Calcium and Vitamin D

cheeseCalcium and vitamin D are two of the various essential nutrients that the body needs for normal daily functions. It can be said that both calcium and vitamin D complement each other in the roles that they play in several of the body’s various processes. Here is a look at how important calcium and vitamin D are to the body.

What is Calcium?

Calcium is an essential mineral that is the building block for the bones in the body. Adequate calcium intake in the diet is one of the important ways of maintaining healthy and strong bones. Calcium is also considered as the most abundant mineral found in the body.

What is vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that can only be found in a few food items. But the body can also produce the vitamin when the ultraviolet rays from the sun strike the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis in the body. But the vitamin D produced is of the inert kind and may need to be converted either in the liver or in the kidney for proper use. Vitamin D plays a significant role in the body’s ability to absorb calcium. Vitamin D is essential for the effective absorption of calcium from the intestines as well as maintaining proper calcium levels in the blood.

Why we need calcium?

Calcium plays a significant role in building bones in the body. Throughout life, the body goes through a cycle of bone remodeling. Bones go through a process of formation and breakdown. The ratio between both processes changes as a person ages. During childhood there is a higher level of bone formation going on as opposed to bone breakdown. But as people age, the process is reversed with bone breakdown exceeding the ability of the body to form new ones. Calcium plays an important role in this process.

Calcium also is a required nutrient for muscle contraction as well as for the proper expansion and contraction of blood vessels. It is also needed for the proper secretion of hormones and enzymes as well as in sending messages through the nervous system. The body tries to maintain a constant level of calcium in the tissues and the body fluids for the vital body processes to function efficiently.

Why we need vitamin D?

Vitamin D helps regulate the calcium as well as the phosphorus levels in the blood by promoting their absorption in the intestines from food. Vitamin D also helps promote bone formation and mineralization and is needed for strengthening the skeletal system.

Vitamin D also affects the immune system through its anti-tumor activity and in promoting phagocytosis, a process in the immune system that allows proper transportation of nutrients in some cells as well as a major mechanism used to remove pathogens and cell debris in the system.