Vitamin D may be more critical than calcium for bones

November 9, 2005 in Nutrition Topics in the News, Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements

Vitamin D may be more critical than calcium for bones

While calcium has long been known as the most important mineral for bone protection, the latest study findings from researchers in Iceland suggest that vitamin D may actually be just as, if not more important. Researchers found that consuming more than 800 mg of calcium per day may not actually be necessary for bone health if the body has enough vitamin D.

In the study of more than 900 adults, researchers divided the participants into groups depending on calcium intake (less than 800 mg/d, 800-1200 mg/d, and greater than1200 mg/d) and serum vitamin D levels.

Using food consumption records from the participants, researchers determined that sufficient vitamin D levels can ensure an ideal level of parathyroid hormone, a measure of calcium metabolism, even when calcium intake is less than 800 mg per day. But consuming more than 1200 mg of calcium daily is not enough to maintain ideal parathyroid hormone if the vitamin D status is insufficient. Researchers explained that Vitamin D may have a calcium sparing effect, so as long as vitamin D status is ensured, calcium intake levels of more than 800 mg daily may be unnecessary for maintaining calcium metabolism.

This study is part of a growing body of work that points to the important role of vitamin D, and not just calcium alone, in bone health.

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