Are you confused about taking calcium and Vitamin D supplements? Don't feel bad, so are the experts.
A couple of weeks ago, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), a leading U.S. government advisory panel, recommended that healthy post-menopausal women should NOT take low doses of Vitamin D or calcium to prevent bone fractures. And the USPSTF said that existing research is insufficient as to whether Vitamin D can be beneficial in preventing cancer.
This latest report adds to the many conflicting messages about Vitamin D and calcium supplements. Millions of women (and men) take these supplements in the hopes of reducing their risk of fractures as they age. For years doctors and experts have been telling us the health benefits of these nutrients. Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, director of women and heart disease at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York and an American Heart Association spokeswoman, says this recommendation changes everything. "What we're really seeing now is no role for calcium for the prevention of osteoporotic fractures. At this point there's no reason to be taking calcium."
It has been my opinion that you should get your calcium needs through food sources and you should include weight bearing exercises in your fitness routine to keep your bones strong and healthy. Eating better and exercising still have the greatest impact on your health.
It is noted that some health experts don't agree with the latest task force recommendation and say women should discuss options with their doctor.
The Institute of Medicine, which provides independent advice on health, recommends that people get 600-800 I.U.'s of Vitamin D and 700-1300 mg of calcium daily, depending upon their age.
Many foods are rich in calcium and many are fortified with Vitamin D.
Here is a list of some of the best food sources of calcium:
- yogurt, plain, low fat 8oz. 415mg.
- yogurt, fruit flavored, low fat 8oz. 345mg.
- milk, skim 1 cup 291mg.
- milk, chocolate, low fat 1 cup 288mg.
- spinach, frozen, boiled 1 cup 291mg.
- oatmeal, instant, fortified 1 packet 99mg.
- cottage cheese, 1% milk fat 1 cup 138mg.
- baked beans, canned 1 cup 154mg.
- oranges 1 cup 72mg.
- almonds 1/4 cup 70mg.
- black eye peas, boiled 1 cup 211mg.
- white beans, canned 1/2 cup 94mg.
- cereal, fortified 1 oz. 236mg.
- mineral water 8 fl. oz. 35mg.
- sunlight 10 minutes 3000 I.U.
- wild salmon 3.5 oz. 600-1,000 I.U.
- salmon, farmed 3.5 oz. 100-250 I.U.
- tuna, canned 3.6 oz. 230 I.U.
- fortified milk 8fl. oz. 100 I.U.
- fortified orange juice 8fl. oz. 100 I.U.
- fortified yogurt 8 oz. 100 I.U.
- fortified cereal 100 I.U.