Calcium & Vitamin D for Bone Health

Getting enough calcium in your diet is important for people of all ages. Read on for tips on the foods and supplements that can help you keep your bones healthy and strong.

Calcium requirements

Your body requires different levels of calcium at various stages of life.
Recommended dietary allowance of calcium, by age:
Infants 0-6 months – 200 mg*
Infants 7-12 months – 260 mg*
Children 1-3 years – 700 mg
Children 4-8 years – 1,000 mg
Children 9-18 years – 1,300 mg
Adults 19-59 years – 1,000 mg
Men 51-70 years – 1,000 mg
Women 51-70 years – 1,200 mg
Adults over 70 years – 1,200 mg
Pregnancy & lactation, 14-18 years – 1,300 mg
Pregnancy & lactation, 19-50 years  –  1,000 mg
* “Adequate Intake” rather than “Recommended Dietary Allowance”

Calcium in foods

Knowing where to look for good food sources of calcium can be a challenge, so here is a useful breakdown of some common food sources and how much calcium they contain:
Milk and Milk Products
Milk – 2%, 1%, skim, chocolate (1 cup/250 ml) – 300 mg
Cheese – Mozzarella (1 ¼”/3 cm cube) – 285 mg
Yogurt – Plain (¾ cup/185 ml) – 295 mg
Ice cream (½ cup/125 ml) – 80 mg
Fish and Alternatives
Sardines, with bones (½ can/55 g) – 200 mg
Salmon, with bones (canned) (½ can/105 g) – 300 mg
Fortified rice or soy drink (1 cup/250 ml) – 95 mg
Sesame seeds (½ cup/125 ml) – 75 mg
Beans, baked (½ cup/125 ml) – 130 mg
Tofu, with calcium sulfate (3 oz/84 g) – 130 mg
Bread and Cereals
Bread, whole wheat (2 slices) – 40 mg
Instant oatmeal, calcium added (1 pouch/32 g) – 150 mg
Muffin, bran (from recipe, made from milk) (1 medium) – 84 mg
Fruits and Vegetables
Broccoli, cooked (¾ cup/185 ml) – 50 mg
Orange (1 medium) – 50 mg
Bok Choy (½ cup/125 ml) – 75 mg
Figs, dried (10) – 150 mg
Fortified orange juice (1 cup/250 ml) – 300 mg


Calcium supplements

When your diet is not providing you with enough calcium, you may benefit from a calcium supplement, which can come in different forms: tablets, capsules or liquids.
When choosing a supplement, consider the amount of calcium per dose (this will be the amount of “elemental” calcium in each tablet). This amount will be the true value for your daily intake.
There are various forms of calcium: calcium alone (calcium carbonate), calcium citrate, calcium with magnesium, calcium with vitamin D, and calcium with vitamin D mixed with other bone minerals.
All forms of calcium except citrate should be taken with food for optimal absorption. Ask the Pharmacist at Walmart for assistance in choosing a calcium supplement and be sure to discuss any other medications you may be taking.

Vitamin D & bone health

Don’t forget to get enough vitamin D in your diet. Vitamin D helps the body use and absorb calcium, which helps prevent bone loss.
It is thought that some Canadians may not get enough vitamin D through exposure to sunlight. Try to get increased vitamin D from foods such as fatty fish (salmon and mackerel), milk, margarine and fortified beverages. Fish, liver, and egg yolk are the only foods that naturally contain vitamin D.


Recommended vitamin D intake

Here are some recommended and maximum daily levels of vitamin D intake, by age:
Infants 0-6 months
            Recommended – 400 IU/day*
            Tolerable upper level – 1,000 IU/day
Infants 7-12 months
            Recommended – 400 IU/day*
            Tolerable upper level – 1,500 IU/day
Children 1-3 years
            Recommended – 600 IU/day
            Tolerable upper level – 2,500 IU/day
Children 4-8 years
            Recommended – 600 IU/day
            Tolerable upper level – 3,000 IU/day
Adults 9-70 years
            Recommended – 600 IU/day
            Tolerable upper level – 4,000 IU/day
Adults over 70 years
            Recommended – 800 IU/day
            Tolerable upper level – 4,000 IU/day
* “Adequate Intake” rather than “Recommended Dietary Allowance”
For people who do not get enough vitamin D through nutrition, supplementation may be an option. Need a recommendation? The Pharmacist at Walmart can help. Just ask.

Important information

The Pharmacist at Walmart is knowledgeable about your body’s needs for calcium and vitamin D. Wondering about the best foods to eat or whether you should consider a supplement? Just ask!

This information should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your doctor. There may be variations in treatment that your physician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances. If you have questions about your symptoms, ask the Pharmacist at Walmart for more information, and/or contact your doctor.

This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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