How do calcium and vitamin D protect bones?

Celeste Robb-Nicholson
Internal Medicine
Calcium plays an important role in a number of body processes. If you don't supply your body with the calcium it needs, it will respond by raiding calcium stores in your bones. Consuming adequate amounts of calcium limits these unhealthy withdrawals and, along with adequate vitamin D, safeguards your bones from osteoporosis (a bone-thinning condition that can result in bone fracture).

Vitamin D allows calcium to travel out of the intestines and into the bloodstream, where it can be incorporated into bone. Aim for a calcium intake of 1,200 to 1,500 milligrams daily, mostly through foods, which have many important nutrients in addition to calcium. The National Osteoporosis Foundation currently recommends 800 to 1,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D per day for most adult women. Up to 4,000 IU per day is considered safe.

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