Guidelines For Calcium & Vitamin D

 The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) and the American Society for Preventive Cardiology (ASPC) have released new guidelines on supplementing with calcium and vitamin D.  Confusion has persisted as to whether a person should take a calcium supplement or not as there was the underlying rumblings of possible risk to cardiovascular health.  Now researchers from the Tufts University School of Medicine is giving the all clear that taking calcium with or without vitamin D as long as it does not exceed the tolerable upper intake level of 2,000 to 2,500 milligrams a day is safe either from food or supplements.  The study reviewed randomized trials and prospective cohort studies (a total of 31) and none were able to link total, dietary, or supplemental calcium intake levels or show a statistically significant difference in increasing risk for cardiovascular disease or mortality. 

The concern over calcium and heart disease has always focused on calcium in the form of a supplement.  Very few people would be able to achieve a consistent intake of over 2,500 milligrams a day of calcium but it is possible to exceed that amount by taking a calcium supplement on a daily basis.  That is what the focus has always been on was whether calcium supplements that push the total daily amount of calcium including food sources, over 2,500 milligrams a day, was safe for cardiovascular health. 

Calcium supplementation has been one way of ensuring individuals obtained sufficient amounts of the most predominant mineral in the human body.  Many Americans fall short of the current recommendations for calcium putting them at risk for developing the brittle bone disease of osteoporosis.  However, there is no evidence that consuming higher amounts above the current recommendations results in better bone health. 

This new recommendation from NOF and ASPC position is that calcium with or without vitamin D intake from food or supplements has shown no benefit or harm in regards to cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease or mortality in generally healthy adults.  Each organization stated that it is preferential to obtain calcium from food sources but that a person who is not reaching the recommended amount for calcium, could use a calcium supplement with or without vitamin D safely to make up for any shortfalls in intake.

The best food sources of calcium include the following:

·         Milk – one cup has 300 milligrams

·         Cottage cheese – one half cup has 65 milligrams

·         Soy milk, calcium fortified – one cup has 200 to 400 milligrams

·         Yogurt, plain – one cup has 450 milligrams

·         Yogurt drink – 12 ounces has 300 milligrams

·         Mozzarella cheese – 1 ounce has 200 milligrams

·         Arugula, raw – 1 cup has 125 milligrams

·          Broccoli – 1 cup has 180 milligrams

·         Spinach, cooked – 1 cup has 240 milligrams

·         Orange juice, calcium fortified – 1 cup has 350 milligrams

·         Soybeans, boiled – one half cup has 100 milligrams

·         Pinto beans, cooked – 1 cup has 75 milligrams

·         Cereals, calcium fortified – one half to one cup has 250 milligrams

·         Sesame seeds – 1 ounce has 280 milligrams

·         Salmon, with bones – 3 ounces has 170 to 210 milligrams