein and sodium (salt) in the diet are thought to increase calcium excretion through the kidneys. Excessive amounts of these substances should be avoided, especially in those with low calcium intake.
    Lactose intolerance also can lead to inadequate calcium intake. Those who are lactose intolerant have insufficient amounts of the enzyme lactase, which is needed to break down the lactose found in dairy products. To include dairy products in the diet, dairy foods can be taken in small quantities or treated with lactase drops, or lactase can be taken as a pill. Some milk products on the market already have been treated with lactase.
    Calcium Supplements

    If you have trouble getting enough calcium in your diet, you may need to take a calcium supplement. The amount of calcium you will need from a supplement depends on how much calcium you obtain from food sources. There are several different calcium compounds from which to choose, such as calcium carbonate and calcium citrate, among others. Except in people with gastrointestinal disease, all major forms of calcium supplements are absorbed equally well when taken with food.
    Calcium supplements are better absorbed when taken in small doses (500 mg or less) several times throughout the day. In many individuals, calcium supplements are better absorbed when taken with food. It is important to check supplement labels to ensure that the product meets United States Pharmacopeia (USP) standards.
    Vitamin D

    The body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. Without enough vitamin D, one can’t form enough of the hormone calcitriol (known as the “active vitamin D”). This in turn leads to insufficient calcium absorption from the diet. In this situation, the body must take calcium from its stores in the skeleton, which weakens existing bone and prevents the formation of strong, new bone.
    You can get vitamin D in three ways: through the skin, from the diet, and from supplements. Experts recommend a daily intake of 600 IU (International Units) of vitamin D up to age 70. Men and women over age 70 should increase their uptake to 800 IU daily, which also can be obtained from supplements or vitamin D-rich foods such as egg yolks, saltwater fish, liver, and fortified milk. The Institute of Medicine recommends no more than 4,000 IU per day for adults. However, sometimes doctors prescribe higher doses for people who are deficient in vitamin D.
    A Complete Osteoporosis Program

    Remember, a balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D is only one part of an osteoporosis prevention or treatment program. Like exercise, getting enough calcium is a strategy that helps strengthen bones at any age. But these strategies may not be enough to stop bone loss caused by lifestyle, medications, or menopause. Your doctor can determine the need for an osteoporosis medication in addition to diet and exercise.
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