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Calcium & Vitamin D for Your Bones

Calcium & Vitamin D for Your Bones

Healthy eating is one of the top ways you can keep your bones strong throughout your lifespan. To help keep your bones strong your body needs a balanced diet with a variety of foods, especially foods rich in calcium and Vitamin D.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

You can treat your waistline and your wallet equally well.

Calcium

Calcium is the most important mineral for your bones since it helps to build new bone mass when we are young, and preserve it when we get older. Many people fall short in calcium so read on to be sure you are getting enough from food and/or supplements. The top sources of calcium include canned salmon, canned sardines, milk, yogurt, cheese, fortified soy/rice beverages, some green veggies, almonds, tofu and some grains1.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for proper absorption of calcium and therefore can significantly affect your bones if you don’t get enough. Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin” since we synthesize it in the skin after sun exposure. However, the use of sunscreens, older age, living in northern latitudes as well as changes in sun exposure in the winter months make it hard for us to get enough vitamin D1. There are only a few food sources that are rich in vitamin D such as fatty fish, milk, eggs and tofu.

How Much Calcium & Vitamin D do I Need?2

 

Daily Calcium Goal

 

Daily Vitamin D Goal

 

0-6 months

 

210 mg

 

5 mcg (200 IU)

 

7-12 months

 

270 mg

 

5 mcg (200 IU)

 

1-3 years

 

500 mg

 

5 mcg (200 IU)

 

4-8 years

 

800 mg

 

5 mcg (200 IU)

 

9-18 years

 

1300 mg

 

5 mcg (200 IU)

 

19-50 years

 

1000 mg

 

5 mcg (200 IU)

 

51-70 years

 

1200 mg

 

10 mcg (400 IU)

 

>70 years

 

1200 mg

 

15 mcg (600 IU)

 

Pregnancy/Lactation:

 

 

 

14-18 years

 

1300 mg

 

5 mcg (200 IU)

 

19-50 years

 

1000 mg

 

5 mcg (200 IU)

 

If you have osteoporosis your doctor may recommend higher levels of calcium and vitamin D. The Canadian Medical Association and the Dietitians of Canada recommend 1500 mg of calcium and 800 IU of vitamin D for treatment of osteoporosis3. Talk to your doctor or dietitian about what is best for you to ensure you are getting enough.

What are the Best Sources of Calcium & Vitamin D?4

Top Sources of CALCIUM

 

Calcium

 

½ can (123g) canned sockeye salmon, solids with bone & liquids

 

420 mg

 

1 cup (250 ml) calcium fortified orange juice

 

371 mg

 

1 ½ oz (50g) hard cheese

 

360 mg

 

1 cup (250 ml) fortified soy/rice beverage

 

319 mg

 

1 cup (250 ml) milk

 

307 mg

 

100 g medium or firm tofu (prepared with calcium sulfate)

 

231 mg

 

¾ cup (175g) fruit flavored yogurt

 

214 mg

 

½ can (46g) Atlantic sardines, drained solids with bones

 

176 mg

 

1 cup (250 ml) Baked beans

 

150 mg

 

60 ml (36g) Almonds

 

89 mg

 

1 cup (250ml) Broccoli

 

44 mg

 

Calcium Supplements

 

variable

 

 

Top Sources of VITAMIN D

 

Vitamin D

 

½ can (123g) canned sockeye salmon, solids with bone & liquids

 

24 mcg (960 IU)

 

100 g raw Atlantic Salmon

 

6 mcg (240 IU)

 

100 g raw Atlantic/Pacific Halibut

 

3.8 mcg (152 IU)

 

1 cup (250 ml) milk

 

2.6 mcg (104 IU)

 

1 cup (250 ml) fortified soy/rice beverage

 

2.2 mcg (88 IU)

 

1 tbsp. fortified margarine

 

1.9 mcg (76 IU)

 

2 large eggs

 

1.3 mcg (52 IU)

 

100g light tuna in water, drained

 

1.2 mcg (48 IU)

 

½ can Atlantic Sardines, drained solids with bones

 

1.1 mcg (44 IU)

 

Vitamin D supplements

 

variable

 

For a more detailed list of calcium and vitamin D found in foods, click on this link to download The Nutrient Value of Common Foods (Adobe® Reader® is required), or visit Health Canada’s Canadian Nutrient File at www.healthcanada.gc.ca/cnfonline.

Should I Take a Supplement?

Talk to your doctor and/or dietitian about calcium and vitamin D supplements and they can help you decide if you need a supplement and how much to take.

More Information

For more information on osteoporosis and bone health visit our article Keep Your Bones Strong.

References:

1National Institute of Health Osteoporosis & Related Bone Diseases National Resource Centre www.osteo.org.

2Dietary Reference Intakes. Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/reference/table/ref_macronutr_tbl_e.html#29

CMAJ. 2002 clinical practice guidelines for the diagnosis and management of osteoporosis in Canada. Nov. 12, 2002; 167 (10 suppl).

Health Canada Canadian Nutrient File: www.healthcanada.gc.ca/cnfonline