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Nutrition

Vitamin D & Calcium For Bone Health

 We need a lot of important nutrients to keep our body healthy. Without some of these essential minerals, body may have improper functioning. As a result, making it pertinent to focus thoroughly on what we eat and consume.

Vitamin D and calcium are among the needed nutrients. Both of them help sustain stronger, denser bones as the person grows older. A deficiency of these substances will put our body at a high risk of bone fractures or impeded development.

This article is your first-hand guide to understanding calcium and vitamin D. What their relationship is with bone health and growth.

Calcium

What is Calcium why is it important?

Calcium plays an important role in our life. We need a sufficient amount of this item for various functions. If we look at the composition of calcium in our body, we see that 99% is stored in bones and teeth. While they may help grow stronger bones, there are other uses we need to look out for.

When you get injured or hurt yourself, your body will activate the clotting mechanism. The clot will form around the wound helping in the recovery process. In addition, stopping the entry of harmful invading microbes. Calcium is thereby needed to help in the clotting function

Moreover, it will also help in the contraction of various muscles and a smooth cardiovascular functioning.

It is important to note one crucial point. The body is unable to produce the needed calcium. Making it even more pertinent to include it in our diet through some external source. If that doesn’t happen then the amount stored in bones starts to break down. Once that occurs, bones become weaker and more prone to injuries.

How much is the daily requirement?

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), is a non-profit organization that publishes annual health statistics. According to EWG, on average 23% of the entire US population has lower levels of calcium. As much as 80% of the young age group (14-18) will be consuming significantly less than the daily required amount.

So how much calcium does one need to eat?

There is no straightforward answer to the above question. It really depends. If one happens to be in the growing childhood stage, then a higher portion is required. Compared to someone who is in his/her middle age. People with bone fractures will require a higher intake to make up for the loss amount.

Age Group

Average Daily Intake (mg/day)

1 to 9 years old

1200

10 to 18 years old

1300

19 to 30 years old

1100

31 to 50 years old

1000

51 and above

1200

The figures may slightly vary for females and males.

Sources

As mentioned earlier we need to obtain calcium from an external source. The source essentially means eating the recommended food items. Dairy products are the best-known sources of calcium. One can have milk, yoghurt, cheese to obtain the necessary amount. On the other hand, some non-dairy products will also yield the required intake. Green vegetables are one healthy source of this nutrient. These vegetables are low in calories and can provide with significant calcium.

According to some medical professionals, one tablespoon of low-fat powdered milk can prove to be effective. Containing 50mg of calcium, the powder can essentially be mixed with anything.

How to note the calcium amount?

The US government makes it mandatory in some states to inform the consumer about the nutrient(s) amount contained in a certain food. This will help a person compare his/her intake with what is officially recommended by medical professionals. To do so, it is important to look for the back of every packaged food item.  DV states the percentage of the total necessary requirement present in the food item. For example, 40% DV of calcium will inform the consumer that 400mg out of 1000mg is present in a particular food.

Supplements

Supplements are the substitute for the natural food items. One should be taking supplement only in specific instances. When the natural food is unable to yield the required intake, then one should resort to supplements. Then again it is important to keep two crucial things in mind.

1.       Supplements should not be preferred over the natural source. While you may get a higher amount from synthetic drugs, side effects are something to look for. Overdosing on some supplements can prove to be costly and result in severe complications.

2.       They should not be consumed without a prior consultation with a doctor. Self-diagnosing or treatment should not be undertaken. Asking the doctor for the daily dosage and type is important to avoid any major medical complication.

Vitamin D

If you ever heard that calcium and vitamin D work side by side, then that happens to be true. You need both the nutrients as one complements the other. Like Calcium, vitamin D is one major component for a healthy body. It protects the bones from injury and provides support to the muscles. However, most importantly, it is needed to aid in the absorption of calcium. No matter how much calcium you obtain, until its absorption is backed with vitamin D, it is of no use.

What is Vitamin D?

Being soluble in fat, vitamin D acts like a steroid hormone. Unlike, calcium a large amount of vitamin D can be produced naturally. When the skin is exposed to sunlight, the body tends to form this substance. The needed amount is utilized while the rest is stored in the available fat.

Daily Vitamin D requirement

Similar to Calcium, medical professionals will prescribe the necessary amount of vitamin D.  The deficiency has been a major concern for medical scientists all over the world. Commonly occurring in women and children, vitamin D affects almost 40% of the US population. The rate significantly higher for the black community living in the USA.  The deficiency will reportedly cause a number of complications. For example

·       Bone loss

·       Higher chances of fracture

·       Decrease in the bone density

·       Lessened muscle strength

Children need a higher intake otherwise the risk of stunted growth amplifies. For all ages, the daily recommended amount varied between 25 to 1000 micrograms per day

Sources

One of the biggest natural sources of Vitamin D is sunlight. Spending a good amount of time in sunlight exposure can replenish the body with the needed amount. The best time to utilize the UV rays is during the early hours of the day. Exposing oneself for 5 to 30 minutes in the time interval between 10 am to 3 pm is sufficient to get the required amount.

In addition, some seafood is known to contain healthy amounts of vitamin D. Seafood items particularly salmon is loaded with the nutrient easily fulfilling the daily requirement. Egg yolk is one other main source.

Moreover, supplements for Vitamin D are also available. However, not to be consumed without a prior consultation from a medical professional.

Reference:

https://www.ewg.org/research/how-much-is-too-much/appendix-b-vitamin-and-mineral-deficiencies-us#.W5AewugzbD4

 

Samuel Mayer

Samuel has been part of Top Health Journal for quite a while now. He has immense interest in medicine and thoroughly enjoys writing about this theme. His philosophy is: write simple and short, always assuming your reader to be a layman who knows nothing about the topic. Twitter- @SamuelM54534849

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