By: Eileen Guo
Research announced that taking calcium and vitamin D supplements together might increase the risk of having a stroke. This finding was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in a review of what’s currently known about the health effects of supplements. The review prompted jaw-dropping headlines considering more than half of Americans take a dietary supplement of some sort, and calcium and vitamin D are among the most common.
Why do we need calcium?
99% of the body’s calcium supply can be found in one’s teeth and bones. Calcium allows your blood to clot and your muscles to contract in addition to keeping your bones healthy.
Women 50 years old and younger need to consume 1,000 milligrams of calcium each day, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Women 51 and up need to add another 200 milligrams to that. Dairy products, including cheese, milk, and yogurt, have high levels of calcium.
Why do we need vitamin D?
Vitamin D, which is important for children and adults, also plays a part in protecting bones and helps with muscle support. Without adequate levels of vitamin D, the chances of bone breakage at an older age is much higher.
Among the most popular ways to get vitamin D is going outside. When sunlight reaches your skin, your body creates vitamin D and stores it. Additionally, you can get it from fatty fish, including wild-caught mackerel, tuna, and salmon. Vitamin D can also be found in orange juice, fortified cereals, soymilk, and dairy products, including milk.
In light of this news, don’t panic yet if you’ve been taking vitamin D and calcium supplements together. The authors of the new report looked at previously published evidence concerning how supplements affect our health.
However, many of the studies that have looked at the use of vitamin D and calcium supplements rely on follow-up data that lacks precision. If a study participant died before the data was gathered, for example, his or her family member ended up filling out a questionnaire about their deceased relative’s health. Questionnaires are, of course, subject to human error.
Overall, you shouldn’t stop taking supplements your doctor has recommended just because of this new review. But if you’re worried about your calcium and vitamin D intake, and you currently don’t take either of the supplements, try getting the recommended amount of calcium and vitamin D via lifestyle changes rather than pills.