This second of two parts on bone health focuses on the vital role that nutrition plays in the prevention or slowing of osteoporosis.
In The Backbone of Bone Health – Part 1, we looked at the risk factors for osteoporosis as well as some of the lifestyle choices that can help you avoid it. But one of the easiest and effective ways to optimize bone health and help prevent osteoporosis is through nutrition.
Osteoporosis is one of the few conditions where there is a clear agreement among everyone – from medical professionals to national health organizations to the FDA – that key nutrients play a critical role.
For example, the National Osteoporosis Foundation lists "Get your daily recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D" as the first preventive measure to take. And the FDA allows calcium and vitamin D-containing products to make health claims such as "Adequate calcium and vitamin D throughout life, as part of a well-balanced diet, may reduce the risk of osteoporosis" or "Adequate calcium and vitamin D throughout life, along with physical activity, may reduce the risk of osteoporosis in later life."
In addition to calcium and vitamin D, there are a number of nutrients that are crucial to keeping your bones strong. Here are the top minerals, vitamins and compounds:
Calcium – It tops the list for building strong bones, but calcium will not improve bone mass if other nutrients are not present. Calcium needs to attach itself to an established framework of collagen connective tissue and protein, and to build this
Average daily consumption of calcium is about 600mg, but the National Academy of Sciences recommends 1000mg for adults under 50 to 1500mg for postmenopausal women.
Note: Calcium carbonate, the most common form, should not be the only source of calcium you are getting in a supplement. Other types, such as calcium citrate, ascorbate and hydroxyapatite are better absorbed by your body.
Vitamin D – Now being recognized for a long list of health benefits, vitamin D has long been best known for its role in the absorption of calcium. It is also now being recognized that many Americans are significantly deficient in vitamin D. And as we get older, our ability to absorb and activate vitamin D declines, making deficiency even more likely.
Magnesium – When the body is low in magnesium, it pulls calcium from the bones and tries to replace the needed magnesium with calcium. The result is not only calcium loss in the bones, but also hardening of the arteries and other cardiovascular problems.
Silicon – This trace mineral appears to play an important role in making and maintaining connective tissue.
Vitamin C – This antioxidant vitamin is crucial for he development of collagen, the bone-strengthening protein that builds the infrastructure to which calcium attaches in order to build bone.
Vitamin K – Vitamin K is needed for the activation of osteocalcin, a protein found in bone that attracts calcium and allows crystal formation of the bone to occur. A recent review of literature found that high doses of vitamin K are effective for reducing the risk of fractures in post-menopausal women.
Boron – This nonmetallic element increases estrogen levels and increases bone density. It also appears to improve the metabolism of calcium, magnesium, copper and vitamin D in the body, which reduces their loss.
Zinc – Zinc is essential for normal bone-cell formation as well as for the creation of various proteins found in bone tissue.
Copper – This trace mineral is crucial to the synthesis of the collagen component of bone tissue.
Manganese – Manganese is another nutrient that is also critical for building the bone matrix that holds calcium in place and builds bones.
OsteoGene– Made from hops fruit extract, OsteoGene may inhibit the deconstruction of bone.
Isoflavone Complex – These natural phytoestrogenic compounds derived from soy and herbs help promote bone health.
Dong Quai – Another source of phyoestrogens, dong quai has been used clinically for decades in Asia to help menopausal symptoms and reduce the complications associated with osteoporosis.
Horsetail, Oatstraw and Nettle– These herbs, rich in calcium and other trace minerals, support calcium metabolism.
While diet is the foundation of nutrition, it is nearly impossible to get enough of these key nutrients through diet alone. As a result, it is important to take a high-quality nutritional supplement, balanced with all the key ingredients, an integral part of a complete program to keep your bones healthy and strong.
Our Bone Support contains the full spectrum of these essential nutrients, as well as others, to guard against bone loss and enhance bone density. Take together with Basic Nutrient Support for a complete nutritional supplement program that also specifically addresses your bone health needs.
For a comprehensive approach to bone health, follow the lifestyle recommendations laid out in The Backbone of Bone Health – Part 1 and the nutritional guidelines above. You will be putting yourself in the best position to build and maintain strong bones, ward off osteoporosis, and live the active, abundant life God has intended for you.