What is calcium and vitamin d?

Calcium and Vitamin D

What are some cautions about calcium and vitamin D?

It is possible to get too much calcium and vitamin D. Older women who take calcium supplements need to be careful not to take too much.

Getting too much calcium can cause:

  • Kidney stones.
  • Constipation.

Getting too much vitamin D can:

  • Damage your kidneys and tissues.
  • Cause nausea and vomiting, constipation, and weakness.
  • Raise the amount of calcium in your blood. If this happens, you may become confused and have an irregular heart rhythm.

Calcium and vitamin D may also interact with other medicines. Some drug interactions are dangerous.

Before you start taking calcium and/or vitamin D, tell your doctor about all of the medicines, vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies you take. Also tell your doctor about all of your current medical problems.

Are there any risks from taking calcium and vitamin D?

Too much calcium can cause kidney stones or constipation. Too much vitamin D can cause kidney and tissue damage, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and weakness. It also raises the amount of calcium in your blood. This can cause confusion and an irregular heart rhythm. Calcium and vitamin D may also interact with other medicines.

What are the recommended daily amounts of calcium and vitamin D?

The recommended daily amounts of calcium and vitamin D vary by age. The amounts can range from 700 mg of calcium and 600 IU of vitamin D for young children to 1,200 mg of calcium and 800 IU of vitamin D for older adults.

Getting enough calcium and vitamin D

Here are some ways to get calcium and vitamin D in your diet.

  • Add calcium-rich foods to your diet.

    Calcium is in foods such as:

    • Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt.
    • Vegetables like broccoli, kale, and Chinese cabbage.
    • Canned sardines and canned salmon with bones.
    • Calcium-fortified foods such as some cereals, juices, soy drinks, and tofu.
  • Include foods that have vitamin D.

    Your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. Foods that contain vitamin D include:

    • Salmon, tuna, and mackerel. These are some of the best foods to eat when you need to get more vitamin D.
    • Vitamin-D fortified foods such as milk, soy drinks, orange juice, yogurt, margarine, and cereals.
    • Cheese, egg yolks, and beef liver. These foods have vitamin D in small amounts.
  • Take supplements if you need them.

    Some people may need to take a calcium supplement with vitamin D.

    • Not all supplements contain the same amount of calcium or contain vitamin D. Read the label to see which one is best for you.
    • Spreading calcium out over the course of the day can reduce stomach upset. And it helps your body absorb the calcium better. Try not to take more than 500 milligrams (mg) of calcium supplement at a time.

Why is it important to get enough calcium and vitamin D?

Your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. Calcium keeps your bones and muscles—including your heart—healthy and strong. People who don't get enough calcium and vitamin D have an increased chance of osteoporosis in their later years. Children who don't get enough vitamin D may not grow as much as others their age.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.