The National Osteoporosis Website provides comprehensive information relating to nutrition and osteoporosis.

Vitamin D

This vitamin helps the body to absorb and regulate calcium and phosphate and it supports muscle. It is made by the skin in reaction to sunlight, it is stored as fat and released later.

Low levels of vitamin D (as with low levels of Calcium) lead to the risk of Rickets in children, osteomalacia in adults and inevitably poor bone health leading to osteoporosis.



  • Sunlight (Vit D1)

  • Food - D2 comes from plant based foods and D3 from animal products.

  • Supplements

In the UK it is very difficult to get enough vitamin D from sunlight alone and so it is recommended that adults and children over 5 years of age should take a supplement of 10mcg daily between the end of September and the end of March. Between April and the end of September it should be possible to get enough Vitamin D via sunlight and a balanced diet.    


The amount of Vitamin D produced depends upon the time of day, season, the latitude, skin pigmentation and age. 


Those at risk are:

  • Older population as the skin’s ability to generate vitamin D decreases as we age.

  • Those who spend most of their time indoors eg housebound individuals.

  • People who wear clothes which cover most of the body when outside.

  • Ethnic groups with dark skin.

  • Those with particular medical conditions (such as Coeliac disease) or taking medication for seizures which may interfere with Vitamin D levels.


For those in the above risk groups it is recommended by Public Health England that they consider taking a daily supplement of 10mcg of Vitamin D throughout the year.


An exciting study from the University of Surrey published in July 2018 ( showed that Vitamin D2 (plant based foods) and Vitamin D3 (animal based) do NOT have the same nutritional value. Their findings showed D3 to be twice as effective at raising the levels of Vitamin D in the body.





Combines with minerals to form hard crystals to give strength to bones and teeth and it has a role in enabling blood to clot and muscles to contract (including heart muscle). It is needed to promote bone growth and strength in children and adolescents and in adults to maintain bone mass and strength. Peak bone mass occurs in one's late 20s/early 30s.


  • The body constantly withdraws calcium from bone and it can only be deposited by diet and / or supplements

  • It is very easy to be overdrawn and this will lead to  a high risk of fracture

  • There are four parathyroid glands directly behind the thyroid gland in the neck. These glands control levels of calcium and phosphorous in the body. Having the proper amount of calcium in your blood is vital. If the amount of calcium is insufficient, these parathyroid glands secrete parathyroid hormone. This hormone causes bones to secrete calcium

  • Every day calcium is lost through nails, sweat, faeces, urine and hair and depletion increases as we age and places extra demands upon it eg pregnancy


Sources of calcium

  • Milk, cheese, dairy

  • Green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, okra (not spinach)

  • Soya beans

  • Tofu

  • Nuts

  • Fish with edible bones (pilchards and sardines)

  • Fortified bread and cereals

Daily UK recommendation - 19 to 75+ years of age 700mg per day

(those under 19 years of age have varying requirements, please see Government Daily Recommendation Public Health England publication 2016)


Anything in excess of 1500mg per day may lead to diarrhoea and stomach pain.


Whether taking calcium in foodstuffs or as supplements it is best absorbed in amounts up to 500-600mg or less in order to aid absorption. Do not be tempted to take your daily requirement in one “hit”. Calcium supplements should be taken to supplement a shortfall and not instead of a balanced diet.  Taking supplements with food is important as this aids the absorption.


What interferes with absorption?

  • Smoking

  • Alcohol 

  • High protein diets 

  • High sodium intake ( i.e contained in food flavourings) reduce the absorption of calcium







"Helping you stay stronger for longer"