Bone support is crucial to keep in mind during aging. Osteopenia is a condition where bone density is lower than the average and osteoporosis occurs when there is loss of bone weakening them and making them prone to fractures.
When treating either of these conditions, there are key nutrients to consider to support bone growth and prevent further bone loss. This blog will primarily discuss those nutrients and will not delve into hormone replacement or bisphosphonates which are other avenues to consider.
Vitamin D3 is necessary to help your body properly absorb and regulate calcium and phosphorous. Sun exposure is the main way our bodies produce Vitamin D3 and most foods do not contain high amounts of Vitamin D. Some foods that do contain naturally occurring vitamin D include cod liver oil, mushrooms, egg yolk and salmon. Vitamin D deficiency is common and a major contributor of bone disease in the elderly. Blood work can be performed to determine your current Vitamin D level and can aid in your doctor recommending a specific dose of Vitamin D supplementation. It is also important to make sure you are not consuming too much Vitamin D through supplementation, as high levels could contribute to kidney stone formation.
Calcium is a mineral building block of bone. Food sources of calcium include yogurt, milk, cheese, tofu, kale and broccoli. Post-menopausal woman are recommended to consume 1,200mg total (dietary + supplemental) of calcium a day, not to exceed 2,000mg daily. There are many different forms of calcium to consider when taking supplemental calcium. Calcium carbonate is the least expensive form and is best absorbed with a low-iron meal. Calcium citrate and hydroxyapatite are other forms that are well absorbed and common in high quality supplements. It’s best to take supplements in divided doses and always take it away from any thyroid medication or iron supplements. Another aspect to consider is that adequate stomach acid is needed for calcium absorption, so medications such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) can have a negative impact.
Vitamin K2 is the form of Vitamin K that has been associated with bone health – with its ability to increase bone mineral density and increase bone strength. Dietary sources of Vitamin K include dark leafy vegetables, seeds and fermented foods such as natto and cheese. Vitamin K is necessary to direct calcium to the bones. Vitamin K exists in two menaquinones, MK-4 and MK-7. MK-4 has a shorter half-life in the body compared to MK-7 so ideally is taken in divided doses. Some studies have shown MK4 to be superior in its ability to reverse bone loss and reduce fractures.
Magnesium is a mineral that has functions in regulating muscle, nerve conduction and structural development of bone. Magnesium can help to reduce the risk of bone fractures. Dietary sources of magnesium include green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grain and dairy products. There are various forms of magnesium that can be in supplements. Magnesium oxide and citrate can commonly cause loose stools. Magnesium glycinate is well tolerated and important for muscle and nerve health.
Minerals to consider when supporting bone health include Zinc, Copper and Boron.
If you’d like to get a bone health assessment, schedule a visit or a free brief meet and greet with one of our naturopathic doctors by calling 480-588-6856.