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Calcium and vitamin D:How to Get What You Need

Calcium is crucial for maintaining bone health and vitamin D is required for proper absorption of calcium in the body. A lack of these two nutrients can lead to several health problems; it is therefore necessary to ingest adequate amount of calcium a

Exercise & Fitness By Ariba Khaliq / Sep 19, 2014

Importance of Calcium and Vitamin D

Without enough calcium and vitamin D, your bones are at an increased risk of becoming thin and brittle in the later years of life. And when we say enough calcium and vitamin D, we mean a supply of these nutrients throughout life. Thin and weak bones break easily and are prone to serious injuries. This is why it is important to get enough calcium and vitamin D for both children and adults.

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Vitamin D Helps Absorb Calcium

Muscles with insufficient calcium can cramp, hurt or feel weak and your body may need vitamin D to absorb the calcium that you take. So for stronger bones, a healthy heart, and painless muscles, you must ingest the recommended amount of both calcium and vitamin D. In fact, children without enough vitamin D and hence calcium in their bodies, don’t grow as much as others their age. They are also at a risk of getting rickets (a disease of weak bones).

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Recommended Amount of Daily Calcium

Here is the encouraged age-wise daily limit of how much calcium a person should take: Age 1-3 years: 700 mg; 4–8 years: 1,000 mg; 9-18 years: 1300 mg; 19-50 years: 1000 mg, Males of 51-70 years: 1000 mg; females of 51-70 years: 1200 mg; 71 and older: 1200 mg.

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Recommended Amount of Daily Vitamin D

Starting from the age of 1 year, a person’s requirement for vitamin D is same until they are 70 years old. This limit has been set to 600 mg. People aged 71 years and older, should increase this amount to 800 mg. Pregnant and lactating mothers need the same amount of calcium and vitamin D as other women their age.

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How to Get More Calcium

Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt are rich sources of calcium. And so are vegetables like broccoli, kale, and Chinese cabbage. You can also get calcium through soft edible bones found in canned sardines and salmon. In addition, cereals, juices, soy drinks, and tofu. You should read the label on the packaging of a food item to know how much calcium it contains.

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How to Get More Vitamin D

Salmon, tuna, and mackerel are some tasty sources of vitamin D. In fact, nothing but sunlight is a better option for getting vitamin D other than these fish. Other foods that have vitamin D, but in small amounts, include cheese, egg yolks, and beef liver. You can also get vitamin D from fortified foods such as milk and some cereals, orange juices, yogurts, margarines, and soy drinks.

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Who Might not Get Adequate Calcium

Fortified foods provide adequate calcium to most people. But girls between the age of 9 and 18 years need more calcium from foods to meet their daily needs. But in reality they stand a risk of not getting enough of it. They may need calcium supplements to make up for the shortage of this nutrient.

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Things that Reduce Body’s Production of Vitamin D

Your skin colour is a big factor in cutting down the amount of vitamin D your body makes. Dark skin, such that of African-Americans’ plays a role in decreasing this amount. Being older than 65 years of age, having digestive problems like Crohn’s or Celiac disease, suffering from liver and kidney diseases all mar your body’s output.

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Risks of Excessive Calcium and Vitamin D

Too much calcium may lead to the formation of kidney stones in your body and cause constipation. Taking too much vitamin D can damage your kidneys and tissues and cause nausea and vomiting, constipation, and weakness. Getting too much vitamin D increases the amount of calcium in your blood. If this happens, you can become confused and have an irregular heart rhythm.

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Vitamin D Check

You can check your vitamin D levels through blood tests but all laboratories do not have a set normal range to measure it. The U.S. Institute of Medicine recommends a blood level of 20 ng/mL of vitamin D for healthy bones. And you should meet this goal.

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