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Osteoporosis Health Center

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Osteoporosis: Taking Calcium and Vitamin D

Bone thinning occurs as part of the natural process of aging. If the thinning continues to the point that your bones become fragile and in danger of breaking, you have osteoporosis. But osteoporosis is considered a preventable disease.

Key points

  • After age 30, men and women naturally begin to lose bone mass. You can slow bone loss and possibly prevent osteoporosis by eating a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D.
  • Getting enough calcium and vitamin D is especially critical for women in the first few years after menopause, when bone mass is lost more rapidly.
  • If you do not get enough calcium and vitamin D from the foods you eat, change your diet and/or take calcium and vitamin D supplements. Your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium.
  • If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis, it's important to get enough calcium and vitamin D and take prescribed medicine for the disease.
  • Calcium is found in many foods, including dairy products such as milk, cheese, or yogurt, fortified orange juice, and many vegetables.

what.gif What are the recommended daily amounts of calcium and vitamin D?
why.gif Why are calcium and vitamin D used to treat or prevent osteoporosis?
how.gif How can I get enough calcium and vitamin D in my daily diet?
where.gif Where to go from here

Talk with your doctor


  1. Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine (2011). Dietary reference intakes (DRIs): Recommended dietary allowances and adequate intakes, elements. Available online:

  2. Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine (2011). Dietary reference intakes (DRIs): Recommended dietary allowances and adequate intakes, vitamins. Available online:

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerCarla J. Herman, MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine
Last RevisedNovember 6, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 06, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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