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The Connection Between Calcium and Vitamin D

Author:   Peter Sedesse MD

Vitamin D Regulates Blood Levels of Calcium

Calcium and Vitamin D are often found in the same foods and work closely together. However, even though the two work together for a number of functions in the body, each performs separate tasks and possesses a completely different structure. The amount of calcium maintained in the blood stream for use by the body is regulated directly by Vitamin D. Symptoms related to improper use of calcium are often present when vitamin D deficiency occurs.

Sources of Calcium and Vitamin D

The body has the ability to synthesize the daily recommended allowance of Vitamin D if given enough direct sunlight. This makes vitamin D a unique vitamin as others cannot by synthesized by the body. The body can be supplied with the required levels of vitamin D by getting fifteen to thirty minutes of direct sunlight twice a week. The body is capable of storing and retrieving excessive Vitamin D when it is needed, a trait common to other fat soluble vitamins. A large number of foods contain calcium since it is an inorganic mineral needed by different organisms including both plants and animals. Calcium can also be stored and retrieved by the body as needed just like vitamin D. Bone formation utilizes and stores over ninety-five percent of all calcium. Calcium is present in vegetables and fruits although it is mainly found in dairy products such as milk. The formation of bones and teeth is calcium’s major use inside the body. Brittle bones will result from a diet that is lacking proper amounts of calcium which is the leading cause of osteoporosis. A few glasses of milk can easily provide the 1300mg per day of calcium that is the recommended daily allowance. Calcium competes with iron and zinc for absorption in the small intestines which is the only major problem associated with the consumption of too much calcium. Iron and zinc will not be absorbed if there is excessive amounts of calcium in the diet.

Role of Vitamin D

The primary role of Vitamin D is to control calcium levels in the bloodstream, Vitamin D does this by constantly adding or removing calcium from bones. This means conditions such as rickets which affect vitamin D cause problems with bone growth and abnormal bone density. Phosphorous in the body is also regulated by Vitamin D which does so in a mechanism similar to calcium regulation.

Information regarding deficiencies of Vitamin D and Calcium

Most vitamin D deficiencies result in teeth and bone problems like osteoporosis since there is a direct relationship between Vitamin D and calcium usage. Vitamin D requires fat in the food for the body to properly absorb it since it is a fat soluble vitamin. For this reason, 2% milk is usually recommended over skim milk. Vitamin D deficiency can result with any medical condition affecting the intestinal absorption of fat. Vitamin D intake should also be increased as aging occurs since the body loses absorption capabilities by the small intestines as we age. Amenorrhea is the absence of a menstrual cycle in otherwise healthy females and has been associated with calcium deficiency.

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