According to the Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), over 44 million Americans currently have osteoporosis. That’s almost 55 percent of women and men over 50 living in the US. It is important to know the best supplements and vitamins for bones.
What is Osteoporosis?
The word “Osteoporosis” means porous bones. It refers to a progressive bone condition that weakens the bones, making them fragile and more likely to break. It’s most common in old age, especially in postmenopausal women, but can also occur in young adults due to an underlying medical condition. Common bones affected include the hip, spine, and wrist.
Osteoporosis often occurs when bone mass and bone mineral density decrease. This affects the strength and structure of the bones, thus causing fractures to occur.
Usually, the body reabsorbs old bone tissue and generates new. However, in osteoporosis, the body reabsorbs more bone tissue than it replaces, leaving the bones porous and weaker.
Best Vitamins for Bones
Diet plays a vital role in restoring bone density, strength, and integrity. However, if there is a confirmed osteoporosis diagnosis, focusing on specific nutrients can help increase bone mineral density and strength. These can either be supplements or particular foods. But keep in mind that supplements can always cause side effects if abused.
Here are the essential vitamins you should consider if you want to prevent osteoporosis or improve its symptoms.
1. Vitamin D
Also known as the sun vitamin, vitamin D is an essential vitamin that the body produces in response to sun exposure.
It’s responsible for various functions in the body, including supporting the immune system, brain, and nervous system, promoting cardiovascular health, and regulating insulin levels.
Vitamin D is also essential in maintaining bone health as it promotes the absorption and retention of calcium and phosphorus, the two powerful bone-building nutrients. This, as a result, can promote strong and healthy bones and lower the risk of osteoporosis.
Vitamin D intake is limited to very few sources such as animal foods, fortified foods, mushrooms, and sunlight.
However, many foods fortified with vitamin D are often processed, and some are highly processed, which may not be healthy for you.
How to get Vitamin D from the sun?
As for sunlight, individuals who spend most of their time indoors or those living in regions with long winter months may have difficulty getting this vitamin, thus needing a supplement.
For instance, those living in the far north or South Pole have limited sun exposure for only 2-5 months a year. This puts them at a high risk of osteoporosis and other bone conditions.
One study found that people with osteoporosis were deficient in vitamin D, while supplementation of 8 weeks reduced the osteoporosis incidences.
Even so, a daily vitamin D supplement may be beneficial in those with inadequate levels. The recommended daily intake is 600 IU for adults up to 70 years and children from 1year. Older adults from 71 years, pregnant women, and those breastfeeding should take up to 800 IU of vitamin D per day.
To prevent the risk of falls, fractures, and osteoporosis, experts recommend a daily intake of 700 IU. It’s also recommended that you maintain your daily calcium levels at 700 mg-for these, calcium-rich foods will help unless you really need a supplement.
2. Vitamin K
Vitamin K is a powerful and essential nutrient that supports bone health. It works by activating the proteins involved in bone formation and mineralization processes. This can increase bone mineral density, especially in osteoporosis, and lower the risk of fractures.
Besides, considerable evidence shows low vitamin K levels are associated with low bone density and increased fracture rates.
Additionally, research shows that vitamin K and D work synergistically in promoting bone metabolism.
Adults may need up to 90 mcg for women and 120 mcg for men per day. Note that this only applies to dietary sources as there is limited research on the role of vitamin K supplements in osteoporosis.
Besides, vitamin K can interact with some medications, such as blood thinners, so it’s always important to seek a doctor’s opinion if considering a supplement.
If you are interested in a supplement and get your medical professional’s approval, try Garden of Life Vitamin K1 and K2 here.
Otherwise, you can meet your daily requirements by adding various vitamin K foods to your diets, such as Brussels sprouts, leafy greens, and broccoli.
Additional Nutrients for Bone Health
Magnesium is possibly one of the most important minerals in the body. Some researchers even believe that every illness in the body is associated with low magnesium levels, and its supplementation could be the cure for many diseases.
It’s involved in over 300 biochemical processes in the body, as well as promoting calcium and potassium regulation, which supports healthy bones, among other benefits.
According to research, 90 percent of your magnesium is located in the bones. People with a high intake have been shown to contain an increased bone mineral density, which is essential in reducing the risk of weak, brittle, and easily fractured bones and other bone conditions like osteoporosis.
On the contrary, low magnesium intake has been shown to cause weak bones, uncomplicated fractures, and increased risk of osteoporosis, especially in postmenopausal women.
Daily, adults between the ages of 19-30 require 30-320 mg of magnesium, while 31 years and above may require a slightly higher amount of 400-420 mg a day.
This is because as you age, you start to lose more of your bone minerals, including magnesium. You actually end up losing more than your bones can absorb. This leads to weak bones, with an increased rate of osteoporosis.
