Osteoporosis – Calcium

Osteoporosis – Calcium


Calcium is a mineral required for strong, healthy bones with low calcium intake being linked to osteoporosis. Dairy foods are the richest source of calcium in the Australian diet.


Estimates of Australians’ usual intake of nutrients show that only one in four females and one in two males meet their calcium requirements from food. (Australian Bureau of Statistics – March 2015).


Recommended Adequate Daily Intake

Adults 19+ 1,000 mg/day

Women 50+ 1,300 mg/day

Men 70+ 1,300 mg/day

(Source: National Health and Medical Council of Australia 2006).


Vitamin D

The major function of Vitamin D in humans is to maintain appropriate serum calcium concentrations by enhancing the ability of the small intestine to absorb calcium from the diet.


For most Australians, the main source of vitamin D is from exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D is produced when the skin is exposed to ultraviolet B (UVB) light from the sun. Food cannot provide an adequate amount of vitamin D and most people are reliant on sun exposure to reach recommended levels.


Vitamin D deficiency is common in Australia with over 30% of adults having a mild, moderate or even severe deficiency.

(Osteoporosis Australia Medical & Scientific Advisory Committee – 2017)



Some sun exposure:

Under 70 years: at least 600 IU per day.

Over 70 years: at least 800 IU per day.

Sun avoiders:

1,000-2,000 IU per day.

Moderate to severe vitamin D deficiency – (levels lower than 30 nmol/L):

3,000-5,000 IU per day may be required for 6-12 weeks to raise the vitamin D level quickly, followed by a maintenance dose of 1,000-2,000 IU per day. This should be supervised by your doctor

(Source Osteoporosis Australia – 2017)