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Many people take calcium supplements to help prevent osteoporosis. They may be increasing their risk for certain cancers and infections. Taking extra calcium uses up vitamin D and lack of that vitamin impairs immunity, which can cause cancer and infections.

To prevent a deficiency, you need at least 400 IU of vitamin D per day, whether you take calcium supplements or not. You can get this by exposing a few inches of skin to sun light each day. Rich sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, eggs, liver and butter. Vitamin D-supplemented milk is a poor source of that vitamin because the calcium in milk uses up more than the vitamin D that is added.

All people need 1000 mg of calcium each day, the amount of calcium found in four glasses of milk. Many people do not meet their needs for calcium from the foods that they eat. If you take calcium supplements, take the recommended daily requirement for vitamin D of 400 international units per day.

A glass of milk contains the same amount of calcium as a cup of yogurt, an ounce of hard cheese, a cup and a half of cottage cheese, four ounces of fish, or a 600 mgm calcium carbonate pill. To check how much calcium you eat, add up the calcium in your diet in milk-glass-units from the foods just mentioned, then add an extra unit for the calcium you get from other foods. A sixty-year old woman who drinks two glasses of milk and eats an ounce of hard cheese gets three milk units. Add an additional unit for the calcium in other foods and she needs two more units, which she can get by taking two generic calcium carbonate pills. Don't waste your money on expensive chelated calcium pills or supplements that combine magnesium with calcium. Magnesium is not necessary for calcium absorption.

Some antacids such as Tums are calcium carbonate, an excellent source of dietary calcium; but other antacids may contain aluminum, which in large doses can take calcium from your bones. Check the label.

EzineArticles Expert Author Gabe Mirkin, M.D.

Dr. Gabe Mirkin has been a radio talk show host for 25 years and practicing physician for more than 40 years; he is board certified in four specialties, including sports medicine. Read or listen to hundreds of his fitness and health reports at http://www.DrMirkin.com

Free weekly newsletter on fitness, health, and nutrition.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Gabe_Mirkin,_M.D.

 

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