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Calcium and Vitamin D

Calcium

Calcium is essential for the development and maintenance of strong bones and teeth (also for normal blood clotting, nerve function and enzyme activity).It is an essential nutrient throughout life for everyone.

A poor calcium intake prevents bones from develop normally or become weak causing osteoporosis (brittle bones).

 

Daily calcium requirements

Age group                                           calcium requirement

0-12 months                                                       525mg

1-3 years                                                            350mg

4-6 years                                                            450mg

7-10 years                                                          550mg

Males 11-18 years                                             1000mg

Males 19+ years                                                700mg

Females 11-18years                                          800mg

Females 19+ years                                            700mg

Breastfeeding                                                     1250mg

For adults with coeliac disease                        1000-1200mg

 

Sources of calcium include

milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy foods
dairy free/vegan milk, yogurts and cheese with added calcium
sardines and pilchards (only if eating the bones)
green leafy vegetables
soya beans/tofu
nuts
bread and foods made with calcium fortified flour

If you are unable to get enough calcium from your diet then calcium supplements are available

 

Vitamin D
works alongside calcium to build and maintain strong bones and the recommended dose required is 10ug (400 International Units IU) daily.

A lack of vitamin D can lead to bone deformities such as rickets in children, and bone pain and osteoporosis in adults. We get most of our vitamin D from sunlight on our skin (which is why it is called the sunshine vitamin) but if you don’t go outside much, wear sunscreen or are covered up, this vitamin D is unavailable to you.

 

Vitamin D from foods

oily fish – such as salmon, sardines and mackerel
eggs
fortified fat spreads
fortified breakfast cereals
powdered and fresh milk /dairy
vitamin D supplements

 

For more details on specific calcium and vitamin D requirements see

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/618167/government_dietary_recommendations.pdf

 

References

Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (2016) Vitamin D and Health. The Stationery Office. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sacn-vitamin-d-and-health-report

 

Further help

https://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/Calcium.pdf

https://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/VitaminD.pdf

National osteoporosis Society free helpline 0808 800 0035 https://nos.org.uk

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