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Osteoporosis and Calcium (cont.)

What Assists Absorption of Calcium

Vitamin D is the most significant nutrient for the proper absorption of calcium. Vitamin D and calcium work together to slow down or even reverse osteoporosis. Vitamin D is essential in helping the body absorb and use calcium; in fact, the body cannot absorb calcium at all without some vitamin D.

Vitamin D comes from two sources. It is made in the skin through direct exposure to sunlight, and it comes from the diet. The body's ability to produce vitamin D from exposure to sunlight and to absorb calcium and vitamin D decreases with age. Getting enough vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and also helps the kidneys break down and incorporate (resorb) calcium that would otherwise be excreted. Vitamin D is found in eggs, butter, fatty fish, liver, and fortified foods such as milk, orange juice, and cereal. Elderly individuals who are not exposed to sunlight and may not eat a variety of food containing vitamin D may need vitamin D supplements to maintain adequate levels to help calcium absorption.

In addition to vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, and boron assist in absorbing calcium and also increasing bone mass. Exercise also helps the body absorb calcium.

Because the body has a hard time absorbing a large amount of calcium at once, spreading out the intake of calcium is recommended. Taking in about 500 mg or less of calcium throughout the day is best.

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