Calcium is an essential nutrient for achieving peak bone mass and
for modifying the loss of bone associated with aging. Most Americans
have an inadequate daily intake of calcium. Optimum calcium intake
can be through diet, calcium-fortified foods, calcium supplements,
or a combination of these. In light of recent research on calcium intake
and its effects on bone mass and prevention of osteoporosis, the National
Osteoporosis Foundation has developed the following recommendations,
published in 1998:
All adults should have a calcium intake of at least 1200 mg per
day, including supplements if necessary.
Since most adults have a diet with less than 600 mg calcium per
day, supplements are often required.
Individuals at risk for vitamin D deficiency should have 400 –
800 I. U. vitamin D per day.
Anyone over the age of 65, anyone who is never exposed to the sun,
anyone with malnutrition, and anyone with chronic intestinal problems
may be at risk for vitamin D deficiency. A typical multivitamin tablet
contains 400 I.U. vitamin D.
Remember, for calcium to help with good bone health, it must be absorbed
from the intestinal tract, circulate through the blood stream, and
be deposited in bone. It is not enough to just take in enough calcium
every day – you must also have a functioning intestinal tract
and an adequate amount of vitamin D. People with intestinal diseases
which impair the absorption of certain nutrients, those with problems
with vitamin D deficiency, and those taking medications which effect
the metabolism of calcium or vitamin D, may have special needs. Ask
your doctor for more information.
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