Calcium & Vitamin D

Calcium

Calcium is a mineral required for bone and tooth development. A deficiency of calcium can lead to a conditions called osteoporosis, resulting in weak and thin bones, more prone to breakage. Calcium also plays a role in blood clotting, transmission of nerve impulses, muscle contraction, and cell metabolism.

The daily requirement for calcium is 1000mg/day, for men and women aged 19-50.

Calcium is primarily found in dairy products, such as milk and cheese. Leafy greens, such as collards, kale and broccoli are also great sources of calcium. Canned fish, such as salmon and sardines can supply this mineral as well. Tofu made using calcium carbonate can also help you meet your requirement for this mineral.

For a detailed list of dietary sources of calcium, visit Dietitians of Canada: Food Sources of Calcium.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is crucial to our health for a number of reasons. Vitamin D enhances the absorption of calcium in our bodies. Although more research is needed, it is thought that vitamin D may also play a role in fighting infection, reducing risk of heart disease, and preventing many types of cancer.

Vitamin D can be made by our skin when exposed to the sun. Here in Canada, we have limited sun exposure for a major part of the year. Therefore, it is crucial that we receive adequate amounts of vitamin D in our diet.

Health Canada has recently updated the Dietary Reference Intakes for both calcium and vitamin D. The current Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for children and adults between the ages of 9 and 70 is 600IU of vitamin D per day. Visit the Health Canada website for details.

Check out Vitamin D: What you need to know for more information, including a list of food sources of this vitamin.