How Vital is Vitamin D for Bones?
The adult human body is made up of 206 bones, and we realize the importance of each one of them only when we’ve fractured, broken or dislocated one. The excruciating pain and the long period of recovery that follows a bone injury are reasons enough to take good care of your bones, and the best way to do this is to eat foods that are rich in calcium, because your bones are made up of calcium.
But calcium alone is not enough to give you strong bones; for the calcium to be effective and completely absorbed by your body, you need to supplement it with Vitamin D. This vitamin regulates the amount of calcium in your blood and helps your bones absorb the calcium from foods like milk, soy beans and fish like sardines. You could also get your daily dose from direct sunlight, but what with the fear of skin cancer and ultraviolet radiation, not many people are willing to go out in the sun these days. Even if they do, they’re protected by a host of accessories like umbrellas and hats.
An average adult needs at least 200 IU of Vitamin D on a daily basis, a level that’s hard to achieve with natural foods and sunlight alone. Most dairy products and juices come fortified with the vitamin so that their calcium content is of value to your bones.
Besides calcium and Vitamin D, your bones need weight bearing exercises to get really strong. Activities like walking, jogging, climbing stairs, tennis, racquet ball, football, soccer and others that put weight on your legs help in strengthening your bones and delaying the onset of arthritis and osteoporosis. These exercises also help to build your muscle mass, and with stronger muscles, you tend to have stronger bones too.
It’s important that your bones are strong because that’s what protects you in the event of a nasty fall or accident. Broken bones are extremely painful and may leave you with a permanent disability like a limp or deformity. So if you want healthy bones, supplement your calcium intake with both Vitamin D and weight bearing exercises.