Calcium is in foods such as milk, cheese, and yogurt. Vegetables like broccoli, kale, and Chinese cabbage have calcium. You can get calcium if you eat the soft edible bones in canned sardines and canned salmon. Foods with added (fortified) calcium include some cereals, juices, soy drinks, and tofu. The food label will show how much calcium was added.
Vitamin D is in foods such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel. These are some of the best foods to eat when you are trying to get more vitamin D. Other foods that have vitamin D, but in small amounts, include cheese, egg yolks, and beef liver. You can also get vitamin D from fortified foods such as milk and some cereals, orange juices, yogurts, margarines, and soy drinks.
You can figure out how much calcium and vitamin D is in a food by looking at the percent daily value section on the nutrition facts label . The food label assumes the daily value of calcium is 1,000 mg and the daily value of vitamin D is 400 IU. So if one serving of a food has a daily value of 20% of calcium, that food has 200 mg of calcium in one serving. If one serving of that food has a daily value of 10% vitamin D, that food has 40 IU of vitamin D in one serving.
Some people who do not get enough calcium and vitamin D may need supplements. Calcium supplements are available as citrate or carbonate. Calcium carbonate is best absorbed when it is taken with food. Calcium citrate can be absorbed well with or without food. Spreading calcium out over the course of the day can reduce stomach upset and helps your body absorb the calcium better. Try not to take more than 500 mg of calcium supplement at a time.
Vitamin D supplements are available as ergocalciferol (D2) and cholecalciferol (D3).
Are there any risks from taking calcium and vitamin D?
It is possible to get too much calcium and vitamin D. Older women who take calcium supplements need to be careful that they do not take too much.
The amount of calcium and vitamin D you get every day from all sources-including food, sunshine, and supplements-should not be more than the amount shown by age in the table below for "upper level intake." Upper level intake does not mean that most people need this amount or should try to get it. It means this is the maximum amount of calcium or vitamin D that is safe to take.
Upper level intake for calcium and vitamin D by age3
| Age|| Upper level calcium intake (milligrams
a day)||Upper level vitamin D intake (international units a day)|
|51 and older||2,000||4,000|