How can you get more calcium and vitamin D?
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.
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 milligrams (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|
If you get too much calcium, you may get kidney stones, and if you get too much vitamin D, your kidneys and tissues may be damaged.3 Too much calcium can cause constipation. Too much vitamin D can cause nausea and vomiting, constipation, and weakness.
Getting too much vitamin D increases the amount of calcium in your blood. If this happens, you can become confused and have an irregular heart rhythm.