What is Calcium?
Calcium is an electrolyte and the most abundant mineral in the body. Calcium is necessary for the healthy and development of bones and teeth, and it participates in blood pressure regulation, blood clotting, muscle contraction, and nerve signal transmission.1,2
Benefits of Calcium
Calcium is primarily stored in bones. If we don’t get enough calcium from our diet, the body will take calcium from bones to ensure normal cell function. This can lead to weakened bones over time and may raise the risk of osteoporosis.1,2
Calcium and vitamin D have been identified as nutrients of concern in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans because most people do not consume adequate amounts of these nutrients.3
Foods High in Calcium
Milk and other dairy foods aren’t the only way to get your daily recommended intake of calcium. Some non-dairy options include calcium-fortified orange juice, kale, soybeans, some varieties of tofu, canned sardines, and white beans.4
An 8-ounce glass of fortified orange juice contains about 30% of the recommended Daily Value of calcium, similar to an equal serving of milk.4 Calcium in fortified OJ is also well-absorbed.1
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D plays a critical role in calcium metabolism, and supports bone health
, cell growth, immune system function
, nerve and muscle function, and gene expression.2,5,6
Benefits of Vitamin D
Vitamin D acts to greatly increase the amount of calcium that the intestines can absorb from food and is essential for balancing calcium in the body.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Although we can make vitamin D from sunlight, many people do not make enough vitamin D, especially if they live in higher latitudes (far north/south), spend much time indoors, or have darker skin.2,5
Foods High in Vitamin D
Very few foods contain appreciable amounts of vitamin D – fortified orange juice, fortified dairy, eggs, fish, and mushrooms.4
While orange juice does not naturally contain vitamin D, 8 ounces of fortified orange juice contains 15% of the recommended daily value.* Fortified foods provide most of the vitamin D in an average American’s diet3
making fortified orange juice a convenient way to consume vitamin D.