Good news for those worried about bone health! Bones are living tissue and generally respond to bone-healthy regimens that include vitamins and minerals, obtained through food and supplements, and exercise.
In the last blog, we discussed Vitamin D for your Bone Health, as well as some of the many other purposes it serves in the body. We mentioned that whether you’ve been diagnosed with Osteopenia or Osteoporosis, or simply want to try to prevent them, there’s good news. Bones are living tissue and generally respond to bone-healthy regimens that include vitamins and minerals, obtained through food and supplements, and exercise. It’s also important to include bone-building foods for your children. The majority of bone growth and health is done in a child’s formative years.
For years, calcium has been touted as the be-all/end-all for strong bones. However, there’s much more to the story. There are multiple ways in which to get adequate calcium, including other foods besides dairy products. Also, there are other vitamins and minerals that are just as important. The quality of the supplements taken, as well as the timing of the day matter, as well. Besides Vitamin D, here are some other important minerals to bone health.
Magnesium is our favorite mineral. You need approximately half the amount that is needed for calcium. However, while many foods are calcium-rich, not so many are magnesium-rich. Mainly it can be found in some nuts and seeds. Dark leafy greens, such as spinach and chard, fish, especially WILD-CAUGHT Salmon, whole grains and beans (soak first), avocadoes, and DARK chocolate, also have Magnesium. Supplementation is almost always helpful, not only for bones, but for muscles and sleep. I prefer that Calcium and Magnesium NOT be taken at the same time. Both are absorbed by the same points in the body, so will fight for absorption. I usually recommend taking your Calcium in the morning and your Magnesium at night. In many cases, you may not even need Calcium supplementation. Also, there are many types of Magnesium, so the best thing to do before purchasing supplements is to have a discussion with one of our pharmacists. Everyone is different and there are several factors to consider for the recommendation of appropriate supplements for your unique needs.
Boron is a mineral found in most calcium supplements. It is necessary for the proper metabolism of calcium and magnesium, working synergistically with them and other minerals. It is thought to be essential in bone formation in the early years of life and helpful for arthritic conditions later in life. Boron also helps with hormone production. It is considered a trace mineral, meaning you don’t need much; however, it IS needed for many health benefits.
Vitamin K is another helpful vitamin for Bone Health. It’s also important for blood clotting, so it’s important to check with your physician or pharmacist if you take a blood thinner or have other blood clotting issues, before adding this to your vitamin regimen. Green leafy vegetables are high in Vitamin K1. Fermented vegetables (such as sauerkraut) are high in Vitamin K2 and our bodies make K2 with K1 and gut bacteria (probiotics). Both K1 and K2 are known to be helpful in bone health, but researchers have found some sub-types of K2, particularly MK4 and MK7, to be especially important. Vitamin K is also a fat soluble vitamin. Types and dosaging can be confusing, so please ask one of our pharmacists or your healthcare provider for assistance.
Strontium is a mineral that is just below Calcium on the Table of Elements. In its natural state, it’s toxic, but when combined with other materials, it has health benefits. For example, a radioactive form is used to treat some cancers. Strontium Chloride and Strontium Ranelate are being used to increase bone formation and decrease bone loss in postmenopausal women. Research continues with Strontium, its different forms, and the effectiveness of oral supplements. Some believe it’s a fabulous addition to a bone-health regimen, even to the point of being able to avoid prescription osteoporosis medications, but others believe it thickens and hardens bones to a point where they are less flexible and more prone to fracture. There is some interest in using Strontium for osteoarthritis because developing research suggests it might boost the formation of collagen and cartilage in joints. Research is even being conducted on its benefits to healthy teeth. Ask your healthcare provider if Strontium might be helpful for you.
Calcium – this mineral has historically been the one most often touted for bone health. Calcium helps with many other functions in the body, as well. In fact, it’s the most abundant mineral in the body. The dairy industry promotes their products for its healthy benefits for your bones and teeth. Fortunately, there are many foods high in calcium, so if you’re allergic or sensitive to dairy, you can still benefit from a diet rich in calcium. Dark leafy greens, such as kale and collard greens, broccoli, white beans, some fish, seaweed, and orange juice (drink in moderation) are natural sources, and many foods are enriched with Calcium. However, sodas, alcohol, and excess sugar can deplete the body of calcium. Supplements come in different types and strengths, and have different absorption efficiencies. One of our pharmacists can help you decide the right calcium supplement for you, if needed.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies, especially type 1 collagen. It’s found in muscles, bones, skin, blood vessels, digestive system and tendons. It’s what helps give our skin strength and elasticity, along with replacing dead skin cells. When it comes to our joints and tendons, in simplest terms, it’s the “glue” that helps hold the body together. Dr. Axe states TOP 10 benefits of Collagen, which include everything from hair and nail health to Heart Health and more, including, of course, bone health. Remember that I mentioned above that bone is living tissue - it is a matrix of cells that break down (osteoclasts) and rebuild (osteoblasts). Studies have demonstrated that when collagen peptides metabolites are present in this matrix, osteoblasts, the cells responsible for bone formation, are preferentially stimulated, instead of osteoclasts, the cells involved in bone resorption, and this triggers bone formation. How do you get collagen? Bone broth is the best source. (Include recipe or link to recipe or plug Lise for hers that she sells?) There are also collagen supplements and powders on the market. We, at Ford’s, make a chicken broth collagen capsule supplement, for those that don’t want to make bone broth or mix a powder in a drink. As always, it’s best to discuss with one of our pharmacists, whether collagen is right for your needs, and the best source for your needs and lifestyle.
Need help getting your children to eat bone-healthy foods? Involve them in the menu-planning and cooking. “Hide” greens in other recipes, by pureeing them and adding them to sauces and smoothies. Substitute white beans for shortening in peanut butter or almond butter chocolate chip cookies (many online recipes are available). Children are great on the internet; let them do the research for healthy meals for the whole family. When the season starts, garden or purchase greens at the Farmers Markets. They are the first vegetable to be ready and are plentiful at the markets all summer and early fall. There are hydroponic greens available all year.
Again, one of the most important things you can do for your bone health is exercise! Choose activities which are weight- bearing, working against gravity, such as weight-training, walking, jogging, hiking, dancing, playing tennis, climbing stairs (or doing a gym step class or using the stair climbing machine), or jump-roping, to help strengthen bone. Many of these are good for the whole family so enjoy some quality time together!