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Calcium and Vitamin D: Setting The Facts Straight

Calcium and Vitamin D | Foodfacts.com

Calcium and Vitamin D | Foodfacts.com

In December the Institute of Medicine released a report setting new recommended dietary intake levels for calcium and vitamin D, Foodfacts.com has learned.

Your body needs calcium and vitamin D to keep your bones healthy. Calcium is a mineral found in your bones and other organs and tissues of your body. Your body continually adds and subtracts calcium from your bones. When your body takes more calcium from your bones than it can replace, you develop thinning bones that can lead to osteoporosis, a disease characterized by weak and brittle bones. Vitamin D is needed for your body to absorb calcium.

The report states that most adult Americans, up to age 70, need 600 IU (international units) of vitamin D per day and adults older than 70 need 800 IU per day. This is an increase over the previous recommendation of 400 IU per day for adults.

These new intake levels were determined by a committee who reviewed more than 1,000 published studies.

Additionally, studies were reviewed on vitamin D’s possible role in preventing or offering protection against other diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes and the studies proved inconclusive on vitamin D’s other possible health effects.

The report stated that most Americans get enough vitamin D through fortified foods and supplements and that extra supplementation may not be necessary.

The committee set a safe upper limit intake of 4,000 IU of vitamin D per day for adults. What this means is this is that 4,000 IU is the highest amount of vitamin D per day that is considered safe before a person starts to have negative effects on their health from too much vitamin D.

Vitamin D is not found in many foods but the best source is fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and tuna. Other food sources include egg yolks, beef liver, cheese and vitamin D fortified foods like milk, some orange juice, some yogurts and some breakfast cereals.

The new dietary reference intake for calcium is 1000mg per day for women up to age 51 and for men up to age 70. The recommendation is 1,200mg per day for women aged 51 to 70. The recommended DRI for adults 71 and older is 1,200 mg per day.

Calcium is more easily found in food than vitamin D. Look for calcium in dairy foods including milk, yogurt, ice cream and cheese.

Not a fan of dairy foods? Look for calcium in these non-dairy foods: calcium fortified cereals, soy beverages and orange juice; sardines, collard greens, blackstrap molasses, spinach, turnip greens, cooked soybeans and canned white beans.

Most daily multiple vitamins provide vitamin D and calcium. Check the labels to determine how many IU of vitamin D and milligrams of calcium are in each pill. Knowing this information can help you decide what foods you need to include each day that is good sources of these nutrients.

You’ve learned more about calcium and Vitamin D. Now, learn more about the foods you consume by scoring them with the amazing Food Facts Health Score. Start using it today with FREE membership at Foodfacts.com.
Source:        The Daily News Online

Image:         Louisiana Arthritis Clinic

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