Bone Health

Glass of milkWhat nutrients are important to keep bones healthy?

  • Calcium and vitamin D are required for the normal growth, development and maintenance of our bones
  • An overall healthy diet rich in nutrients including protein, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin K

What other factors affect bone health?

  • Exercise: Weight-bearing exercise such as walking, running and weight lifting can help strengthen bones
  • Systemic corticosteroids: Steroids such as prednisone can cause bone loss which can lead to osteoporosis and bone fractures
  • Sodium: High sodium intake increases calcium loss

Recommended Daily Allowances

Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI)-2004

Age

Calcium (mg)

Vitamin D (IU)

0-6 months

210

400

6 months - 1 year

270

400

1 - 3 years

500

600

4 - 8 years

800

600

9 - 18 years

1300

600

19 - 50 years

1000

600

51 - 70 years

1200

600

>70 years

1200

800

Adult w/ Oral or Systemic Steroid Therapy

1500 - 1800

800 - 1000

Osteoporosis

1200 - 1500

800 - 1000

  

Taking Calcium Supplements

  • Consider both dietary and supplemental sources of calcium to determine your total intake
  • Calcium is best absorbed if taken in doses not exceeding 500-600 mg at one time
  • Calcium carbonate and calcium citrate are preferred sources
  • Calcium carbonate should be taken with food, calcium citrate can be taken with or without food
  • Calcium citrate may be better absorbed for the elderly and those taking antacids
  • Calcium citrate may result in less bloating, constipation and stomach discomfort
  • Avoid calcium from raw oyster shell, dolemite and boron
  • "Elemental" calcium is the amount of calcium your body can absorb
  • Do not exceed 2500 mg of calcium or 2000 IUs of vitamin D in supplement form daily

For further information contact the National Osteoporosis Foundation at 1.800.231.4222 or nof.org.

 

This information has been approved by Emily McCloud, MS, RD  (June 2012). 

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