Calcium and Vitamin D

The Role of Calcium

Calcium is important to postmenopausal Women because, although it cannot prevent osteoporosis on its own, adequate daily intake may help to slow down bone loss. Calcium is a mineral that not only promotes good bone health, but has other benefits that impact your overall well-being.

Recommended Daily Calcium Intake (mg/day)

Age Male Female Pregnant Lactating
0 – 6 months 200 200    
7 – 12 months 260 260    
1 – 3 700 700    
4 – 8 1000 1000    
9 – 13 1300 1300    
14 – 18 1300 1300 1300 1300
19 – 50 1000 1000 1000 1000
51 – 70 1000 1200    
71+ 1200 1200    

The amount of calcium needed for good bone health is influenced by diet, hormones, medications, ago, and genetic factors. Furthermore, your recommended daily intake of calcium changes over your lifetime. Therefore, it is important for you to discuss your unique calcium needs with your doctor or healthcare provider.

Sources of Calcium

Most dietary calcium comes from dairy products, but other foods are excellent sources as well. Below is a table of some foods that contain calcium.

Food Serving Size Calcium
Grated parmesan cheese 1 oz 390
Collard greens 1 cup 357
Sardines, canned in oil 8 medium 354
Rhubarb, cooked, added sugar 1 cup 348
Yogurt, low fat, fruit flavored 8 oz 345
Gruyere cheese 1 oz 308
Milk, skim 1 cup 303
Calcium – fortified orange juice 1 cup 300
Blackstrap molasses 2 tablespoons 274
Figs, dried 10 figs 269
Spinach, cooked 1 cup 245
Cheddar cheese 1 oz 211
Creamed cottage cheese 1 cup 211
Broccoli, cooked, drained 1 medium spear 205
American cheese processed 1 oz slice 195
Salmon, canned 3 oz 167

It is best of obtain daily requirements form dietary sources, but supplements can be used if you cannot get enough
calcium in your diet. Talk with your healthcare provider about the use of supplements since there are several different types of calcium and many different supplements available. If you take supplements, the calcium is best absorbed if taken with meals and if the dose is split so that you take no more than 500 mg at one time.

The Role of Vitamin D

For calcium to be effective, it needs to be properly absorbed by the body. Adequate levels of vitamin D are needed for the best calcium absorption. Your body manufactures vitamin D in response to sunlight. Chief dietary sources of vitamin D include Vitamin D-fortified milk and cereals, egg yolks, saltwater fish, and liver. However, some people amy need to supplement these natural sources. The amount of vitamin D found in multivitamins is generally enough for proper calcium absorption, but too much vitamin D can be harmful, so be sure to speak to your doctor or healthcare provider before adding a vitamin D supplement to your diet.

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North American Spine Society
North American Spine Society