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Calcium and Vitamin D for Health

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Are you getting enough vitamin D and calcium for your health? Recent research reveals that too much of calcium and vitamin D, got through supplements, can be harmful. High dosage of these two elements can cause heart disease and kidney stones. This article looks at the benefits and risks of calcium and vitamin D for health.

Osteoporosis Epidemic
Vitamin D and calcium are inter-connected. The presence of vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium. But, do you need supplements or is it enough to consume foods fortified with these nutrients? In the U.S., fractures and osteoporosis have reached epidemic proportions among the elderly. Women are more at risk because of loss of estrogen at menopause, which leads to loss in bone density. Three factors are important: your diet, your family and personal history of fractures, and general habits that can affect bone health.

Diet is Important

Your diet, right from childhood, dictates the calcium amount in the bones. In the U.S., cheese, yogurt and milk are the mainly consumed foods that contain calcium. But, milk consumption has been declining, especially during adolescence, an important stage for bone development. Other calcium-rich foods include canned salmon consumed with bones, sardines and almonds. Besides, there are also calcium-fortified items such as tofu, breakfast cereals, soy milk and orange juice.

Useful Supplements

If you are not getting enough calcium through your diet, you can take supplements of calcium carbonate or calcium citrate. Calcium carbonate needs to be consumed with meals for proper absorption. Calcium citrate could be consumed any time. Many calcium supplements also have vitamin D.

Sunlight Exposure for Vitamin D

Usually, most vitamin D is obtained through exposure to sunlight. The daily requirement is exposure to sunlight for 15 minutes. But, sunscreens which are used to prevent wrinkles and skin cancer, block the absorption of vitamin D. Besides sunlight, milk, yogurt, fish liver oil, liver, egg yolks, mackerel and salmon also contain vitamin D.

Tips for Bone Health
Do weight-training exercises regularly. Avoid smoking, eating salty foods, drinking too much alcohol or coffee and consume enough protein. Limit your soda intake to two daily cans of 12-ounces each. In fact, soda should only be consumed occasionally and not regularly.

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