Calcium and Vitamin D.txt
Calcium and Vitamin D
Gabe Mirkin, M.D.
Many people take calcium supplements to help prevent osteoporosis.
They may be increasing their risk for certain cancers and infections
unless they also get extra vitamin D. Calcium absorption uses up
vitamin D and lack of that vitamin impairs immunity, which can cause
cancer and infections.
To prevent a deficiency, you need at least 400 IU of vitamin D per
day, whether you take calcium supplements or not. Many researchers
now recommend 2000 IU per day. You can get this by exposing some
skin to sunlight each day. Dietary sources of vitamin D include
fatty fish, eggs, liver and butter. Vitamin D-supplemented milk is
a poor source of that vitamin because the calcium in milk uses up
more than the vitamin D that is added.
You need 1000 mg of calcium each day, the amount of calcium found in
four glasses of milk. Many people do not meet their needs for
calcium from the foods that they eat. If you take calcium
supplements, take the recommended daily requirement for vitamin D
of at least 400 international units per day.
A glass of milk contains the same amount of calcium as a cup of
yogurt, an ounce of hard cheese, a cup and a half of cottage cheese,
four ounces of fish, or a 600 mgm calcium carbonate pill. To check
how much calcium you eat, add up the calcium in your diet in
milk-glass-units from the foods just mentioned, then add an extra
unit for the calcium you get from other foods. A sixty-year old
woman who drinks two glasses of milk and eats an ounce of hard
cheese gets three milk units. Add an additional unit for the calcium
in other foods and she needs two more units, which she can get by
taking two generic calcium carbonate pills. Don't waste your money
on expensive chelated calcium pills or supplements that combine
magnesium with calcium. Magnesium is not necessary for calcium
More on vitamin D