Vitamin D and Calcium
The Better Life Experts | June 18, 2009

Vitamin D is vital to bone mineralization in the body; it functions as a conductor in the orchestra, directing and regulating calcium as well as other minerals into the bone. It has received much more media attention recently and your physician may have told you to supplement with Vitamin D in your last physical examination for very good reasons. Without adequate amounts of Vitamin D, the body cannot use calcium properly. Over time, our bones will lose calcium, the skeleton supporting our muscles, tissues and organs will weaken, the risk for fractures increases, our body’s ability to heal damaged bones diminishes and ultimately, regardless or whether you are male or female, osteoporosis occurs.

Vitamin D is produced in our bodies through the sun. People who have regular exposure to sunlight are less likely to suffer from Vitamin D deficiencies, but if you live in areas that have smog, excessive cloudiness or wear sunscreen every day, your body may not be able to make enough Vitamin D. Northern states that experience cold, wintry weather usually do not experience enough strong sunlight to allow for the body’s production of adequate amounts of Vitamin D during winter months.

Some foods in the United States, such as processed milk, cheese, yogurt, juices, margarine and breakfast cereals are fortified with Vitamin D. Eggs and some fish (salmon, tuna and mackerel) contain natural amounts of Vitamin D. Plant foods do not contain Vitamin D and if your diet is strictly vegetarian, you may be deficient and should probably supplement with daily multi-vitamin(s). Even though Vitamin D and calcium work together, they do not have to be taken at the same time in order to be effective; Vitamin D just has to be in the diet at a consistent level along with calcium.

A cautionary note: Vitamin D is stored in the body and overexposure can cause toxicity. Excess supplementation with Vitamin D through supplements and not through food or sunlight, is generally the culprit in overdose cases.

Vitamin D Requirements (National Academy of Sciences, 1997)
IU = International Units

Birth – 50 years of age 200 IU
51 – 70 years of age 400 IU
71+ years of age 600 IU
Pregnant women 200 IU
Nursing women 200 IU

Sources of Vitamin D

1 cup fortified fat-free milk 100 IU
1 cup fortified cereal 60 IU
1 Tbsp. fortified margarine 60 IU
1 Egg (large) 25 IU
3 ½ oz. salmon 360 IU
3 oz. tuna (canned) 200 IU
1 Multivitamin with 100% DV 400 IU
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