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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

How Calcium And Vitamin D work Together?

Calcium is an important mineral that is required for bone metabolism and homeostasis. Do you know that for proper absorption of calcium, vitamin D is required? Learn the sources of vitamin D and how it works with calcium for healthy bones.

What is the Role of Calcium and Vitamin D in the Body?

Calcium and vitamin D bone metabolism

Calcium pills, Credits: pixabay

Calcium is the building block of the bone. Most of the calcium is stored in the bones.

When you are deficient in calcium, your body cannot make calcium and it starts taking calcium from the bones, leading to loss of bone strength and osteoporosis.

Hence you must consume calcium-rich foods to build and maintain your bones.

Whatever amount of calcium you intake, if you do not have enough vitamin D, the calcium cannot do the desired job. So vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium. Vitamin D refers to vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) or vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol).

The functions of vitamin D include promoting strong bones, helps muscles function properly, and encourage an effective immune system. Vitamin D is essential for bone remodeling and bone growth and helps to prevent hypocalcemia. Both calcium and vitamin D work together for healthy bones.

Apart from bone metabolism, vitamin D also helps prevent autoimmune diseases, prevention of falls, prevention of hypertension, and diabetes. Screening for vitamin D deficiency is a must for patients with osteoporosis and autoimmune diseases.

What are the Sources of Calcium and Vitamin D?

Tofu contains Calcium

Tofu, Credits: pixabay

Food Sources of CalciumSources of vitamin DFortified cerealsSun exposure through skinCheddar CheeseEgg yolksNonfat or low-fat milkFish liver oilYogurtBeef liver

SoybeansFortified milk, orange juice, and soy milkTofuFortified cerealsCanned salmon in oil with edible bonesBroccoli, cabbage, bok choy

What are the Factors That Affect Vitamin D Production?


Sunlight, Credits: pixabay

Our skin makes vitamin D from the ultraviolet light in sunlight. Vitamin D can be obtained from sunlight exposure for five to 30 minutes between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. twice a week to your face, arms, legs, or back without sunscreen. However, people with fair skin should protect themselves from skin cancer and limit sun exposure to 10 minutes.

Our body stores vitamin and uses when it is required. The time of the day, season, latitude, and skin pigmentation affect the amount of vitamin D that our body makes.

In some individuals, during the winter months, vitamin D production may be absent or low. In such instances, vitamin D rich foods need to be consumed or vitamin D supplements should be taken.

What is the Recommended Daily Allowance of Calcium and Vitamin D?

The following table represents the recommended daily allowance of calcium and vitamin D according to age, sex, and hormone status.National Osteoporosis Foundation Calcium RecommendationsChildren & AdolescentsCalcium (Daily)Vitamin D (Daily)1 to 3 years500 mg400 IU**4 tto 8 years800 mg400 IU**9 to18 years1,300 mg400 IU**Adult Women & MenCalcium (Daily)Vitamin D (Daily)19 to 49 years1,000 mg400-800 IU50 years and over1,200 mg800-1000 IUPregnant & Breastfeeding WomenCalcium (Daily)Vitamin D (Daily)18 years and under1,300 mg400-800 IU19 years and over1,000 mg400-800 IU

** Vitamin D recommendations are as per American Academy of Pediatrics

You may require extra calcium if you are post-menopausal or have any digestive issues that interfere with nutrient absorption.

When Vitamin D Deficiency is seen?

Vitamin D deficiency is seen in the elderly

Old woman, Credits: pixabay

You may be deficient of vitamin D, if

  1. You spend little time in the sun

  2. Have a very dark skin

  3. You are more than 50 years, and your body cannot make enough vitamin D efficiently

  4. Have any digestive issues that affect nutrient absorption of calcium and vitamin D

  5. You are overweight, and vitamin D gets trapped in body fat and becomes less available for the body’s

Take-Home Message

Calcium and vitamin D are essential for bone metabolism and homeostasis. It is important to take enough calcium and vitamin D for bone growth.

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