Table of Contents
In order to build stronger bones, it is essential that you increase the amount of calcium and vitamin D in your diet. These 2 important nutrients are essential to increasing bone strength and improving your overall bone health.
Calcium helps to support bone growth and maintain bone strength while supporting healthy teeth structure.
Vitamin D helps to aid in calcium absorption and works together with calcium to improve overall bone growth.
Obtain both calcium and vitamin D during the earlier life years
It is important to obtain both of these nutrients during the earlier life years when they are more readily absorbed by the body. Although it was once believed that incorporating more of these nutrients into the diet in advanced age has no positive effect on bone health, the current theory now suggests that adding these nutrients to your diet can improve bone health at any age. Older adults who develop osteoporosis (a disease that causes individuals to suffer from weak, brittle bones that are subject to breaking) who have adequate calcium and vitamin D intake may be able to slow the progression of the disease, preventing painful bone fractures and breaks.
Vitamin D and Calcium dietary intake recommendations
Current recommendations state that adults below age 50 should have a dietary intake of 1,000 milligrams of calcium and 200 IUs (international units) of vitamin D each day. For adults over the age of 50, the recommended intake jumps to 1,200 milligrams of calcium and 400 to 600 IU of vitamin D daily. Supplements are not always necessary, as it is possible to incorporate these requirements into your diet with foods alone. Even if supplementation is needed, by eating the calcium and vitamin-D rich foods listed below, you can decrease the amount of supplements needed, as whole foods are preferable to supplements of any kind.
Although calcium is the mineral we are all familiar with in terms of bone growth and bone strength, it is important to remember that vitamin D is equally important. Vitamin D helps with calcium absorption. Without an adequate amount of vitamin D, calcium will not be properly absorbed by the body. What this means is that you can have an intake that is above and beyond the amount of calcium that is recommended for your age, however, if you are not consuming an adequate amount of vitamin D, your body will not efficiently absorb that calcium. Vitamin D is relatively easy to incorporate.
The skin naturally absorbs vitamin D from sunlight. Just 20 minutes per day of natural sunlight provides adequate vitamin D intake. Fortunately, most calcium-rich foods also have a high amount of vitamin D, which makes obtaining both nutrients through foods relatively simple. For aging adults who suffer from bone loss, the requirements go up, so it is important to speak to your doctor about your specific calcium and vitamin D requirements.