Strong bones don’t just happen. They’re made. It takes a combination of nutrients, too, to build healthy bones. Here’s a look at a few of the essentials:
Vitamin D*: A cornerstone of bone-building is vitamin D.† It’s critical for building strong, healthy bones and is required for the body to absorb calcium. Unfortunately, 70 percent of women ages 51-70 and 90 percent of women over 70 don’t get enough vitamin D from food and supplements. Low levels of vitamin D are linked to osteoporosis, reduced calcium absorption, bone loss, and increased fracture risk.†
Calcium*: Calcium is central to strong bones, too.† In fact, a full 98 percent of the body’s calcium resides in the bones. The body receives calcium from foods, supplements, or—if there is not an ample supply of other sources of calcium—from the bones themselves when blood calcium levels drop too low. Ideally, the calcium borrowed from the bone will be replaced at a later point, but this doesn’t always happen and can’t always be accomplished simply by eating more calcium. After age 30, bone loss exceeds bone production, so it’s even more crucial to include calcium in your bone health regimen.
Strontium: Closely related to calcium, strontium is believed to provide nutritional support for normal bone health and strength.† Author and specialist in nutritional medicine, Alan Gaby, M.D., agrees. “The evidence is clear that strontium supplementation can build better bones,” he wrote.† Strontium should accompany calcium, although not at the same time. Take calcium in the morning and strontium in the evening, or vice-versa. Either way, however, strontium is one key player in bone health.†
Vitamin K2: Vitamin K belongs to the fat-soluble compounds called anphthoquinones and includes vitamins K1, K2 and K3. Simply put, vitamin K plays a leading role in our bones. Vitamin K activates at least three proteins involved in osteoblasts—the cells that are pertinent to bone health† —and that’s significant. Vitamin K2 is needed to produce one of these proteins, osteocalcin, which also assists to incorporate calcium into the bones. In short, Vitamin K2 is necessary for bone metabolism and bone strength.†
Magnesium: Calcium may be the most significant factor in bone health, but magnesium controls calcium’s fate in the body. If magnesium levels are insufficient, then calcium could just pass right on through the body and not find its way to the bones. A worse scenario is that if magnesium isn’t along for the ride, then calcium might get way off track and go for the soft tissues, including the arteries and kidneys. That’s a scenario your bones can do without, so make sure magnesium accompanies calcium.
* Regular exercise and a healthy diet with enough calcium and Vitamin D helps maintain good bone health and may reduce the risk of osteoporosis later in life.
† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.