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Vitamin D Is Important for Calcium Absorption

Many people are taking calcium supplements in an effort to protect their bones and help prevent osteoporosis. One aspect that is often over-looked is the importance of sufficient vitamin D levels in calcium absorption. Adequate absorption of calcium in the intestine is necessary to prevent bone breakdown. The amount of calcium absorbed from the diet is dependent on the amount of calcium consumed and the efficiency of the absorption process. These processes are regulated by the body’s physiological state (pregnancy/lactation, age), habitual dietary calcium intake, and vitamin D levels in the body. The calcium absorption process is a saturable one, meaning it is possible to take more at one time than the body can absorb. So keep your calcium supplements to 500 mg or less per dose for optimal absorption.

Previous research in animal models has shown that the efficiency of calcium absorption is decreased by 75% when deficient in vitamin D. Fortunately, poor calcium absorption caused by vitamin D deficiency can be restored by increasing serum vitamin D levels through oral supplementation. The ideal serum vitamin D level required for proper calcium absorption is still somewhat undecided, but we know that to obtain the maximal benefit from vitamin D, levels should be between 50 and 80 ng/ml.