Combine Calcium and Vitamin D Calcium has been overemphasized, notes Diane Feskanich, PhD, assistant professor, Harvard Medical School. "It’s not much use to have a lot of calcium without the requisite vitamin D, which is needed for absorption," she says.Age-Match Your Intake The recommended RDA for calcium is 1,000 milligrams for adults to age 50. After age 50, increase your intake to 1,200 milligrams per day. Your skin creates vitamin D in the presence of sunlight, but the older you get, the less efficient skin becomes. The RDA for D is 400 IUs per day for those 40 to 50, and 600 IUs after age 70, "but some researchers are suggesting even higher levels, up to 1,000 and 1,500 IUs a day," Feskanich says.Don’t Ignore Food Sources Supplements are quantifiable, but don’t skip eating the right foods. "If you get calcium from food, chances are you’ll get enough other vital nutrients, such as essential fatty acids," says Robert Heaney, MD, professor of Medicine at Creighton University. To get enough vitamin D, Feskanich recommends eating lots of fatty, dark fish such as salmon, swordfish, and tuna. Originally published in MORE magazine, June 2006.
The right supplements and foods can literally feed your bones.
By Rebecca Adler