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A mix of vitamin D and calcium is essential
Vitamin D—whether or not it’s from food sources (vitamin D2) or the sun (vitamin D3)—works as a hormone that helps with calcium absorption in the body by maintaining normal levels of calcium in the blood. Having normal levels of calcium is crucial since the body draws from calcium stored within the bones, which breaks them down over time.
Because bones break down as you age, taking vitamin D supplements and getting a sufficient amount of calcium (whether it be through calcium-rich foods or supplementation) has been highly recommended by medical professionals for the elderly. A deficiency in vitamin D means a deficiency in absorbing calcium, which can increase the risk of falls, bone fractures, as well as other serious conditions like cardiovascular disease and colon cancer.
However, if you don’t have enough calcium already, a vitamin D supplement alone will not be able to do much—and simply taking more of it won’t solve the problem, even though popular opinion believes otherwise.
In conclusion, while numerous registered dietitians would first recommend getting nutrients like vitamin D and calcium through dietary sources (and the sun), supplementation tends to be the next best case if this is not possible for patients. If you’re concerned about aging bones and an increased risk of falls and fractures, it’s best to talk to your doctor about finding solutions to ensure you’re getting enough vitamin D and calcium weekly.
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