Vitamin D and Calcium for Bone Health

May 04, 2023 Bone HealthCalciumVitamin D 7 MIN

Vitamin D and Calcium for Bone Health

Quick Health Scoop

  • Vitamin D and Calcium work together to support strong and healthy bones.†
  • Vitamin D regulates Calcium absorption which is necessary for building and maintaining the health of your bones. †
  • Calcium is the primary component of your bones providing them with structure and strength.
  • Other nutrients like Magnesium and Vitamin K2 also work to support strong and healthy bones. †
  • Many Americans don’t consume enough Calcium, Vitamin D, and other minerals and vitamins for bones from diet alone, and may need supplementation to meet their needs.

Vitamin D and Calcium for Bone Health

Bone health is an important aspect of your overall health and well-being. Your bones allow you to move around, protect your organs, provide structure, and support your muscles. Your skeleton is also a reserve supply for calcium and other minerals when your body needs them.

Bone mineral content (BMC) is the amount of mineral found in your bones and is closely linked to bone density, an indicator of bone strength.

Your BMC and the development of bone occurs through three phases which includes bone growth, bone modeling, and bone remodeling. Calcium and Vitamin D play an important role in all three phases of bone development. You’ll need adequate amounts of Calcium for bone growth and modeling while Vitamin D supports Calcium absorption. Moreover, both nutrients are needed to activate the process of bone remodeling.

To maintain strong and healthy bones, you’ll want to consume a variety of nutrients, including Vitamin D and Calcium. Let’s explore the role that Vitamin D, Calcium, and other minerals and vitamins for bones play in bone health and how to get adequate amounts to keep your body in good condition for years to come.

Understanding the Benefits of Vitamin D and Calcium

As you’ll see, both Vitamin D and Calcium work together to promote strong and healthy bones.

How Vitamin D Supports Healthy Bones

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin  well-known for its ability to support bone health. Through the parathyroid hormone (PTH), Vitamin D regulates blood levels of calcium and stimulates calcium absorption in the small intestine. Additionally, Vitamin D supports muscle health which can protect your bones. †

To support the health of your bones, you’ll want to ensure that you’re getting the recommended amounts of Vitamin D on a daily basis. How much Vitamin D you need will depend on a variety of factors including your vitamin D status, age skin color, how much sun exposure you get, sunscreen use, where you live, and the season. However, as a general guideline, the average daily recommended amount (RDA) of Vitamin D for most adults is 15 mcg, or 600 IU. [1] However, older adults require more vitamin D for bone health. The American Geriatric Society recommends 1,000 IU (25 mcg) vitamin D supplementation along with calcium for older adults over 65 years old. [5]

Its important to note that your Vitamin D needs may be higher if you have limited sun exposure, have a darker skin tone, or if you have a Vitamin D deficiency. In fact, nearly 30% of U.S. adults have a blood level indicating Vitamin D deficiency. [6] Your healthcare provider can perform a simple blood test to determine the vitamin D level in your blood and make recommendations for supplementation.  

Learn More: How Much Vitamin D Do You Need Per Day?

How Calcium Supports Healthy Bones

Calcium, the most abundant mineral in your body is best known for its vital role in helping to support strong and healthy bones.  Approximately 99% of your body’s Calcium is stored in your bones and teeth where it provides structure and strength and serves as a reserve to maintain adequate levels in the blood and tissues.

The remaining 1% of the Calcium in your body can be found in your blood, muscle, and other tissues where it plays an important role in blood clotting, muscle contractions, nerve functioning, and regulating normal heart rhythms. [2] You want to ensure you’re getting enough Calcium each day to not only support strong bones but also to support your overall health and well-being.

Calcium is necessary for bone structure and maintenance throughout life. In childhood and adolescence, adequate calcium intake plays an important role in supporting bone development and gaining bone mineral density. In adulthood, adequate calcium intake supports bone health and reduces the loss of calcium from bones. 

Roughly 43% of American adults are not meeting their daily Calcium requirements from food intake alone. [4] However, in order to get enough Calcium from food, you’ll need to know what your individual needs are. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Calcium for most adults under the age of 70 is 1,000 mg while people over the age of 70 will need 1,200 mg each day to meet their needs. [2] Adequate Calcium and Vitamin D as part of a healthful diet, along with physical activity, may reduce the risk of osteoporosis later in life.

Learn More: Why Is Calcium Important And Are You Getting Enough?


The Roles of Other Nutrients for Bones

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and approximately 60% of it is found in your bones. This important mineral is required for more than 300 metabolic reactions so it probably comes as no surprise that it can help support healthy bones. Like Vitamin D, Magnesium also plays a role in bone health through the PTH, helping to release the active form of Vitamin D.†  

Magnesium can be found in a wide variety of foods including dark green, leafy vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, dairy, nuts, and seeds. However, according to research, 55% of adults in the U.S. consume less than the required amount of Magnesium from food sources. [3] Therefore, you may consider taking a Magnesium supplement if you’re one of the many Americans not meeting your needs through food alone.

