Why do I need calcium and vitamin D?
Calcium is one of the building blocks of strong bones. We need to eat foods with calcium throughout our lives because our bones are always being broken down and rebuilt.
Your body needs vitamin D to help absorb calcium. Vitamin D also has other roles in the body and may help to prevent or manage some chronic diseases.
How much calcium and vitamin D do I need?
Recommended amount of calcium per day:
|0 to 6 months||200 mg||200 mg|
|7 to 12 months||260 mg||260 mg|
|1 to 3 years||700 mg||700 mg|
|4 to 8 years||1000 mg||1000 mg|
|9 to 18 years||1300 mg||1300 mg|
|19 to 50 years||1000 mg||1000 mg|
|51 to 70 years||1000 mg||1200 mg|
|Over 70 years||1200 mg||1200 mg|
mg = milligram
Recommended amount of vitamin D per day:
|0 to 1 year||400 IU||400 IU|
|1 to 70 years||600 IU||600 IU|
|Over 70 years||800 IU||800 IU|
IU = International Units
People who take certain medications or have specific medical conditions, such as osteoporosis, may have different calcium or vitamin D needs and should speak with their health care provider.
Which foods contain calcium?
Calcium is found in varied amounts in lots of different foods. Foods that are highest in calcium include milk, fortified soy beverage, yogurt and tofu made with calcium sulfate. Nuts, seeds, legumes and greens are also sources of calcium. For foods that have a label, calcium is listed in percent daily value (%DV). Foods with 15% or higher of the daily value have a lot of calcium in them.
Which foods contain vitamin D?
Only a few foods contain vitamin D naturally include fish, liver and egg yolk. Most of the vitamin D in our diet comes from foods with added vitamin D. In Canada, vitamin D must be added to cow milk and margarine. Other foods like yogurt and soy beverage may also have added vitamin D. Check the percent daily value (%DV) on the label to see if a food contains vitamin D and how much. Foods with 15% or higher of the daily value have a lot of vitamin D.
Should I take supplements?
Use the Food Sources tables below to find out how much calcium and vitamin D you are getting. If you are not getting enough, try adding more food sources to your diet. If you find it hard to get enough from food, you can take a supplement to help meet your needs. Talk to your health care provider if you have questions about the right type or amount of supplement that’s best for you.
There are 2 groups who should take a vitamin D supplement of 400 IU daily to help meet their needs:
- Infants and young children who are breastfed, or breastfed and given some infant formula
- Adults older than 50 years of age
Food Sources of Vitamin D
|Food||Serving Size||Amount of vitamin D|
|Egg yolk, cooked||1egg||32 IU|
|Herring, Atlantic, cooked||75 g||161 IU|
|Mackerel, Atlantic, cooked||75 g||78 IU|
|Margarine||10 mL||60 IU|
|Milk||250 mL||103 IU|
|Salmon, Atlantic, wild, cooked||75 g||245 IU|
|Salmon, chum, canned||75 g||202 IU|
|Salmon, pink, canned||75 g||435 IU|
|Salmon, sockeye, canned||75 g||557 IU|
|Sardines, Atlantic, canned||75 g||70 IU|
|Soy beverage, unsweetened, fortified||250 mL||87 IU|
|Trout, cooked||75 g||148 IU|
|Tuna, bluefin, cooked||75 g||219 IU|
|Tuna, canned, light||75 g||36 IU|
|Tuna, yellowfin (albacore, ahi), cooked||75 g||106 IU|
Food Sources of Calcium
|Food||Serving Size||Amount of Calcium|
|Milk and milk products|
|Buttermilk||250 mL (1 c)||300 mg|
|Cheese, hard||50 g||370 mg*|
|Cottage cheese, 1%||250 mL (1 c)||146 mg|
|Kefir||250 mL (1 c)||267 mg|
|Milk, evaporated||125 mL (1/2 c)||367 mg|
|Milk, whole, 2%, 1%, skim||250 mL (1 c)||291 to 316 mg|
|Yogurt||175 g (3/4 c)||272 mg*|
|Nuts, seeds and legumes|
|Almond butter||30 mL (2 tbsp)||113 mg|
|Almonds, dry roasted||60 mL (1/4 c)||94 mg|
|Black beans, cooked||175 mL (3/4 c)||34 mg|
|Chickpeas, cooked||175 mL (3/4 c)||59 mg|
|Navy beans, cooked||175 mL (3/4 c)||93 mg|
|Pinto beans, cooked||175 mL (3/4 c)||58 mg|
|Sesame seeds kernels, dried||60 mL (1/4 c)||23 mg|
|Tahini (sesame seed butter)||30 mL (2 tbsp)||130 mg|
|White beans, cooked||175 mL (3/4 c)||119 mg|
|Soy foods and beverages|
|Soy beverage, unsweetened, fortified||250 mL (1 c)||318 mg|
|Soy beverage, unsweetened, regular||250 mL (1 c)||65 mg|
|Soybean, curd cheese||150 g||282 mg|
|Tempeh, cooked||150 g||144 mg|
|Tofu, made with calcium sulphate||150 g||525 mg|
|Vegetables and fruit|
|Broccoli, boiled, drained||125 mL (1/2 c)||33 mg|
|Chinese broccoli/gai lan, cooked||125 mL (1/2 c)||46 mg|
|Chinese cabbage/bok choy, boiled, drained||125 mL (1/2 c)||84 mg|
|Kale, boiled, drained||125 mL (1/2 c)||49 mg|
|Mustard greens, boiled, drained||125 mL (1/2 c)||87 mg|
|Okra, boiled, drained||125 mL (1/2 c)||65 mg|
|Orange||1 medium||52 mg|
|Turnip greens, boiled, drained||125 mL (1/2 c)||104 mg|
|Blackstrap molasses||15 mL (1 tbsp)||179 mg|
|Dried fish, smelt||35 g||560 mg|
|Salmon, pink, canned with bones||75 g||212 mg|
|Sardines, Atlantic canned with bones||75 g||286 mg|
|Seaweed (agar), dry||125 mL (1/2 c)||50 mg|
|Seaweed, wakame, raw||125 mL (1/2 c)||63 mg|
mL = milliliter, g = gram, c = cup, tbsp = tablespoon, mg = milligram
*calcium content may vary, check the label