bone health

Bone Health and Vitamin D – Foods & Supplements

Strong bones are a critical element of living a healthy life. When one begins to experience discomfort due to weak bones, it tampers the daily routine and derails a person’s life. Diseases due to improper bone health are not just to worry in old age as kids, adolescents, and adults also face it due to lack of nutrients and other reasons.

Multiple reasons may lead to poor bone health. Some of them are genetic, age-related, and gender-related. Another reason for low bone health can be hormonal changes. However, our diet also plays an essential element in maintaining bone health. 

Pediatricians across the globe recommend the following 3 things for maintaining optimal bone growth in kids. The same are beneficial for adults too.

  • Meet the calcium needs
  • Be aware of Vitamin D foods
  • Plenty of exercises.

The exercise part entirely depends on our willpower. However, we shall talk about nutrients that determine bone in this article, i.e., calcium and vitamin D.

How does calcium help in bone growth?

Calcium is a common mineral that can be found in a variety of foods. It is the prime source of nutrition for bones. Calcium is the essential nutrient that makes our bones and teeth strong. For the same purpose, the body stores around 99% of the calcium in the bones. The rest 1%, is used for the body to function adequately.

Bones are remodeled every day, and calcium is crucial for the process. It ensures that bone-building happens at the same pace. Mainly until the age of 30, bone formation occurs at similar rates. However, after that, one may experience a decline in bone health if a proper diet is not maintained.

Though calcium is widely available in many food products, it is not easy for the body to absorb its goodness. Its Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and helps restore bone health.

This article will learn more about Vitamin D and how it is crucial for bone health.

What is Vitamin D all about?

For healthy mineralized bones and muscles, vitamin D is essential. Without this, our bodies cannot absorb calcium effectively, which is needed for bones to maintain good health. Getting an adequate amount but not too much vitamin D is required to keep the functioning of your body.

We all have heard and studied that children with Vitamin D deficiency can develop a disease called rickets, which causes weakness in bones, bowed legs, and other skeletal malformations, like stooped posture.

In today’s era, the number of cases of children with rickets has increased. Hence, it becomes necessary to overcome this issue as much as possible.

As we already know that vitamins are necessary compounds that our body derives from food or supplements. However, Vitamin D is different. It is produced inside the body. For the same reason, it is sometimes referred to as a hormone, since it is produced in the body when in direct contact with sunlight.


How much Vitamin D does an individual need?

Nutritionists measure vitamin D in IU and mcg. These mean International Units and microgramme. The unit of Vitamin D for a person depends largely on his age. According to the Food and Nutrition Board of Institute of Medicine, and the Office of Dietary Supplements of National Institutes of Health, the suggested everyday quantity for Vitamin D is:

AgeVitamin D Dosage
0 to 12 months10mcg or 400 IU
1 to 70 years15mcg or 600 IU
70+ years20mcg or 800 IU
Pregnant and Breastfeeding women 15mcg or 600 IU    


Vitamin D Deficiency: Are You at Risk?

When the body isn’t receiving an adequate amount of Vitamin D to function, such a situation is called Vitamin D deficiency. Some people who are at greater risk for vitamin D deficiency are-

  • People who spend very little time in the sun or the ones who always cover up when going outside
  • The ones who are living in nursing homes or other organizations or who are housebound
  • Those with some medical infirmities such as inflammatory Bowel disease and Celiac disease
  • People who need to take medicines that alter vitamin D levels like, some anti-seizure medicines
  • People with dark skin since the excess melanin doesn’t allow the body to absorb sunlight
  • Obese or overweight people
  • Older grown-ups with some risk factors

You need to reach your health professional if you see any of these risk factors. Suppose you have both osteoporosis and vitamin D deficiency. In that case, your health professional will prescribe you supplements with a high dosage of vitamin D to bring up your body’s healthy level.


What Foods Help Your Body Absorb Vitamin D?

Here are seven healthy foods that are high in vitamin D-

Herring and sardines

Herring is a fish consumed throughout the world. It can be raw, smoked, canned, or pickled. This little fish is also the best source of vitamin d3 in supplements. However, pickled herring is also high in sodium that may cause adverse effects on health. Hence, it is better to stick with fresh or frozen rather than pickled fish.

