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On Calcium, Vitamin D and Proper Bone Health Development

16 Nov., 2015

Getting enough calcium and vitamin D is essential to building strong, dense bones when you’re young and for keeping them strong and healthy as you age. Parents are increasingly aware of the importance of supporting this process. This article focuses on two minerals, calcium and Vitamin D, that are vital to bone development, and why there is a benefits of including them in children supplements.

Calcium is a mineral that is necessary for life. In addition to building bones and keeping them healthy, calcium helps our blood clot, nerves send messages and muscles contract. About 99 percent of the calcium in our bodies is in our bones and teeth. Each day, we lose calcium through our skin, nails, hair, sweat, urine and feces, but our bodies cannot produce new calcium.

Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption, so it’s important that kids have enough of this nutrient too. Made by the body when the skin is exposed to sunlight, vitamin D also is found in fortified foods, fish, and egg yolks.

Throughout the modern world, a high proportion of children do not actually meet recommended intakes of essential micronutrients, including the essential calcium and vitamin D [1,2]]. These are particularly important nutrients during childhood through adolescence, as approximately 95% of adult peak bone mass is acquired by the age of twenty [3]. The 2010 Institute of Medicine Dietary Reference Intake committee set the Recommended Dietary Allowances at 1300 mg/day calcium and 600 IU/day vitamin D for children ages 9–18 years to achieve bone health [4], and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended three servings per day of low or no-fat dairy [5]. Yet, most U.S. children do not meet these recommendations [1]. When children don’t get sufficient amounts of calcium for their body’s needs, it is taken from our bones.

One of the key elements that is crucial for proper intake of Calcium and vitamin D is fracture risk. Fracture risk is determined by bone mass, geometry, and microstructure, which result from peak bone mass (the amount attained at the end of pubertal growth) and from the amount of bone lost subsequently. Nutritional intakes are an important environmental factor that influence both bone mass accumulation during childhood and adolescence and bone loss that occurs in later life. Bone growth is influenced by dietary intake, particularly of calcium and protein. Adequate dietary calcium and protein are essential to achieve optimal peak bone mass during skeletal growth and to prevent bone loss in the elderly. Dairy products are rich in nutrients that are essential for good bone health, including calcium, protein, vitamin D, potassium, phosphorus, and other micronutrients and macronutrients [5].

Proper intake of both Calcium and Vitamin D go hand in hand with regular physical activities and exercise, which are also important to bone health. Weight-bearing exercises such as jumping rope, running, and walking can also help develop and maintain strong bones.

To summarize, Calcium as well as vitamin D along with daily physical exercise are the foundations of proper bone development. Most importantly it is our role as parents to serve as a role model of educating the future generation to enjoy low-fat calcium rich products and other calcium-rich foods — you could probably use the calcium, too!.


  1. Bailey, R.L.; Dodd, K.W.; Goldman, J.A.; Gahche, J.J.; Dwyer, J.T.; Moshfegh, A.J.; Sempos, C.T.; Picciano, M.F. Estimation of total usual calcium and vitamin D intakes in the united states. J. Nutr. 2010, 140, 817–822.
  2. Hill, K.M.; Jonnalagadda, S.S.; Albertson, A.M.; Joshi, N.A.; Weaver, C.M. Top food sources contributing to vitamin D intake and the association of ready-to-eat cereal and breakfast consumption habits to vitamin d intake in canadians and united states americans. J. Food Sci. 2012, 77, H170–H175.
  3. Teegarden, D.; Proulx, W.R.; Martin, B.R.; Zhao, J.; McCabe, G.P.; Lyle, R.M.; Peacock, M.; Slemenda, C.; Johnston, C.C.; Weaver, C.M. Peak bone mass in young women. J. Bone Miner. Res. 1995, 10, 711–715.
  4. National Research Council. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D; The National Academies Press: Washington, DC, USA, 2011.
  5. U.S. Department of Agriculture; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 7th ed.; U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, USA, 2010.
  6. Rizzoli, R.; Dairy products, yogurts, and bone health. Am J Clin Nutr 2014 99: 1212S-1216S