Difference Between Calcium and Vitamin D

Calcium and Vitamin D goes hand in hand to give you strong, healthy bones and strong teeth, but the difference between them is in the way they function. One could simply list Calcium and Vitamin D as the two most important factors that play roles in bone health. But if you ask, are they the same? Do they function the same way to give you healthy strong bones? Definitely not. Let’s find out how each functions in our body and the need of each while learning the difference between both.

What is Calcium?

In general terms, Calcium is an element. The Calcium we are discussing here is the nutrient that is taken by our bodies as a mineral. Calcium plays a variety of roles in our bodies. Starting from nerve signaling to blood clotting to the formation of bone and teeth, Calcium’s function is vital for a healthy human. Calcium is mostly found as a structural building block in our bones and teeth. Calcium supplementing through diet is important because our bodies cannot produce Calcium. The moment we are not taking adequate amounts of Calcium through diet, our bodies take up the stored Calcium from our bones and this makes the bones weak and prone to injury and damage. Calcium rich food such as milk, cheese, green vegetables, small fish are excellent sources of Calcium to prevent your bones getting weaker. Another way is to take Calcium supplements. The recommended daily dose of Calcium ranges from 1000 to 1200 mg.

Milk contains calcium

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is another vital nutrient in building strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D facilitates Calcium absorption to the body. What this means is no matter how rich in Calcium your diet is, if Vitamin D is not present to absorb Calcium, it will be difficult to have strong bones and teeth. But Vitamin D can be synthesized by our skin by absorbing the UVB rays in sunlight. This is an unreliable method to ensure we are getting enough Vitamin D because it may differ with geographical location, season, latitude, etc. Further, the use of sunscreen blocks the UVB rays and prevents this natural synthesis of Vitamin D to a greater extent. Vitamin D can be supplemented through fatty fish like salmon or tuna, or direct supplements in the forms Vitamin D2 or Vitamin D3. The recommended daily dose is about 400 IU (International Units).

What is the difference between Calcium and Vitamin D?

• Definitions of Calcium and Vitamin D:

• Calcium is a mineral.

• Vitamin D is a complex organic molecule.

• Uses:

• Both are needed for strong and healthy bones.

• Calcium functions as a structural building block for bones.

• Vitamin D facilitates the absorption of Calcium to the body.

• Method of Acquiring:

• Calcium needs to be supplemented.

• Vitamin D can be synthesized by the body or supplemented when the natural synthesis is inadequate.

• Daily Dosages:

• Daily dosages required differ for Calcium and Vitamin D.

• The recommended daily dose of Calcium ranges from 1000 to 1200 mg.

• The recommended daily dose is about 400 IU (International Units).


Images Courtesy:

  1. Milk via Pixabay (Public Domain)
  2. Vitamin Packaging by Colin Dunn (CC BY 2.0)