Happy Friday folks. Wahoo the weekend is here and I’m pumped for what I’ve got planned. I hope you have great weekend plans too but before you run off to them, don’t forget to join my FYI Friday Link-Up!
I’m bringing back my series on Nutrient requirements for active people. If you missed the first two posts in the series check them out:
Today, I’m talking about Calcium & Vitamin D.
Calcium & Vitamin D – Why are they important?
Calcium & Vitamin D are most famous for their role in bone health. This role is incredibly important when it comes to exercising individuals. Active people spend a lot of time on their feet. Endurance runners in particularly pound the pavement a lot which leads to a lot of impact on their bones. A common runner injury is a stress fracture. Healthy bones formed and maintained through adequate calcium & vitamin D intake can help prevent these fractures.
Vitamin D and Calcium also have roles outside of bone health. Vitamin D is important in regulating the nervous system & skeletal muscles. Calcium is a critical mineral needed for muscle contraction and nerve conduction.
How much do we need?
There aren’t different requirements of calcium or vitamin D for active vs non-active individuals. However, it is critical that active people are meeting their daily requirements. While I haven’t seen any published studies on it I have a feeling we are going to see an increase in osteoporosis and secondary fractures due to many diets that restrict dairy. The paleo diet for example is a very common diet for active individuals, while you can obtain your calcium & vitamin D intake without dairy products, it requires careful attention to food choices.
Calcium Requirements for Adults aged 19-50 is 1000mg/day
Female athletes are often at high risk of stress fracture due to low energy intakes, loss of menstrual cycle and decreased dairy products which lead to early osteoporosis. For these people intake up to 1500mg/day calcium is recommended but this should be discussed with a Doctor or Dietitian before supplementing to that level.
Vitamin D is really unique because our body can synthesize it when exposed to sunlight. Therefore for some people who are exposed to sunlight daily, dietary intake may not even be necessary. However, we can’t measure how much we synthesize on a daily basis and therefore we have recommendations for dietary intake based on limited sun exposure.
The recommended intake for Vitamin D is a highly debated topic. The current RDA for adults is 600 IU per day. Although in my personal opinion from the research I have done, I don’t feel that level is adequate. I take 2000 IU vitamin D supplement per day on top of whatever I consume from my diet.
Dietary sources of Calcium & Vitamin D
I think it comes as no surprise that milk is one of the top dietary source of Calcium & Vitamin D. For the naysayers against milk, I’ve made my opinions about that clear.
However, milk & milk products are not the only sources of calcium. You can also find it in dark green vegetables, beans & nuts.
Calcium Content in Foods
|Serving Size||Calcium (mg)|
|Vegetables and Fruits|
|Spinach, frozen, cooked||125 mL (½ cup)||154|
|Turnip greens, cooked||125 mL (½ cup)||104|
|Kale, frozen, cooked||125 mL (½ cup)||95|
|Orange juice, fortified with calcium||125 mL (½ cup)||155|
|Milk and Alternatives|
|3.3% homo, 2%, 1%, skim, chocolate milk||250 mL (1 cup)||291-322|
|Gruyere, swiss, goat, low fat cheddar, mozzarella||50 g (1½ oz)||396-506|
|Cheddar, colby, edam, gouda, mozzarella, blue||50 g (1½ oz)||252-366|
|Cottage cheese||250 mL (1 cup)||146-217|
|Yogurt, fruit bottom||175 g (¾ cup)||221-291|
|Meats and Alternatives|
|Sardines, Atlantic, canned in oil, with bones||75 g (2 ½ oz)||286|
|Salmon (pink/humpback, red/sockeye), canned, with bones||75 g (2 ½ oz)||179-208|
|Tofu, prepared with calcium sulfate||150 g (¾ cup)||234-347|
|Beans (white, navy), canned or cooked||175 mL (¾ cup)||93-141|
|Tahini/sesame seed butter||30 mL (2 Tbsp)||130|
|Baked beans, canned||175 mL (¾ cup)||89-105|
|Almonds, dry roasted, unblanched||60 mL (¼ cup)||93|
|Blackstrap molasses||15 mL (1 Tbsp)||179|
Adapted from Dietitians of Canada – Food Sources of Calcium
As for Vitamin D, the main dietary sources are fortified milk, eggs & fish.
Vitamin D Content in Foods
|Serving Size||Vitamin D (IU)|
|Milk and Alternatives|
|Milk (3.3 % homo, 2%, 1%, skim, chocolate milk)||250 mL (1 cup)||103-105|
|Soy beverage, fortified with vitamin D||250 mL (1 cup)||88|
|Yogurt (plain, fruit bottom), fortified with vitamin D||175 g (3/4 cup)||58-71|
|Meat and Alternatives|
|Egg, yolk, cooked||2 large||57-88|
|Pork, various cuts, cooked||75 g (2 ½ oz)||6-60|
|Deli meat (pork, beef, salami, bologna)||75 g (2 ½ oz)/ 3 slices||30-54|
|Salmon, sockeye/red, canned, cooked or raw||75 g (2 ½ oz)||530-699|
|Snapper, cooked||75 g (2 ½ oz)||392|
|Mackerel, Pacific, cooked||75 g (2 ½ oz)||342|
|Salmon, Atlantic, raw or cooked||75 g (2 ½ oz)||181-246|
|Trout, cooked||75 g (2 ½ oz)||150-210|
|Herring, Atlantic, cooked||75 g (2 ½ oz)||161|
|Sardines, Pacific, canned||75 g (2 ½ oz)||144|
|Halibut, cooked||75 g (2 ½ oz)||144|
|Tuna, albacore, raw or cooked||75 g (2 ½ oz)||82-105|
|Tuna, white, canned with water||75 g (2 ½ oz)||60|
|Fats and Oils|
|Cod liver oil||5 mL (1 tsp)||427|
|Margarine||5 mL (1 tsp)||25|
Adapted from Dietitians of Canada – Food Sources of Vitamin D
Generally, active people do not need more calcium & Vitamin D than the average person. However, its critical they are meeting their minimum requirements to protect their bones and ensure proper muscle functioning. Diets that eliminate dairy products may benefit from supplementation to meet the recommended amounts of Calcium & Vitamin D.
Do you think you are getting enough Calcium & Vitamin D?