It is good that you are getting enough calcium, but it is not enough to maintain bone health on its own. These six supplements can help fill in the gaps.
About 200 million people suffer from osteoporosis, a condition in which bones become weak and brittle. Women who are past menopause and older men are most at risk, with nearly 9 million fractures from this disease.
We often think of bone health as something we don’t have to worry about until we are older, but osteoporosis prevention should begin in our teens and twenties. Osteoporosis means “porous bone” and most people will have no symptoms for years until something tragic happens, such as a broken bone from a minor fall.
You often hear about taking calcium to prevent and treat osteoporosis, but supporting bone health includes many other essential nutritional and lifestyle factors. Sure, calcium is a good start, but it’s time to dig deeper.
Why Bone Health is Critical
Without the structural support of bones, the muscles and tissues in the body literally have no leg to stand on. Bone health declines rapidly after age 50, especially if health and nutritional needs were not sufficient in the 1920s and 1930s.
Osteoporosis occurs when bones lose too much mass, too quickly, or simply don’t make enough new bone. Osteopenia, which affects half of all Americans over the age of 50, is a milder condition associated with bone loss and weakness.
Symptoms of osteoporosis usually do not appear until the disease has progressed and the procedures become surgical in nature. Symptoms can include:
- Bone pain, which can be serious
- Fractures and fractures, usually in the hip, spine, wrist, knees and feet.
- Decrease in height
- Bent posture or arched spine
The causes of osteoporosis and bone mass problems are more than just not drinking enough milk in childhood. There are usually several factors involved, including many:
- Poor nutrition and vitamin deficiencies.
- Inactivity or a sedentary lifestyle
- Lung, kidney or liver disease.
- Autoimmune Diseases
- Hormonal changes, such as menopause in women or low testosterone in men
- Long-term use of certain medications such as SSRIs, hormonal drugs, or steroids.
- Mental health problems
- Calorie restriction
- Family history
Nutrients That Support Bone Health Beyond Calcium
We know that calcium is needed for strong bones, with a daily requirement for adults under 50 years of up to 1000 milligrams and 1300 milligrams for women over 50 and men over 70. In addition to maintaining skeletal health, calcium regulates moisture content in the body. and supports cardiovascular health.
However, calcium on its own cannot structurally maintain bone health. While it may be needed at higher intakes, other nutrients are essential for overall bone structure, health, and fracture prevention. These are the most important nutrients needed in addition to calcium.
To facilitate the transport and utilization of calcium in the body, you must also have adequate magnesium. A study of over 73,000 women found that regular consumption of 400 milligrams of magnesium per day resulted in bone density that was up to three percent higher, offsetting the average of one to two percent over women. lose every year after menopause.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that can be found in both food sources and supplements, and even in well-developed countries, deficiency is common – so common that low magnesium levels are considered a public health crisis. globally.
The foods with the highest magnesium are nuts, leafy greens, avocado, pumpkin seeds, bananas and molasses. When supplemented, the dose is usually between 200 and 400 milligrams in an easily absorbable form, such as magnesium citrate or magnesium malate, such as this one. Read the label carefully and do not take more than the recommended dose of magnesium, otherwise it could lead to gastrointestinal symptoms.
2. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is great for the immune system and also helps stimulate the replication of bone-building cells. While most people think of bones as strong structures, such as stones, in reality, bones are in a constant state of destruction and repair. When the body is low in nutrients such as calcium, the body can benefit from bone reserves. If this “stolen” calcium is not replaced, the bones will no longer be built as strongly as they used to. As this pattern continues, there is a loss of bone density.
Research found that postmenopausal women who eat higher amounts of vegetables, such as broccoli, parsley, and cabbage, maintain better bone density because these vegetables exert antioxidant protection on the bones, resulting in decreased turnover. .
Vitamin C is water-soluble, which means it needs to be replenished daily as the body doesn’t store leftovers. The recommended daily allowance of vitamin C is 200 milligrams, although doses of 500 or 1000 milligrams are common. The upper allowable limit is 2000 milligrams. If you supplement it, try one that comes from tapioca, not corn, like this one.
You don’t need to take supplements if you eat plenty of foods rich in vitamin C. The best sources include:
- Lemon fruit
- Cruciferous vegetables
- Leafy green vegetables
- Sweet potatoes
3. Vitamin D
You need calcium to build strong bones, but for your body to absorb and use it, you need plenty of vitamin D. But a billion people around the world are vitamin D deficient or insufficient. to stay in good health.
