Bone health is a serious public health concern these days—and with good reason. Statistics indicate that there are currently over 200 million people worldwide who suffer from osteoporosis. The United States is not exempt, either.
It’s estimated that 44 million Americans—55 percent of those who are over 50—are targets of this health threat. Here’s how that figure pans out: 10 million U.S. individuals already have osteoporosis, while nearly 34 million more are believed to have low bone density, putting them at high risk for developing osteoporosis and/or broken bones. Of the 10 million who already have osteoporosis, 8 million are women and two million are men.
The future doesn’t look bright for bone health, either, unless drastic changes are made. By 2050, the worldwide incidence of hip fractures in women is projected to increase by 240 percent. For men, it’s projected to increases by 310 percent. Any way you look at it, that’s not good news.
You can take heart about your bone health, though, because strong bones don’t just happen. They’re made.
As we know, calcium’s a big part of what goes into their makeup, too. Calcium isn’t alone, though. It takes an entire nutrient team. For example, calcium is a key building block for your bones, but vitamin D provides a major assist. It’s what allows your bones to absorb calcium. If you don’t get enough vitamin D (and most people don’t), then it doesn’t make any difference how much calcium you get because your bones can’t properly absorb it. Likewise, if you don’t get enough calcium, then there’s nothing for vitamin D (if you have enough) to assist in bone absorption.
Here is a partial list of more nutrients that go into making strong bones:
- Vitamin A: This fat-soluble vitamin is important in building strong, healthy bones. In fact, osteoblasts (bone-building cells) and osteoclasts (cells that break down bone tissue) are influenced by vitamin A.
- Vitamin B12: A Tufts University study indicated that low levels of vitamin B12 are linked to a higher risk of osteoporosis in both women and men.
- Vitamin C: Studies associate increased vitamin C levels with greater bone density. Vitamin C is also essential to the formation of collagen, the foundation that bone mineralization is built on.
- Vitamin K: Important to normal bone growth and development, vitamin K assists in attracting calcium to the bone. Vitamin K activates at least three proteins involved in osteoblasts—the cells that build bones. Notably, vitamin K2 is needed to produce one of these proteins and is necessary for proper bone metabolism and bone strength.
- Magnesium: This one’s a must. If adequate magnesium doesn’t accompany calcium, then calcium can just pass right through the body and not find its way to the bones. Likewise, if magnesium is not paired with calcium, calcium can get off track and make its way into our soft tissues, including arteries and kidneys.
- Strontium: Closely related to calcium, strontium stimulates the bone-building cells (osteoblasts), while inhibiting the cells that break down bone tissue (osteoclasts). Strontium should accompany calcium intake, although not at the same time as calcium is ingested.
- Other Minerals: Strong bones also require boron, copper, phosphorous, iron, manganese, fluoride, silicon, vanadium and zinc.
Remember, strong bones don’t just happen. They’re made.
Be a bone builder.