In addition to Vitamin D, vitamins for bones also include Vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 and Vitamin D3 work together to activate proteins that support strong and healthy bones. Vitamin K2 can be found naturally in some animal foods including beef, liver and other organ meats, pork, egg yolks, dairy products, and fatty fish. However, you may benefit from supplementation if your diet is lacking in these specific foods.†

Tips for Getting Vitamin D and Calcium Daily

Taking Daily Supplements

Research shows that 95% of Americans don’t consume enough Vitamin D from diet alone, and may need supplementation to meet their needs. [4] Older adults, people with darker skin tones, people with certain medical conditions , and those with a Vitamin D deficiency which accounts for approximately 30% of the U.S. adult population, may need a daily Vitamin D supplement to ensure they’re getting adequate amounts. [6]

Always check with your healthcare provider to determine the best type, dose, and timing of a Vitamin D supplement to meet your unique needs.

If you’re one of the many Americans who may not be meeting their Calcium requirements through diet alone, you may benefit from a daily Calcium supplement. It’s always best to consult your healthcare provider to help select a Calcium supplement that will best meet your individual needs.

Eating Foods Fortified With Vitamin D and Calcium

Vitamin D is not naturally found in many foods, therefore, getting adequate amounts through your diet can be difficult. Fatty fish like salmon and tuna are some of the best dietary sources of Vitamin D.

One of the best ways to get enough Calcium in your diet is to consume Calcium-rich foods. Dairy foods like milk, cheese, and yogurt are naturally rich in Calcium and may also provide Vitamin D to help support healthy bones. In addition to dairy products, certain vegetables like kale, broccoli, and Chinese cabbage (bok choy) are also sources of Calcium.

The following foods are easy to incorporate into your diet and are good sources of Calcium:

  • Milk (8 oz) = 300 mg
  • Cheddar cheese (1.5 oz) = 303 mg
  • Yogurt (8 oz) = 415 mg
  • Orange juice, fortified (8 oz) = 349 mg
  • Fortified dairy alternative (almond, soy, oat) (8 oz) = 350-450 mg

Foods fortified with Vitamin D:

  • Fortified milk (8 oz) = 100 IU (2.5 mcg)
  • Orange juice (8 oz) = 100 IU (2.5 mcg)
  • Breakfast cereal (1 cup) = 133 IU (3.3 mcg)

Having a well-balanced diet can help you meet your Vitamin D and Calcium needs, but getting adequate amounts through food alone can be difficult. Many people can benefit from Vitamin D and Calcium supplements to help fill in any nutritional gaps to support their overall health.†

Start Your Day With Nature Made

As you can see, both Vitamin D and Calcium can help support strong and healthy bones. Getting enough Vitamin D through diet alone can be difficult as the nutrient is not naturally found in many foods. Likewise, while Calcium can be found in a variety of foods, many people are not meeting their daily calcium requirements from food intake alone.

Meeting your Vitamin D and Calcium needs couldn’t be easier by starting your day with Nature Made. Each of our Calcium softgels provides 600 mg of Calcium and 10 mcg (400 IU) of Vitamin D3 to help meet your daily needs to support healthy bones and your overall health and well-being.

Learn More About Vitamin D and Calcium for Bone Health:

Follow @NatureMadeVitamins on Instagram for new product news, healthy tips, and more.

† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


  1. Office of Dietary Supplements - Vitamin D. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: (Accessed: April 3, 2023).
  2. Office of Dietary Supplements – Calcium. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: (Accessed: April 3, 2023).
  3. Blumberg, J. B., et al. "Impact of Frequency of Multi-Vitamin/Multi-Mineral Supplement Intake on Nutritional Adequacy and Nutrient Deficiencies in U.S. Adults." Nutrients 9.8 (2017).
  4. Reider CA, Chung RY, Devarshi PP, Grant RW, Hazels Mitmesser S. Inadequacy of Immune Health Nutrients: Intakes in US Adults, the 2005-2016 NHANES. Nutrients. 2020;12(6):1735.
  5. American Geriatrics Society Workgroup on Vitamin D Supplementation for Older Adults. J Am Geriatr 2014;62(1):147-152.
  6. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. Evaluation, Treatment, and Prevention of Vitamin D deficiency: An Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline. July 2011. Accessed on April 17, 2023.


Emily Hirsch, MS, RD

NatureMade Contributor

Emily has over a decade of experience in the field of nutrition. In her writing, she strives to bring lackluster research on health and nutrition topics to life. She loves writing about GI health and women’s issues. Find her at

Read More

Sandra Zagorin, MS, RD

Science and Health Educator

As a member of the Medical and Scientific Communications team, Sandra educates healthcare professionals and consumers on nutrition, supplements, and related health concerns. Prior to joining Pharmavite, Sandra worked as a clinical dietitian at University of Chicago Medicine in the inpatient and outpatient settings. Sandra received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nutritional Science, with minors in Spanish and Chemistry from the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ. She earned her Master of Science degree in Clinical Nutrition from RUSH University in Chicago, IL. As part of her Master’s program, Sandra performed research on physical activity participation and correlates in urban Hispanic women.

Read More