Calcium and Vitamin D play an important role in your overall health. They are necessary nutrients for your body’s day to day functioning, so it is important that we are all getting enough of both.
Keeping Your Bones in Mind
Calcium is needed for strong bones. Your nerves, muscles, and blood vessels also all require calcium to function properly. For your body to absorb the calcium properly, you need vitamin D.
With the rise in popularity of veganism, and the number of people who are realizing they are lactose intolerant, milk is not always a viable option for calcium.
Vitamin D is produced in the skin through sun exposure and that’s why Vitamin D is called the sunshine vitamin, but given our long winters, it is often difficult for our bodies to produce sufficient amounts of vitamin D.
So how do you keep your bones healthy?
Well as mentioned, if you can have milk make sure you choose a milk product that has vitamin D added. Low-fat yogurt is another option. If you have dietary restrictions, calcium-fortified foods are a good option as well such as: soy milk, cereal, breakfast bars or fruit juice.
As for Vitamin D: canned salmon/tuna, egg yolks, or vitamin D-fortified orange juice, cereal, yoghurt or margarine are great options.
Them Bones, Them Bones, Them Bones…
People get about 300 mg calcium from non-dairy foods daily. If you eat three servings of high-calcium foods, you can get around 1200 mg per day total. You can use a 300 mg calcium supplement in place of a serving of a high-calcium food. But get your calcium from diet when possible.
Try to determine if your regular diet has enough calcium and vitamin D already before making any drastic changes. If you consume any of the above foods daily, check the labels to see if you’re meeting your nutritional requirements.
Women (up to 50 years old) and men (up to 70 years old) are recommended to have a daily intake of 1000 mg of calcium.
Women and men over the above ages should get about 1200 mg of calcium daily.
It’s recommended that adults get 800 IU to 2000 IU of vitamin D daily. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to see what number is perfect for you.
Help, my Diet is Low in Nutrients
Worry not if after checking your regular diet and seeing you’re not getting enough of either calcium of vitamin D. The easiest route to take would be supplements.
When picking a daily supplement, you need to consider a few things:
Choose a calcium product with calcium carbonate or calcium citrate. Calcium citrate may be better for patients who don’t absorb calcium well (IE elderly or on heartburn medication).
Read the label to check the amount of calcium per tablet. Calcium is best absorbed if not more than 500 mg is taken at a time.
Vitamin D comes as D3 or D2, both will raise vitamin D levels in your body, but at high doses vitamin D3 seems to be almost twice as potent. As such, the Osteoporosis Society of Canada recommends D3 over D2. Most over the counter vitamin D supplements are D3.
If you’re in the US, look for a USP verified supplement. Canadians should keep an eye out for a product with a Natural Product Number (NPN). These mean that the product is good quality.
But I Heard Supplements are Dangerous
The truth is you need to be cautious about your calcium intake through supplements. Absorption of calcium through foods is typically not dangerous, however too much of anything can be risky.
New evidence suggests these supplements are linked to dementia. But this is mainly in elderly women who’ve had a stroke, and it still does not prove that calcium supplements cause dementia. In addition, previous concerns about calcium supplements and cardiovascular risk may not be as significant as once thought. A recent analysis suggests calcium intake that doesn’t exceed the recommended upper limit is not associated with a higher cardiovascular risk.
To determine if you are at risk it’s best to ask your doctor or talk to the friendly pharmacists at Capsule.
Don’t Make the Choice Alone
If you think you might need a supplement come on down to Capsule Pharmacy and we will be happy to help you make the right choice for a healthier you!
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