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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Should I get a supplement with vitamin d and calcium?

    My doctor told me to take a vitamin d supplement because my vitamin d was low. I have arthritis and don't eat dairy. I heard some have calcium added. Which one should I use?
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  • Arlene is a registered practising dietitian, with a private practice in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, and has built a strong business over the last … View Profile

    The foods we eat contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients that help keep our bodies healthy. Two nutrients in particular, calcium and vitamin D, are needed for strong bones. Calcium is needed for our heart, muscles, and nerves to function properly and for blood to clot. Inadequate calcium significantly contributes to the development of osteoporosis. Many published studies show that low calcium intake throughout life is associated with low bone mass and high fracture rates. National nutrition surveys have shown that most people are not getting the calcium they need to grow and maintain healthy bones. I am not sure how old you are but you would probably need approximately 1000mg per day.. If you have trouble getting enough calcium in your diet, you may need to take a calcium supplement. The amount of calcium you will need from a supplement depends on how much calcium you obtain from food sources. There are several different calcium compounds from which to choose, such as calcium carbonate and calcium citrate, among others. Except in people with gastrointestinal disease, all major forms of calcium supplements are absorbed equally well when taken with food.
    Calcium supplements are better absorbed when taken in small doses (500 mg or less) several times throughout the day. In many individuals, calcium supplements are better absorbed when taken with food. You should speak to your doctor about taking a calcium supplement prior to going out and buying one. Numerous calcium supplements have vitamin D as well. If you have never eaten much dairy you should probably have a bone scan to check your bone density.
    The body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. Without enough vitamin D, one can’t form enough of the hormone calcitriol (known as the “active vitamin D”). This in turn leads to insufficient calcium absorption from the diet. In this situation, the body must take calcium from its stores in the skeleton, which weakens existing bone and prevents the formation of strong, new bone.
    You can get vitamin D in three ways: through the skin, from the diet, and from supplements. Experts recommend a daily intake of 600 IU (International Units) of vitamin D up to age 70. Men and women over age 70 should increase their uptake to 800 IU daily, which also can be obtained from supplements or vitamin D-rich foods such as egg yolks, saltwater fish, liver, and fortified milk. The Institute of Medicine recommends no more than 4,000 IU per day for adults.
     
     
     

  • Niki treats all ages and body types with low force, gentle chiropractic technques. She tailors her treatment program to your needs and charges highly competitive … View Profile

    There is inconclusive evidence as to whether vitamin D and calcium reduce the risk of fractures with arthritis.
    Your body needs the vitamin D in order to absorb the calcium. However, the calcium supplements can interact with other medications, such as anti-hypertensive.
    I usually recommend my patients talk to their GP or pharmacist about taking the supplements before they do so if they are already on other medications.

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