What Is the Difference in Vitamin C & Calcium?

Two Young Children Eating Watermelon
Two children lay on a picnic blanket eating watermelon. (Image: E. Dygas/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Vitamin C and calcium are two essential nutrients for a variety of reasons, but your body needs each for different processes. While vitamin C is a vitamin that supports tissue growth and repair, calcium is a mineral needed for strong teeth and bones. It is important to meet the recommended daily allowance for both, and you can get them from a variety of foods. Talk to your doctor before altering your intake of either nutrient.

Functions

Vitamin C is not only necessary for growth and development, but it also makes a protein that is essential for your ligaments, tendons and skin. Additionally, this vitamin helps to maintain the cartilage in your bones and teeth, two areas that require calcium for growth, strength and development. Vitamin C is also needed for healing wounds and protecting your cells from environmental damage. Calcium, meanwhile, contributes to blood clotting, muscle movement and the transmission of signals between your nerves. Getting enough of each of these nutrients is imperative for the proper functioning and health of your body.

RDA's and Sources

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the RDA for vitamin C is 75 mg for women over 19 and 90 mg for men over 19. For calcium, the RDA is 1,000 mg for both sexes between the ages of 19 and 50, and once you turn 51, your RDA becomes 1,200 mg. Broccoli, cabbage and dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, turnip and dandelion are good sources of both vitamin C and calcium. Other good sources of vitamin C include oranges, watermelon, peppers, cranberries and pineapple, while cheese, tofu, milk and oysters are other good sources of calcium.

Deficiencies

It is not uncommon for people in the United States to be mildly deficient in vitamin C or calcium, but this can pose risks to your health. Signs of a vitamin C deficiency include bleeding gums, rough skin, easy bruising and a compromised immune system. Meanwhile, if you become deficient in calcium, you may develop osteoporosis, which is a weakening of the tissue in your bones and, in time, this can lead to a loss of bone density. Talk to your doctor about designing a balanced diet to meet the RDA's of these nutrients, and ask about supplements if you are unable to get the vitamin C and calcium you need through food.

Overdoses

Because vitamin C is water-soluble, your body rids itself of the excess, making an overdose unlikely. However, if you consume the vitamin in excess of 2,000 mg a day, you may experience diarrhea and other types of stomach upset. High intake of calcium, on the other hand, can increase your risk of developing kidney stones over time. If you consume more than 2,500 mg of the mineral per day, you may also experience stomach upset, a loss of appetite, confusion and an abnormal heart rate. See your health care provider if you experience any of these symptoms.

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