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How Vitamin D and Calcium Encourage Healthy Bones

If you suffer from osteoporosis, arthritis, or other bone health issues, you may want to evaluate your calcium and vitamin D consumption. Calcium and vitamin D are essential nutrients that work together to build, protect, and heal your bones. Vitamin D and calcium are also crucial for proper muscle movement, fighting inflammation, and nerve communication.


Calcium and Your Bones

Your bones serve as the home to 99.5 percent of all the calcium in your body. Your body requires sufficient calcium for creating your teeth and bones, as well as for preserving bone density. Contrary to what many people believe, your bones are living tissue composed primarily of the protein collagen. Calcium phosphate is the mineral responsible for strengthening and hardening your bones.

While eating calcium-rich foods may not stop bone loss, it provides your body with the raw materials it needs to build bones. If you follow a vegan diet, are lactose-intolerant or have health conditions that inhibit calcium absorption, consider speaking to your doctor about calcium supplements. Exercise, along with avoiding smoking, can also help keep your bones healthy and strong.

Some foods with high calcium content include:

  • Cheese and milk
  • Ice cream
  • Tofu
  • Yogurt
  • Sardines
  • Salmon
  • Leafy greens, including collards and spinach


Your daily calcium requirement will vary based on your age, gender, health conditions, and other factors. For example, older adults often have risk factors that can harm bone health, including low calcium intake, low levels of vitamin D and poor calcium absorption. In addition, the body’s need to remove some calcium in bones to keep blood levels normal can contribute to bone density loss. If you’re low on calcium and you are unable to get the amount you need from food alone, your doctor may recommend a supplement.

Recommended Calcium Consumption for Women

Adult women (19 to 50) are recommended to get 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day with a daily upper limit of 2,500 milligrams. Surprisingly, women have a higher risk than men of developing osteoporosis. This is partly because women often have smaller bones and lose bone density quickly in the first few years following menopause due to hormonal changes. Because of this, women over age 51 are advised to get at least 1,200 milligrams per day, with an upper limit of 2,000 milligrams.

Recommended Calcium Consumption for Men

Men ages 19 - 70 should receive at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day. Men ages 71 and older are advised to get 1,200 milligrams per day, with an upper limit of 2,000 milligrams. This is because ss men age, their lowered production of testosterone can result in reduced bone mass.


Vitamin D

The human digestive system only absorbs approximately 20 percent of calcium obtained through diet on its own. This is why vitamin D is crucial for bone health, as it helps our bodies absorb the full spectrum of consumed calcium.

Vitamin D plays a vital role in calcium absorption. For most people, the sun typically serves as the biggest source of vitamin D. A small number of foods, including egg yolks and bone-in salmon, contain vitamin D. In addition, some dairy products and other foods are fortified with vitamin D.

Experts typically recommend a minimum of 800 to 1,000 international units of vitamin D per day depending on your age, gender, and other conditions. Your doctor may suggest a supplement if you’re unable to get enough vitamin D from foods and the sun. In some cases, older adults may need additional vitamin D for the sole purpose of aiding calcium absorption. However, experts caution that too much vitamin D may be harmful. This is why it is important to consult your doctor before taking any vitamin D supplements.

For those who lack the proper levels of vitamin D, The Institute of Medicine recommends the following supplement dosages:

  • For young children up to 1-year-old — 400 to 1,000 international units daily.
  • For children 1 to 18 years old – 600 to 1,000 international units daily.
  • For adults over age 18 — 1,500 to 2,000 international units daily.


Whether you are suffering from a health condition that weakens your bones, are healing from orthopedic surgery, or just want to keep your bones healthy and strong, vitamin D and calcium are crucial for the health and wellness of your bones. If you want to know how to get the most calcium and vitamin D for your individual needs, you should always have a conversation with your trusted orthopedic physician or surgeon.


At Prime Surgical Suites, we provide state-of-the-art, cost-effective musculoskeletal surgical care in a convenient and comfortable outpatient setting for patients of all ages. Located in RiverCrest Medical Park, we are the region's first outpatient center focused exclusively on orthopedics. Our physician-led center will help restore your active lifestyle and well-being with compassion and orthopedic excellence.







Tags: Bone Health