Cod liver oil

Cod liver oil is the most common supplement. If you don’t relish fish, taking cod liver oil may be the key to getting some nutrients that aren’t available in other sources. It is the best source of Vitamin D. It has been utilized for several years to check and treat deficiency in kids. So, be careful with cod liver oil, and make sure not to get too much. In supplement, cod liver oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which many people lack.


If you are looking to add a generous dollop of Vitamin D to your food, salmon is a great option. 3 oz of yummy salmon will provide 447 IU of vitamin D. Apart from that, it also has loads of proteins.

Canned Tuna

Tuna is famous for being exceptionally healthy for children and adults. It is also known for packing 154 IU of Vitamin D in merely 3 oz. The fact that it is hugely affordable and packed in nutrients makes it a go-to food for all.

Egg yolks

Seafood is not the main source of vitamin D3. The eggs are also a good source of vitamin D and unusually nutritious food. Eggs contain most of the protein located in the white part, and maximum fat, vitamins, and minerals are found in the yolk.

The vitamin D level in egg yolk is based on sun exposure of chicken rather than the feed. If chickens at a particular farm are provided with quality feed and raised in pasture, their eggs shall have 3 to 4 times higher amounts of Vitamin D than those confined to cages.


Except for fortified foods, mushrooms are the only source of vitamin D from plants. It is the wild mushroom that is known for its excellent range of Vitamin D2. Some varieties may contain 3500 IU of Vitamin D2 in 3.5 ounces.

Although mushrooms provide vitamin D2, and animals provide vitamin D3. However, vitamin D2 helps increase the blood levels of vitamin D, and it may not be as efficient as vitamin D3.

Cow’s milk

Cow’s milk is a common form of milk and is widely used by people. It is usually a good source of several nutrients, involve phosphorus, calcium, and riboflavin. In many nations, cow’s milk contains vitamin D.


Yogurt is a probiotic, which means that it is excellent for your gut. It is also a tasty option to meet your daily Vitamin D requirements. A bowl of yogurt with your favorite fruits shall suffice for at least 20% of the daily Vitamin D needs.

Soy milk

Since vitamin D is almost exclusively in vegetarians, animal products and vegans are at high risk of not getting enough. Hence, plant-based milk substitutes such as soy milk are frequently fortified along with this nutrient and other vitamins and minerals commonly found in cow’s milk.

Orange juice

About 75% of people globally are lactose intolerant, and another 2-3% are allergic to milk. Hence, some nations fortify orange juice with other nutrients such as vitamin D and calcium.

Cereal and oatmeal

Some cereals and ready-to-eat oatmeal are fortified with vitamin D. Although fortified cereals and oatmeal give less vitamin D than various natural sources, they can still be the best way to increase your dietary intake of Vitamin D.

Should one opt for Vitamin D supplements?

During autumn and winter, one may not be able to acquire as much Vitamin D as required. Even Vitamin D-rich foods may not be enough. In such a situation, taking supplements becomes the last resort. However, before reaching for over-the-counter medicine, please consult a doctor and inform him regarding your health. He may access you well and recommend the right supplement with dosage.

What is the new focus on Vitamin D?

Recent studies emphasized the significance of Vitamin D. Not only for good bone health and probably stopping chronic illness when we get older; vitamin D plays a vital role. However, today there are many children out there who are not receiving adequate Vitamin D.

But what are the reasons behind it? There are numerous reasons why children today are not getting enough Vitamin D. A major one is that there are very few foods that contain an ample amount of the vitamin. Even your healthiest diet plan will not provide a child with enough Vitamin D.

Lifestyle changes have also played an essential role. Many aspects of modern lifestyle impact Vitamin D intake:

  • Due to the increasing craze of computers, mobiles, and televisions, people today spend most of their time in front of it rather than going or spending outdoors.
  • Fewer humans walk to school, jobs, etc., regularly.
  • Many famous sports, like volleyball, basketball, and gymnastics, are played indoors.
  • Milk consumption has regularly decreased by shifting towards soda or juice.

The bottom line

Consuming time in the sun is the best way to take your daily dose of vitamin D. However, getting enough sunlight is painful for many people. Taking enough from your diet alone can be tricky but not impossible. The foods given in this article are some of the best sources of vitamin D available. Eating lots of iron and vitamin D-rich foods is an excellent way to ensure you receive enough of this essential nutrient.