Key Nutrients for Your Healthy Bones

Bone formation and bone breakdown are the ongoing processes. New ones continuously replace old bones (normally after every three and a half months). Bones are largely made of minerals and bone tissues. You acquire these minerals from your diet. Thus, for a good health of your bones, you need certain key nutrients. Regular intake of these nutrients may prevent, decelerate or halt the onset or progression of osteoporosis.

Here is a list of nutrients that are crucial of bone health.

Calcium Supplements

Deficiency of calcium is a crucial factor leading to osteoporosis. Intake of calcium is, therefore one of the first steps in prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.

Daily-Recommended Doses:

For children between age 3-8: 800 mg /day

For adults: 1,200 mg /day.

Calcium Supplements: Calcium carbonate (Caltrate, Os-Cal, and Tums), calcium gluconate, calcium citrate (Citracal), and calcium lactate.

Side Effect: Dose exceeding 2,500 mg/day may predispose you to kidney stones.

Vitamin D: Vitamin D is given together with calcium for preventing/treating osteoporosis. Its role is to absorb calcium. The recommended daily dose for vitamin D is 400 to 800 IU per day depending on age and individual risk. Foods rich in vitamin D include egg yolks, liver, saltwater fish and fortified dairy products. You can also get it through sunlight; an exposure for 10 to 15 minutes a day is adequate. Vitamin D may prove to be toxic if taken in huge amounts. It may lead to an increase in serum calcium levels, which maybe detrimental.

Vitamin K: Vitamin K also has a protective role on bones. Menatetrenone (vitamin K2) prevents fractures. Foods particularly rich in vitamin K include Brussels, sprouts broccoli, collard greens, spinach and lettuce. The bacteria in our intestines also produce vitamin K so its deficiency is rather rare. Since vitamin K affects clotting of blood, you must not take its supplements without consultation to your doctor.

Magnesium: Deficiency of this mineral causes thinning of bones. People with osteoporosis often have a malabsorption of this mineral, thus their bones as well as blood have a lower amount of magnesium. 250 mg to 750 mg / day of magnesium may decrease bone loss in these people. However, high amounts of magnesium maybe harmful to diabetes patients and people with kidney disease.

Fish oil and Evening primrose oil: Both these supplements have been linked to increase calcium absorption and increase bone formation.

Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12, which is generally given to cure pernicious anemia, also has been shown to increase bone density, hence it is now prescribed to prevent/treat osteoporosis as well.

Vitamin C and E: Consumption of these vitamins helps to raise bone density.

Vitamin A: A very high dietary intake of vitamin A reduces bone density, enhancing the risk for fracture, particularly in postmenopausal women. Retinoic acid, a form of vitamin A accelerates bone breakdown.

Zinc: Its deficiency is linked to risk for osteoporosis. A study showed complementing calcium supplements with zinc works better than calcium alone.

Copper: This is required for normal bone synthesis. Most doctors recommend 2-3 mg of copper a day.

Boron: Its supplementation reduces loss of calcium and magnesium.

Manganese: Its supplementation has been reported to reduce fractures in some people.

Silicon: This mineral is needed only in minute amounts for bone formation. Its supplements have been found to raise bone formation in experimental animals.

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By: Riana D Lance