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CALCIUM

CALCIUM

Calcium: A mineral found mainly in the hard part of bones, where it is stored. Calcium is added to bone by cells called osteoblasts and removed from bone by cells called osteoclasts. Calcium is essential for healthy bones and is also important for muscle contraction, heart action, and normal blood clotting. Food sources of calcium include dairy foods; some leafy green vegetables, such as broccoli and collards; canned salmon; clams; oysters; calcium-fortified foods; and soy foods, such as tofu. According to the National Academy of Sciences, adequate intake of calcium is 1 gram daily for both men and women. The upper limit for calcium intake is 2.5 grams daily.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorus as well as facilitates normal immune system function. This vitamin is an essential nutrient important for strong bones. Vitamin D has 2 forms: D2 (obtained from foods you eat) and D3 (obtained from sun exposure). Vitamin D is produced by the body when your skin is exposed to sunlight. You can also get vitamin D through certain foods and supplements. It’s important to get enough of this vital nutrient so you don’t end up with a vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorus as well as facilitates normal immune system function. This vitamin is an essential nutrient important for strong bones. Vitamin D has 2 forms: D2 (obtained from foods you eat) and D3 (obtained from sun exposure). Vitamin D is produced by the body when your skin is exposed to sunlight. You can also get vitamin D through certain foods and supplements. It’s important to get enough of this vital nutrient so you don’t end up with a vitamin D deficiency.

 

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorus as well as facilitates normal immune system function. This vitamin is an essential nutrient important for strong bones. Vitamin D has 2 forms: D2 (obtained from foods you eat) and D3 (obtained from sun exposure). Vitamin D is produced by the body when your skin is exposed to sunlight. You can also get vitamin D through certain foods and supplements. It’s important to get enough of this vital nutrient so you don’t end up with a vitamin D deficiency.

 

Vitamin D can boost your immune system, support muscle function, keep your heart healthy, and aid in brain development. Vitamin D may also reduce your risk of multiple sclerosis and depression.

Your body needs vitamin D to help absorb the calcium and phosphorus in your diet that makes for strong bones. Vitamin D deficiency can cause bone loss, low bone density, and increase your chances of breaking bones. Vitamin D deficiency can also cause rickets in children and a condition called osteomalacia in adults. Symptoms may include weakness and bone pain.

Higher blood levels of vitamin D seem to be associated with a lower risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS). A recent study shows vitamin D may slow the progression of the disease, though the connection between the vitamin and MS is not clear. It is unknown if low levels of vitamin D cause MS or are a result of the disease. MS is more common in areas north of the equator, suggesting that the amount of sunshine one receives is connected to their likelihood of developing MS. People are less likely to develop MS if they have higher vitamin D levels. Supplementation with vitamin D may be beneficial for MS patients, but the dose is yet to be determined.

Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which the body does not use insulin properly and blood sugar levels can rise above normal. Researchers are looking into whether vitamin D can help regulate blood sugar levels. In addition, vitamin D helps with the absorption of calcium, and calcium helps manage sugar in the blood. Studies have found people with vitamin D deficiency have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life, but the link is not conclusive. More research is needed to determine if vitamin D supplementation can help people with type 2 diabetes.

Obesity is a risk factor for low vitamin D levels because the more weight you carry, the more vitamin D your body requires. Studies have also shown vitamin D deficiency may increase your risk of becoming obese later in life. One small study found women with low levels of vitamin D might be more prone to gain weight. Vitamin D and calcium may act as an appetite suppressant as well.

There may be an association between low levels of vitamin D and depression, but studies show mixed results and further research is needed. Vitamin D receptors in the brain have been linked to the development of depression. Vitamin D itself may not ward off depression, but patients who are taking antidepressants along with vitamin D may help reduce symptoms of depression.

The easiest way to get vitamin D is by exposing your skin to direct sunlight, specifically, ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. The more you expose your skin, the more vitamin D your body produces. You only need to spend about half as much time as it takes to turn pink and get sunburn. This means if you are fair-skinned and normally start to turn pink in 30 minutes, you only need 15 minutes of pre-sunscreen sun exposure to produce the vitamin D3 your body needs. The darker your skin, the more time you need in the sun to produce vitamin D. The amount of vitamin D you get from sun exposure depends on the time of day, your skin tone, where you live, and how much skin you expose.

Generally, sun exposure is the best way to get the vitamin D your body needs. Most foods that contain vitamin D only contain small amounts and won’t give you the total amount your body needs.

Foods High in Vitamin D

  • Fatty fish such as salmon or mackerel
  • Beef liver
  • Egg yolks
  • Milk
  • Orange juice fortified with vitamin D
  • Fortified cereals
  • Infant formulas