Calcium is important to prevent osteoporosis, but new research sheds light on the need for both calcium and vitamin D for strong bones. Recommended calcium intake is not currently associated with vitamin D, but the new findings suggest the importance of focusing more on the interplay between calcium and vitamin D for preventing osteoporosis.
Low levels of vitamin D found in large portions of the population may explain why boosting calcium intake is not always successful for maintaining bone density. Current recommendations for calcium intake is 1200 mg daily for adults aged 50 and older in the US, but the suggested amount varies between countries.
Researchers looked at 10,000 men and women aged 20 and older from a national survey, finding that a large number of younger and older adults have lower than recommended levels of vitamin D, of at least 75 nanomoles-per-liter (nmol/L). The low vitamin D levels found means that calcium alone is insufficient to prevent osteoporosis.
The study authors say 566 mg of clacium per day could be enough to keep bones strong for women whose vitamin D levels are adequate (more than 50 nmol/L).
Low levels of vitamin D can lead to osteoporosis and may be an important focus for prevention. Calcium and vitamin D combined can keep bones strong. Vitamin D levels were found to be inadequate in a large number of younger and older adults included in the new analysis.
Journal of Bone and Mineral Research