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Increase Calcium and Vitamin D in Your Diet

Calcium is a mineral that is an important part of a healthy diet. Vitamin D is a nutrient that helps the body absorb calcium.  

Calcium and vitamin D work together to: 

  • Build strong bones and teeth 
  • Help with muscle movement 
  • Support nerve communication  

People who may need more combined calcium and vitamin D include:  

  • Growing children 
  • Those who do not or cannot eat dairy products 
  • Teenage girls 
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women

Risk factors for low vitamin D  

Risk factors for low vitamin D include: 

  • Being overweight 
  • Having dark skin 
  • Not spending time outdoors 
  • Having chronic kidney or liver disease 
  • Being unable to absorb enough vitamin D because of inflammatory disease, surgery, or radiation therapy 
  • Taking certain medications. These may include steroids, HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) treatments, seizure medications, and medicines to treat fungal infections. 

Sources of calcium and vitamin D 

Calcium is in a variety of foods. The best way to increase calcium is with food, not by taking supplements. Calcium supplements can react with other medications.  

Vitamin D is found in some foods. It is also made by your body when your skin absorbs sunlight.  

Vitamin D supplements are available in two forms. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is made from animal sources. Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) is made from plant sources.  

Talk to your care team before spending time in the sun or taking any store-bought supplements. 

Add calcium and vitamin D to your diet by eating foods found in the lists here. 


Foods high in calcium include: 

Dairy All milk and milk products
Vegetable All green leafy vegetables, broccoli, greens, kale, spinach
Beans/Legumes Baked beans, black eyed peas, pinto beans, white beans
Nuts All nuts
Fish Canned fish with bones, sardines, and salmon
Fruit Dried figs, orange, papaya, prunes, raisins
Foods with calcium added (Fortified) Breakfast cereal, bread, cereal bars, juices, pancake/waffle mix, rice milk, soy products, tortillas

Vitamin D 

 Foods high in vitamin D include: 

Dairy Cheese, milk, yogurt, margarine
Vegetable Mushrooms
Eggs Egg yolk
Oil Cod liver oil
Fish Mackerel, salmon, sardines, trout, tuna
Foods with vitamin D added (Fortified) Almond milk, breakfast cereal, cereal bars, margarine, milk, oat milk, oatmeal, orange juice, yogurt

Read more about nutrition

Key Points

  • Calcium and vitamin D work together to keep bones strong. 
  • Dairy products and foods with added nutrients, like cereal and pancake mixes, contain both calcium and vitamin D. 
  • Use the food lists here to add foods high in calcium and vitamin D to your diet. 

Reviewed: August 2022