Osteoporosis is a significant problem in the United States. Approximately 10 million Americans have osteoporosis. Another 44 million have insufficient bone density, which places them in a higher-risk group for bone fracture. Among older individuals, 1 in 2 women will break a bone due to poor bone density, along with 1 in 4 men.
Fortunately, osteoporosis isn’t an inevitability; there are behaviors we can all take part in to avoid its development. A balanced diet may help to prevent osteoporosis. Nutrients for bone health are readily found in whole food products, particularly fruits and vegetables, and may be sufficient to promote bone health.
However, not all of us eat the right way. So it may be a good idea for older adults to consider supplements to help fill nutritional gaps that may result from a poor diet. Bone health products from Unda, Natures Life, and Dr. Christophers all uniquely approach the problem.
To figure out the best approach for yourself, consider talking to your doctor about tests that can gauge your current bone health and what nutrients you should consider.
Nutrients for Bone Health
The obvious star player for bone health is calcium. Calcium is abundant in dairy products, though you will find it in smaller amounts in cruciferous greens and other sources (such as eggshells.) If you don’t ingest dairy products, you’ll have to get most of your calcium from other sources.
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These calcium sources can also come in the form of fortified products, such as almond milk. If you are drinking calcium-fortified dairy alternatives, make sure to shake up the product before you drink it. Unlike milk, dairy-alternatives typically contain added nutrients that will settle at the bottom of the container.
If you still struggle to get enough calcium, take a calcium supplement as directed by your healthcare provider.
Magnesium helps calcium do its job. If you take a calcium supplement, it’s likely that it includes magnesium. However, magnesium supplementation is most important for people who drink alcohol in any quantity, as alcohol contributes to magnesium being lost through urine.
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Another common nutrient found in bone health supplements is vitamin D. Like magnesium, vitamin D helps calcium get the job done. This vitamin mainly functions to help the digestive system absorb calcium. In the absence of vitamin D, it almost doesn’t matter how much calcium you ingest. This is why dairy products like milk are commonly fortified with vitamin D. If you are an older adult who doesn’t consume dairy or similarly fortified products, you may choose to use a supplement.
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Many other nutrients have smaller, but no less important, role in bone growth and health. These include phosphorus, potassium, vitamin A, and many others. There may be other micronutrients that play similarly important tasks that we don’t yet know about. If you are concerned about these micronutrients, a trace mineral supplement may be ideal for you. You can also find micronutrients in whole food products.
With a high-quality diet and targeted supplementation, you should be able to maintain excellent bone health for life. If you’re an adult reading this post or someone younger, why not start to support your body with nutrients for bone health today?