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Calcium, Vitamin D and Bone Health
ay is Osteoporosis month and Saint Alexius food and nutrition expert, Shelley Porter, talks about that.
Learn about maintaining your calcium intake and getting enough vitamin D in your diet.
Calcium is the most important nutrient in building up bone mass. Adequate supplies need to occur over the lifetime. Calcium needs are greater during childhood and adolescence and in women during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Studies show that few adolescents meet their calcium needs during this critical time of building bone mass.
Postmenopausal women and older men also need to consume more calcium. Recommended calcium intakes during late childhood and the teen years are 1300 mg/day and then drop to around 1000 mg/day till about age 51 when they again rise to 1200 mg. One cup of milk contains around 300 mg/day. We need to focus on 3-4 servings of dairy per day to meet our needs.
Dietary sources of calcium are milk, dark green leafy vegetables, sardines and salmon with bones, soy products and calcium-fortified foods. Non food sources would be a calcium supplement.
Vitamin D-Is made in the skin after exposure to sunlight. About 15 minutes outdoors during the 10 am-2 pm time is recommended. It helps the body absorb calcium. Dietary sources are fortified milk (100 IU in 8 oz milk), cod liver oil, salmon and other fatty fish, yogurt, and fortified cereals. Can be obtained from multivitamins or calcium supplement with added vitamin D or a Vitamin D3 tablet. Recommended intakes are 400 IU for infants, 600 IU up to age 70 and 800 IU after age 70. Vitamin D production decreases in the elderly, those housebound or with darkly pigmented skin or those taking certain medications.
You should follow the advice of your physician as far as recommended Vitamin D intakes. If you have low levels, you may need high doses to build up your levels.