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How can calcium and vitamin D help osteoporosis?

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Calcium helps make your bones stronger. Food sources of calcium include nonfat milk, low-fat yogurt, plant-based milks or orange juices that are fortified with calcium, broccoli, cauliflower, salmon, tofu, and leafy green vegetables.

Get 1,000 milligrams of calcium each day if you’re age 19-50. You need 1,200 milligrams per day if you’re a woman age 51 or older, or a man age 71 and older.

It’s best to get your calcium from foods. If you want to take supplements, talk to your doctor first. She can check that it won’t make it harder for your body to use any other medicines you take. Your doctor can also tell you if you need to take calcium supplements at a different time than your other medications.

To help the body absorb calcium from either food or supplements, doctors recommend vitamin D. Get 600 international units (IU) per day up to age 71, and then bump it up to 800 IU daily.

You can get vitamin D from fortified foods and from the sun. But it gets harder to make vitamin D as you get older. It's also harder for your body to make during winter. Supplements help. Just don’t take too much, or it could cause health problems.

If you’re very low on vitamin D, your doctor may give you a prescription for it.

There are some other easy ways to get more calcium at home. For instance, you can add nonfat dry milk to everyday foods and beverages, including soups, stews, and casseroles. Each cup of dry milk adds about a third of the calcium you need each day.

SOURCES:

National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements: "Calcium,” “Vitamin D.”

Mayo Clinic: "Osteoporosis: Self-management: Lifestyle and Home Remedies.”

UpToDate: “Patient Education: Osteoporosis prevention and treatment (Beyond the Basics).”

Reviewed by David Zelman on May 28, 2019

SOURCES:

National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements: "Calcium,” “Vitamin D.”

Mayo Clinic: "Osteoporosis: Self-management: Lifestyle and Home Remedies.”

UpToDate: “Patient Education: Osteoporosis prevention and treatment (Beyond the Basics).”

Reviewed by David Zelman on May 28, 2019

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What are foods to avoid when managing osteoporosis?

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