TБhe foods we eat have important minerals and vitamins that help build strong and healthy bones. and are two important nutrients for bone health. Almost all the calcium in the body is found in the bones and teeth. Calcium is also found in the blood, where it helps the heart, muscles and nerves to work properly. The bones are like a bank – they build up deposits of calcium from the foods that we eat and drink or from calciumбsupplements. They also \’give\’ calcium to the rest of the body by allowing it to enter the bloodstream. If you do not eat enough calcium, your body cannot replace the calcium that the bones lose quickly enough. Soon, the bone bank becomes empty and bones get weaker. How much calcium does a person need? The amount of calcium that a person needs is based on their age, as you can see in the table below. You can use the calcium-rich foods listed in the tables below to reach the recommended daily intake of calcium for you and your family. Helpful hint: Look at the serving sizes on food labels to find out how much calcium you are eating. If your child cannot eat or drink all of the calcium they need in a day, they may need to take calcium supplements. These can be in a liquid, a pill or capsule, a chewable tablet, a gummy or a dissolving tablet. Talk to your child\’s doctor, dietitian or pharmacist before starting your child on any supplements and tell them if your child is taking any other medication. Read the label of the supplement to find out how much elemental calcium each serving contains. Watch for the weight in mg ofб
elemental calcium,б not the weight of the tablet itself.
Do not give your child any more than 500 mg of elemental calcium at one time. Give calcium supplements with food. They are best absorbed on a full stomach. Do not give calcium supplements at the same time as other medicine. The calcium may make other medications less effective. For example, calcium can make it harder for the body to absorb iron and antibiotics. Like calcium, vitamin D is very important for growing bones. Calcium needs vitamin D to help it move from the stomach to the bloodstream and from the bloodstream into the bones. The amount of vitamin D that a person needs is based on their age and bone health, as you can see in this table. taking a vitamin D supplement. Your body can make vitamin D naturally from being exposed to 10 to 15 minutes of sunshine two or three times a week without sunscreen. However, most of us cannot make enough vitamin D naturally year round. It is harder to make enough vitamin D if: a person\’s skin is not exposed to the sun for long enough, for example if they work indoors or wear long robes or head coverings a person has dark skin – the higher level of melanin in the skin interferes with the body\’s ability to make vitamin D. Many people need to take vitamin D through their diet or from supplements to prevent a vitamin D deficiency. Б The foods listed in this table are excellent sources of vitamin D. Unfortunately, not many foods are rich in vitamin D. As a result, many people may need a vitamin D supplement to get enough vitamin D every day. Supplements come in tablets or drops. Ask your pharmacist for help when you buy them. If your child finds it hard to remember to take their vitamin D every day, they can take a whole week\’s worth of vitamin D on just one day and repeat that every week.
For example, if your child usually takes 1000 IU of vitamin D a day, you may give them 7000 IU of vitamin D on one day of the week and repeat it on the same day the next week. Remember, this approach does not work for all vitamins and minerals. Most of them need to be taken in much smaller doses. In fact, some vitamins and minerals can be very harmful if someone takes too much at one time. Always ask your doctor or pharmacist before you group daily doses of any vitamins or minerals together. БCalcium and vitamin D are two important nutrients for bone health. б Good sources of calcium include milk, cheese, soybeans, tofu, sardines, salmon, blackstrap molasses,б almonds, sesame seeds, brocolli and kale. б Sources of vitamin D include sunlight andб foods such as sardines, salmon, tuna, milk and fortified orange juice. Many people need to takeб a supplementб to make sure they get enough vitamin D every day. Importance of vitamin D Vitamin D helps the body to absorb bone-building calcium from the intestine. Vitamin D is needed for the bone cells to function properly is important for muscle strength function as well as for the immune system, the heart the nervous system. Low vitamin D in older people is associated with a higher risk of falls fractures. Risk factors contributing to vitamin D deficiency Deliberately avoid sunlight. Wear clothing that covers most of the skin. Spend long periods indoors because of disability or illness.
Live in the southern states of Australia. Have naturally dark skin. Have a medical condition or take medication that affects vitamin D levels (e. g. obesity, liver or kidney disease, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease). Talk to your doctor if any of these apply to you. Sources of vitamin D The best source of vitamin D is sunlight directly on the skin, which the body needs to produce vitamin D. How much sunlight is needed depends on location, time of day, season, the amount of skin you expose your skin colour. Short periods in the sun are sufficient to get enough vitamin D в you donвt need to tan or burn. And remember to SLIP, SLOP, SLAP, SEEK SLIDE when spending time outdoors. Small, amounts of vitamin D can also be found naturally in some foods. These include oily fish (e. g. salmon mackerel), eggs, meat, liver irradiated mushrooms. Some other foods are fortified with small amounts of vitamin D, such as margarine some brands of milk. You do not get regular sun exposure в although a simple lifestyle modification may be all that is required to allow for more time in the sun therefore to increase your vitamin D levels. You have a condition or are taking a medication that prevents you from making enough vitamin D. A blood test shows that your vitamin D is below recommended levels. You are taking a calcium supplement в the vitamin D may be required to help in calcium absorption (although many calcium supplements also have vitamin D in their formulation). Talk to your doctor before you start taking a vitamin D supplement to seek advice about your vitamin D levels.