Why is it Important to get Calcuim and Vitamin D?

People who do not get enough calcium and vitamin D run the risk of having osteoporosis, which can lead to serious injuries, as well as other health problems. Children and adults need to get enough calcium and vitamin D to keep bones strong and protect against possible breaks.

The body uses vitamin D to help muscles absorb calcium and work well. The lack of calcium can cause muscles to cramp, hurt, or feel weak. This could lead to chronic muscle aches and pains. The risk of hip fracture and compression fractures can be reduced significantly by getting appropriate amounts of calcium and vitamin D. Studies have shown that more than 50 percent of postmenopausal women with osteoporosis had low blood levels of vitamin D.

For children, the lack of vitamin D can affect their growth and they have a chance of getting a rare disease called rickets, which causes weak bones. Breast-fed infants need vitamin D supplementation.

Calcium should always be taken along with vitamin D, which the body needs in order to absorb calcium. Talk to your health care provider about the recommended daily amount of calcium and vitamin D. Also talk to your health care provider before starting supplements and tell your health care provider about all of the medicines you take, including over-the-counter drugs, herbs, and pills. Also tell your health care provider about all of your current medical problems.

Many foods are fortified with calcium and vitamin D, and your body uses sunshine to make its own vitamin D, though it it still difficult to get enough vitamin D daily. Too much calcium can cause kidney stones and constipation. Too much vitamin D can damage kidneys and tissues and cause nausea and vomiting, constipation, and weakness, though this is rare.

By Tina Bettin, APNP, ThedaCare Physicians-New London and Manawa.

People with certain health conditions, such as kidney disease and osteoporosis, should have their vitamin D level checked. Talk with your health care provider to learn if testing is appropriate.