To protect against bone density loss, a vitamin D level of at least 30 ng / ml is required, although others think 40 ng / ml is the foundation for health and all. less than 20 is a real shortcoming. Vitamin D makes it easier to use calcium, and optimal vitamin D levels are associated with a lower risk of disease and inflammation.
You need calcium to build strong bones, but for your body to absorb and use it, you need enough vitamin D.
While you can find vitamin D in foods such as fatty fish, beef liver, and egg yolks, the problem is that there are no food sources with enough vitamin D. to get enough from your diet. While your body can produce vitamin D in response to sun exposure, it only does so for a few months of the year (usually April through September). Most of your skin (trunk, arms, and legs) should be exposed for at least 10 to 15 minutes. If you use sunscreen, you will not get this conversion of vitamin D, making it difficult to get adequate levels from the sun.
To supplement vitamin D, look for the D3 form, which is best for absorption. The recommended daily intake of vitamin D is 400 to 800 IU per day. Ultimately, your vitamin D intake is determined by your personal blood level, so start by asking your doctor to test your level. Because vitamin D is fat-soluble, taking too much when you don’t need it can lead to toxicity.
Tip: Choose a high-quality form of D3, such as this one, and take it with fatty foods or fish oil to improve absorption.
4. Vitamin K
Vitamin K and Vitamin K2, in particular, are essential for boosting osteocalcin, the protein that helps build bone and slows the loss of calcium from bone stores.
Vitamin K2 can be found in fermented foods such as sauerkraut and in small amounts in liver, eggs and meat. It can also be taken in supplement form, and some studies show that the MK-7 form absorbs better.
Most people get enough vitamin K from their diet, but if your bone density is an issue, your doctor may suggest supplements. The effective dose of MK-7 to support bone health is approximately 180 micrograms and should be taken in combination with fatty acids for optimal absorption.
5. Protein & Collagen
Bone is made up of minerals, but it needs proteins for healthy formation. About half of the bone structure is based on proteins, and without sufficient calcium absorption decreases and the bones become less dense. This is especially true for older women, who have healthier bones when they take in more protein and are less prone to fractures.
Collagen is the main protein found in bones and is made up of amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) such as glycine, lysine and proline, all of which support healthy bone and musculoskeletal structure.
The actual amount of protein you need on a daily basis will depend on a number of factors, but you can calculate it by converting your body weight to kilograms (tip: use a simple online converter, such as this one) and then adding your weight to kilograms. multiply by 0.8. . So, a 145-pound woman would need at least about 52 grams of protein per day. Most Americans eat more than enough protein every day.
Foods high in protein include:
- Grass-fed meat
- Wild seafood
- Grass eggs
- Nuts and seeds
If you want to supplement, buy a container of collagen peptide-like this one, with 18 grams of protein per serving.
6. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory superfoods that also protect bones from loss of density, especially with aging. They also help maintain a healthy ratio of omega-6 fatty acids, which when unbalanced can lead to low bone density. Higher levels of omega-6 cause inflammation, with the best omega-6 / omega-3 ratio being 2: 1.
The best sources of omega-3 foods are:
- Salmon, mackerel, and other fatty fish
- Ground beef
- Chia seeds
- Grass eggs
Other Ways to Boost Bone Health
While it is easier to focus on bone health from food and diet sources, bones are also strengthened by a number of lifestyle factors. To promote overall bone health, using a combination of diet and lifestyle modifications will yield the best results.
Strength Training and Cardio
The best way to improve bone health in addition to the diet is exercise. Strength training and cardio are beneficial for maintaining a healthy skeleton.
Strength training and strength training, in particular, can promote the growth and formation of new bone cells. It can also increase bone size in older people and reduce inflammation and bone turnover. Exercise with jumps or other types of cardio can also have protective effects by increasing bone density.
You can also improve your bones with stretching exercises that increase your overall strength and flexibility. Yoga, in particular, can help strengthen bones, even when done in a short routine (12 minutes per day).
In addition to exercise, maintaining a healthy weight helps protect bone health. Obesity, in particular, can put additional stress on the skeletal structure and increase the risk of fractures from overweight. Repeated cycles of weight loss and weight gain also compromise bone health, leading to additional bone loss over time.