Vitamin D3: Direct exposure of skin to sunlight is still the best source of vitamin D3. But for people living in northern latitude, sun exposure is limited. Dark skin is poor at converting sunshine to vitamin D3, leaving dark-skinned people at greater risk of bone problems and other concerns associated with low levels of D3 and calcium.
Certain dairy foods contain some vitamin D, but for susceptible groups, as well as the elderly, children, the obese, vitamin D3 supplements can elevate vitamin D to the levels needed to allow calcium to work more efficiently.
The institute of medicine, a part of the National Academy of Sciences, recently updated its recommendations to include higher amounts of calcium and vitamin D3 based on the latest scientific research.
Vitamin K: Vitamin K helps to control calcium regulation, but has been ignored as critical to bone and blood vessel health. In people who are deficient in K, calcium may leach from their bones into their arteries, potentially leading to bone loss.
K is found in meat, poultry and dairy products. Research suggests that it is effective at maintaining normal calcium levels in the body. Supplement with between 40 - 80 micrograms daily, but consult your pharmacist first. Supplemental vitamin K can interact with other medications and may impact the effectiveness of the blood thinner Coumadin.
Taken properly with calcium, vitamins D3 and K are important components of an overall bone health regimen.
Dr. Joseph Maroon
board certified neurosurgeon and
expert in nutrition and sports medicine.
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