What is Calcium and Vitamin D, why is it important for our body?
Calcium is a type of chemical element that is crucial for the survival of humans and many other living organisms. Our human body requires a certain amount of calcium in order to maintain healthy bones and allow for other important functions within our body as well (e.g. regulate blood flow, muscle contraction, and heart function etc.). If you consider how hard and strong our teeth and bones are, this is mainly because calcium are mostly stored at these sites.
Without sufficient of calcium, our body will not be able to maintain a normal bone density, this could lead to our bones gradually becoming more and more brittle as we age and may lead to complications such as osteoporosis.
Based on the findings of the National Institute of Health in the US, majority of female adults (70%) in the United States take Calcium supplements as a way to prevent brittle bone diseases and osteoporosis. In general, female adults are more likely to consume inadequate amount of calcium when compared to their male counterparts.
Vitamin D is a type of fat-soluble vitamin that is crucial in increasing the absorption rate of calcium, iron, phosphate, magnesium, and zinc. It can be further broken down into different types of Vitamin Ds, but the most crucial of the pack would be Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3. As you may have already guessed, with the functions of Vitamin D mentioned above, it is important to help maintain strong and healthy bones. It also serves as an important factor to ensure that your heart, lungs, muscles and several other organs are functioning well. There are some studies that shown vitamin D also helps with fending off infections as well!
What is interesting is that your body is able to make its own supply of vitamin D from sunlight. So when your parents told you to go run out in the sun when you are not feeling well, this could be the very reason! Of course, we would also be able to get a small amount of vitamin D from food sources as well. Ultimately, getting the sufficient amount of vitamin D is reliant on sunlight rather than the amount of food with Vitamin D that you take. An alternative is to utilize supplements as well.
What types of food provides me high amounts of Calcium and Vitamin D?
High amount of calcium can be found in abundance in dairy products, such as milk, cheese, yoghurt, etc. You can also find it in seaweeds, different types of beans, tofu and many more!
On the other hand, vitamin D is mainly sourced from sunlight. However, food such as cod liver oil would be a good source of vitamin D.
How much of Calcium and Vitamin D do I need on a daily basis?
Calcium requirements differ by age, a child may require a lower amount but certain populations, such as the elderly or pregnant women will require a higher intake of calcium on a daily basis.
Based on data from the Institute of Medicine, below are the daily requirements of each age group:
- 0 to 6 months: 200mg/day
- 7 to 12 months: 260mg/day
- 1 to 3 years: 700mg/day
- 4 to 8 years: 1 gram/day
- 9 to 18 years: 1.3 gram/day
- 19 to 50 years: 1 gram/day
- Breastfeeding or pregnant women: 1 gram/day
- 51 year old to 70 year old: 1 gram/day (male); 1.2gram/day (female)
- 71 year old +: 1.2 gram/day
How does Calcium and Vitamin D help with weight loss?
Based on a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2009, Calcium and Vitamin D may help overweight people lose weight, but only if they had a low calcium intake from their daily diet to begin with. The researcher explained that a sufficient amount of calcium intake seems to decrease the desire to eat more.
In other studies in the past, some suggested that calcium can help speed fat loss among dieters, but with the research above, it may only help those that are overweight and only have a small amount of dietary calcium/vitamin D intake.
Overall, regardless of the effect on weight loss, I take calcium and vitamin D supplements to ensure that my bone remains healthy and strong and that I have sufficient amount of calcium and vitamin D for my muscles and immune system to function optimally
Please feel free to leave me a comment or query below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Calcium and Calcium Deficiency. Accessed online at: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248958.php on March 1st 2017
Vitamin D Council. Accessed online at: https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/what-is-vitamin-d/ on March 1st 2017.
Major GC et al. Calcium plus vitamin D supplementation and fat mass loss in female very low-calcium
consumers: potential link with a calcium-specific appetite control. Br J Ntr. 2009 Mar;101(5):659-63