A study on postmenopausal women found that 40 percent of those with osteoporosis had low serum magnesium levels.
More studies on adults show that consuming magnesium-rich foods or supplements may increase bone density than those on a low intake. Such studies confirm that magnesium is an important mineral in maintaining bone health and preventing osteoporosis, especially as you get older.
You can easily get a magnesium supplement, such as Nature’s Bounty Magnesium. Also, foods such as leafy greens, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, and avocados can help meet your daily requirement.
Boron is a trace mineral that enhances the effects of other bone-building and strengthening nutrients such as vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium.
One study found that a daily intake of 3 mg of boron reduced calcium and magnesium excretion in the kidneys in postmenopausal women, which may potentially benefit the bones. A great one to try is NOW Boron 3mg.
Additionally, in one lab study, boron supplementation significantly reduced bone loss.
Most foods such as legumes, nuts, seeds, and leafy greens contain some level of this nutrient; however, dried plums are one of the best sources and have been shown to prevent bone loss in older women.
About 99 percent of your calcium is stored in the bones. This makes calcium the main mineral in the bones and teeth. This is quite beneficial as you need calcium to build and maintain strong bones.
Getting enough calcium in your diet can help maintain strong bones and lessen osteoporosis.
To experience these benefits, an adult requires between 700-1200 mg of calcium per day, but women over 50 and men over 70 years may require slightly higher levels.
Try Garden of Life Raw Whole Food Calcium supplement, which also contains some of the other supplements mentioned above!
Other nutrients whose intake may also boost bone health include zinc, selenium, copper, silicon, and manganese.
Copper is an essential trace mineral that plays a role in bone health. It helps the body absorb and use calcium, which is necessary for strong bones. Copper also helps to form collagen, the main structural protein in bone tissue. A lack of copper can lead to osteoporosis, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough of this mineral in your diet. Foods rich in copper include dark leafy greens, legumes, nuts, and seeds. In particular, two types of beans (lima beans and black-eyed peas) are good sources. In addition, some breakfast cereals are fortified with copper.
If you’re looking to get stronger bones, phosphorus is a mineral that you should be incorporating into your diet. Phosphorus helps to build and maintain strong bones by aiding in the absorption of calcium and other minerals. It’s also important for muscle function, so including enough phosphorus in your diet will help to keep your body healthy overall. Be sure to include plenty of phosphorus-rich foods like seeds, lentils, beans, sweet potatoes, grains, and nuts.
Iron deficiency is not only a common problem in developing countries, but it can also affect people in developed countries. In the United States, about 30% of women and 25% of men are deficient in iron. Iron deficiency can cause anemia, which can lead to problems with mental function, heart health, and pregnancy.
Iron deficiency can also cause weak bones and increase the risk of fractures and osteoporosis in older adults.
This is because iron promotes the production of collagen and other proteins that are important for building strong bones. So if you’re looking to increase your bone density and reduce the chance of developing osteoporosis or another type of bone disease, incorporating plenty of iron into your diet can be helpful.
Best plant sources of iron include leafy green vegetables, some fruits, legumes like beans, and chickpeas, seeds, and some grains.
According to the National Institute of Health, a lack of iodine can lead to weak bones. Iodine is essential for healthy bones because it helps form the thyroid hormones that regulate calcium and phosphorus metabolism.
A 2005 study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that women who did not get enough iodine in their diets were more than twice as likely to have weak bones compared to women who got enough.
Potassium is a mineral that’s essential for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels, but it can also boost your bone health.
It prevents calcium loss through urine, which helps keep your bones strong and resilient. Overall, this can help prevent osteoporosis.
The best way to get potassium is through food, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains. You can also take supplements, but be sure to talk to your doctor first before taking any. Moreover, food sources are always enough unless you suffer an underlying condition.
Zinc is an essential mineral for human health, and its role in bone health has been well documented. Inadequate zinc levels have been associated with a number of bone-related conditions, including osteoporosis and rickets. Zinc works synergistically with other minerals to help protect bones from damage and strengthen them.
For example, zinc helps to form strong mineral deposits in the bone that can resist fracture. Additionally, zinc contributes to the production of collagen, a type of protein that helps bind the bone cells together and keep them strong.
The best way to get enough zinc is through food sources, but taking supplements can also be beneficial. If you are concerned about your zinc levels, speak with your doctor about testing options.
A healthy balanced diet is essential for promoting general health, including fighting osteoporosis.
Nutrients such as vitamin D, calcium, boron, and vitamin K have been shown to be among the best nutrients to help you fight osteoporosis and restore bone density and strength.
All these nutrients can be adequately obtained through food, but a supplement may sometimes be necessary.
But remember, supplements always come with side effects, especially if consumed excessively. So talk to your health care provider first and always stick to the recommended dosage.
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