Early Menopause and Vitamin D and Calcium
A recent study indicates that vitamin D and calcium intake may be associated with the risk of early menopause (menopause occurring before the age of 45 years).
Early menopause has been associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and other health issues.
In the study, the researchers found that women with the highest intake of dietary vitamin D had a significantly lower risk of early menopause than women with the lowest intake of vitamin D.
As for calcium, there was a borderline significantly lower risk of early menopause for women with the highest dietary calcium intake compared to those with the lowest intake.
Interestingly, these associations were stronger for vitamin D and calcium from dairy sources than from non–dairy food sources. And a high intake of vitamin D and calcium supplements had no association with lower risk of early menopause.
Although more research is needed, the researchers concluded that high intakes of dietary vitamin D and calcium may be modestly associated with a lower risk of early menopause.
In light of these findings, let’s review daily recommendations for calcium and vitamin D.
The daily calcium recommendation for adults 19-50 years is 1000 mg, to a maximum of 2500 mg. The recommendation is the same for women of this age range who are pregnant or breast-feeding.
Although the association was strongest with calcium from dairy sources, other good food sources of calcium include calcium fortified soy beverages, canned fish, cooked spinach, legumes and almonds.
The daily vitamin D recommendation for adults up to 70 years of age is 600 IU to a maximum of 4000 IU. The recommendation is the same for women who are pregnant or breast-feeding.
Although the association was strongest for vitamin D from dairy sources, other sources of vitamin D include fatty fish (such as sardines, salmon, tuna and mackerel), eggs, and fortified orange juice, soy, rice and almond beverages.
Use these helpful tips to maximize your absorption of calcium:
Vitamin D helps the absorption of calcium – consume them together.
Caffeine lowers the absorption of calcium – limit caffeine to no more than 400 mg per day (about 2-3 cups of coffee).
Alcohol lowers the absorption of calcium – limit intake to no more than 2 drinks per day.
Smoking lowers the absorption of calcium – if you smoke, quit.