After 13 years, the Institute of Medicine released new recommendations for vitamin D and calcium daily intake levels. The 14-member task force performed a thorough review of nearly 1,000 published studies to determine new daily intakes of calcium and vitamin D, based on their roles in bone health and disease prevention.
How much do you need? For maximum bone health, the panel concluded that people aged 1 – 70 need about 600 IU/day of Vitamin D, with those over 71 years of age needing up to 800 IU/day. These intake recommendations are a 200-400 IU increase over previous recommendations.
The jury is still out as to Vitamin D’s role, if any, in preventing diabetes, cancer, heart disease and other chronic diseases. The panel stated that the evidence available today is inconclusive to support Vitamin D’s role in preventing or treating these other health conditions.
The panel recommended that for bone health calcium intakes should be between 700-1300 mg /day, depending on age. For children, ages 1-3 need 700 mg/day, ages 4-8 need 1,000 mg/day and kids ages 9-18 need 1,300 mg/day. Adults ages 19-50 and men through age 71 need 1,000 mg/day, and women over 51 and men over 71 need 1,200 mg/day.
So, where should you get your vitamin D and calcium? The best source of Vitamin D is the sun. Our body can make all the Vitamin D we need with sun exposure. However, since most of us don’t get the requisite 10-25 minutes in the sun each day, especially in colder winter climates, this may not be enough. Natural food sources of Vitamin D are egg yolk, beef liver, mushrooms, salmon, tuna, sardines, cod/cod liver oil, mackerel, and shrimp. You can also get Vitamin D from fortified sources like milk and yogurt, orange juice and cereal.
Food sources of calcium include milk, yogurt, cheese, sardines, spinach, collards, turnip greens – even basil and thyme.
What’s your favorite way to meet the recommendations for calcium and vitamin D?